Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Review: Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

Title: Lady in Waiting
Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
ISBN: 9780307458834

Summary from Publisher's Website:

Content in her comfortable marriage of twenty-two years, Jane Lindsay had never expected to watch her husband,  rad, pack his belongings and walk out the door of their Manhattan home. But when it happens, she feels powerless to stop him and the course of events that follow Brad’s departure.

Jane finds an old ring in a box of relics from a British jumble sale and discovers a Latin inscription in the band along with just one recognizable word: Jane. Feeling an instant connection to the mysterious ring bearing her namesake, Jane begins a journey to learn more about the ring—and perhaps about herself.

In the sixteenth-century, Lucy Day becomes the dressmaker to Lady Jane Grey, an innocent young woman whose fate seems to be controlled by a dangerous political and religious climate, one threatening to deny her true love and pursuit of her own interests.

As the stories of both Janes dovetail through the journey of one ring, it becomes clear that each woman has far more influence over her life than she once imagined. It all comes down to the choices each makes despite the realities they face.

My Review:

I have to be honest. Susan Meissner has been one of my favorite authors since I read The Shape of Mercy. Let's just put it out there right in the beginning. So, yes, I was probably a little bit biased when I selected this title. I expected to love it. I hoped that I would love it.

I did love it!

Ms. Meissner's style - integrating the present with the past in an unforgettable and completely applicable manner - never leaves me wanting. Her writing style is beautiful. She chooses words and phrases that put you into the heart of the characters. When Jane Lindsay hurt, I found myself hurting. When she cried, I found myself crying. When Lucy Day felt compassion, I felt compassion. It's her beautiful integration of fiction and real life that draws you into the characters. They are fully developed, and best of all they are real, solid, and whole. Neither story is lacking as both are fully developed. You don't find yourself feeling lost in transition, nor do you notice one character being stronger than the other. They are each unique so you may find yourself feeling connected to one more than the other, but this isn't a distraction in the slightest. (Or, you could be like me and feel connected to both!)

I do have to say that being a history fanatic I was a bit nervous about how I would react to her interpretation - or rather, hope - of how Lady Jane's life transpired. I flipped through the book, as I always do when I read historical fiction, looking for historical or author's notes. (I know... some might see it as cheating, but I like to see how an author applies history and academia to their stories. I found this quite funny when the character of Wilson was introduced... read and you'll understand!) I love that Ms. Meissner takes the "What if" approach to piecing together Lady Jane's story. Brilliant! We are allowed to dream for a while, which is exactly what good fiction is meant to bring you.

Rating: 5 Stars! I was sad to see this story end. I was pleased with the way that it ended, but sad none the less. It left me wanting more simply because the story, and Ms. Meissner's writing, is just that good. I can honestly say that I will be reading this book again. Though I'll be recommending this title (and possibly loaning it to a privileged few outside of my immediate family) I won't be parting with it. It will live on my shelf next to my other two favorite Meissner titles. After all, you don't give away friends, do you? Lucy and Jane Lindsay are my two newest friends. Have fun reading!

And for the folks at the FCC:

*Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book through the publisher's Blogging for Books blogging program in exchange for my honest review.

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