My Contrary Mary (The Lady Janies)

Written by Jodi Meadows
Review by Meg Wiviott

Betrothed to Prince Francis, the Dauphin of France, as a child, Mary Queen of Scots has spent more time in France than she has in Scotland. The French court is a perilous place in which to live, especially since Mary is an E∂ian (a shapeshifter), a mouse in a strict Verities kingdom. If her secret were known, Mary could be in mortal danger. Mary has a host of allies: her husband Francis, her four ladies-in-waiting (all named Mary), and Aristotle Nostradamus, better known as Ari, daughter of the famed seer and advisor to Queen Mary de’ Medici. When the King dies suspiciously, a multitude of power-hungry nobles try to use Mary to wrest control from the new King Francis. Who can be trusted? Even among her trusted friends, not everyone is to be trusted.

The Lady Janies (or will they now be known as the Lady Jane-Marys?) return to the fantastical world created in My Lady Jane, pitting E∂ians against Verities in a deadly match: a delightful and clever metaphor for Protestants and Catholics. Told from the points of view of Mary, Francis, and Ari, My Contrary Mary offers readers possible alternative lives for Mary and Francis, much happier than their real ones. Like their previous books, the authors take great liberties with actual history, but that is where the fun begins. This book is laugh-out-loud, with subtle references to pop culture that readers may miss if they’re not careful. It’s exceedingly creative, and fans of the previous books will certainly enjoy it. Simply put, it’s a fun read for all.