‘My Lady Jane’ Series: The Young Adult Novels That Inspired The Show

By Louie Fecou
Published: June 26, 2024 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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'My Lady Jane' Series: The Young Adult Novels That Inspired The Show
My Lady Jane | Image via Prime Video

Prime Video’s whimsical historical series My Lady Jane is based on a series of novels by Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, and Cynthia Hand. The trilogy loosely reimagines historical periods with a fantasy-adventure twist, a style that has helped to situate the series in a slightly different space to its alt-history contemporaries.

For more on the show itself, our review explains why it’s a decent binge but unmemorable overall, but the books are much more beloved and have a dedicated, enthusiastic fanbase.

‘My Lady Jane’ is based on a series of books

The novels play quite fast and loose with their historical settings. The book sees Lady Jane re-imagined in what you can only call a more fantastical adventure-based light, embarking on various adventures and relationships that are a departure from the facts that we know to be historically true about her real-life counterpart.

However, the books fully embrace the premise, using the historical setting as a canvas to paint over and never really taking themselves too seriously.

The first entry in the series, My Lady Jane, would arrive with its tongue firmly in cheek in 2016, followed in 2018 by the second book, My Plain Jane. Completing the trilogy in 2020 was My Calamity Jane.

The books follow iterations of the Jane character through different time zones. In the second book, we follow Jane Eyre, and in the third we find the characters in 1876, in a Western-themed adventure complete with Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock.

The books follow a similar premise to the classic fantasy film The Princess Bride, and take great pleasure in subverting the history of the protagonist, presenting a quirky, funny, thrilling, and sideways look at the facts while asking what if?

Alternative History

So as far as Lady Jane Grey goes, the well-documented period in history is a dark and disturbing one that would see the real Jane pressed into becoming the Queen of England by her stepfather. This reign that would last only nine days, leading to her execution by Queen Mary, who would subsequently take the throne away from her.

Jane was vocal about Mary and was against the introduction of Catholic Mass in England, and Mary would plot her execution and fall from power.

Needless to say, the show veers dramatically away from any historical accuracy and depicts Jane as a modern and feisty protagonist who is not executed but instead heads off into adventure, living her best life, and avoiding such real-life controversy.

Prime Video's 'My Lady Jane' Is Based On A Trilogy Of Novels

My Lady Jane | Image via Prime Video

Film Version

If you are looking for a more historically accurate and dramatic version of the story, you could check out the 1986 film Lady Jane, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Helena Bonham Carter.

Although more in line with the real events, it should be noted that this version also takes a few creative liberties, although nowhere near as much as the Prime series.

Read More: My Lady Jane Ending Explained

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