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Monday, January 17, 2011

Lady in Waiting book review

From Publisher's Weekly on Lady in Waiting, by Susan Meissner: "Veteran author Meissner (White Picket Fences) blends past and present in this compelling novel about making choices. Jane Lindsay never thought she'd be alone, but after her husband leaves her, she must face the reality of her marriage and life choices. One small ring, found in the binding of a book bought at an English rummage sale, changes the course of Jane's thinking as she researches another Jane, whose name is inscribed in the ring. Readers jump back in time to England after the death of Henry VIII. Lucy Day is ordered to Sudeley Castle, bearing a dress for Lady Jane Grey. Lucy narrates the tale of Lady Jane, pawn in the schemes of powerful men who seek the throne of England even as young Jane Grey is determined to live-and die-on her own terms. Modern Jane studies Lady Jane, coming to realize that she alone must choose how she lives. Both the history and the modern tale are enticing, with Meissner doing a masterful job blending the two."

When I started this book, I was determined to read it with a critical eye and find things I did not like.  Honestly, the things I wasn't so fond of (for personal reasons) were non-issues by the conclusion of this book.  I really really liked it.

Susan Meissner is a good writer.  Her style suits me well, seeing as I was sucked into the story immediately.  Right away, I was interested in Jane Lindsay and her story (and nervous about how it may go).  And I love history, so the chapters about Jane Grey were fascinating to me.  Perhaps the only criticism I could offer is on this point: the story switched back and forth, and some people may find that....annoying?  I personally didn't, and I don't think it was hard to follow because of those switches either.

The underlying issues of happiness and choice spoke to me.  I've long thought that if you were unhappy with your life, you needed to DO something to change it.  The power of choice is incredible.  The possibilities available to anyone are amazing...but it is all about the choices you make.  And on that note, I've often looked at my life, and the lives of those around me, and traced back the choices that led us each to where we are today.  And I've often thought about the choices that are still before us, that can completely change our path.  Seeing these ideas I've pondered traced out in the lives of these two Janes was both validating and interesting.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book.  And yes, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Which is why I tried so hard to find things I didn't like.  But...well, it's a good book!
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