This is a very different book than any I remember reading. There are two different stories in two different centuries, both involving a women named "Jane" and a ring that joins the two of them.
There is the modern day Jane, who runs an antique store, and whose marriage is in a difficult place. Her husband needs some "time off", leaving Jane in a desperate and lonely place. Then in the course of her business dealings she comes across a 15th Century ring with her name engraved in it.
Then we are taken to the court of King Henry VIII and meet Lady Jane Grey, a young girl whose life is being volleyed about by her parents and other interested parties. In the course of her story she is given an unusual ring with her a message, and her first name engraved inside it. It comes from the young man she loves and hopes to marry. But the nobles have other plans for Jane.
The writer takes you back and forth into the lives of the two Janes. She skilfully weaves the two stories into one truly wonderful book. She really takes you into the hearts, fears and joys of these two different women. It is a book for a mature reader - even a man will find this interesting, to which my husband can testify. I do not feel it is appropriate for younger readers, as some of the situations are very adult.
This is not what I would call a traditional Christian Fiction book. There are many opportunities for prayer, godly advice & teaching to have been incorporated, but were not. However, it is a beautiful story that I enjoyed thoroughly, and was written in very good taste. Every time I put it down, I couldn't wait to come back to it.
In early December, I went in search of a new author & had such a hard time deciding which one book I was going to buy. "Lady in Waiting" won for several reasons. First, the story of two Janes connected by history & a ring piqued my curiosity. Second, Siri Mitchell, one of my all time favorite authors, sung this story's praise. Third, I found many of Susan's book titles fascinating. I decided to start with this one, and it was the perfect choice. Susan is an exceptional storyteller whose poetic prose has the power to touch something deep inside the reader's soul. I loved Jane Lindsay's journey of self-discovery, her love of antiques & her unique attitude about waiting. I understand that this story of Lady Jane is largely fiction, but I adored Susan's "what if" rendition of Jane's life. Lucy Day may not have been a "lady" by definition, but she far outclassed Lady Frances Grey, Jane's heartless mother, by wrapping Lady Jane in beauty through amazingly crafted gowns & the kind of friendship that shares both joy & sorrow. What Jane Lindsay lacked in decision making early on she more than makes up for in her brave, merciful choice to try again. What a delight to find Susan & to know that she has many other books just waiting to be enjoyed!
The story focuses on two main characters: Jane Lindsay, who is an antiques shop owner and is recently separated from her husband; and Lady Jane Grey, a young woman whose marriage and fate is determined by those around her. Susan weaves both their stories together, as an old ring brings them together and for a purpose. Susan's writing allows the reader to become immersed in each of their own stories and allows these central characters ample opportunity to share their journey with us, while also bringing closure to the mystery of the ruby ring.
Through their journey, both Jane's come to realize that they still have a voice and are in charge of their own destiny. Throughout the story, both Jane's gain inner strength and a deeper faith. While Lady Jane Grey is ultimately executed, as history reports, Susan brings to life this woman who in the end did not compromise her values. Jane Lindsay, through a series of events and discussions with her therapist, family, and friends, realizes that she is ultimately in charge of her own happiness and also can decide the fate of her marriage. While I will not give away her ending, I will note that Susan doesn't tie everything in a sweet little bow for readers. This allows the reader to imagine what her decision is and the course of her own happiness.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, Christian fiction, and enjoys reading about self-empowerment for women and their relationships.
This book is â€˜two-stories-in-one' and is told from the perspective of two main characters, one living in modern day and one living in the 16th century.
The modern day character, Jane Lindsay, is an antique dealer who has just had her world rocked by her husband of over 20 years saying that he needs a break. While reeling from this news, she discovers a very old ring in a box of antiques from England. She is drawn to the ring because the inscription on it contains the name "Jane."
In 16th Century England, Lucy Day tells of her experiences as a seamstress to young Lady Jane Gray. Lady Jane is in the line of succession to the throne, and is also waiting to see who her parents decide she should wed. She has given her heart to one young man, and he in turn gave her a ring with a Latin inscription and her name, "Jane."
Thus the two stories are connected by the ring. Throughout the book, you find other ways that these two "Janes" are connected, particularly in regard to choices they have made or that have seemingly been made for them.
While the story of the ring and the modern-day Jane is fictional, the story of Lady Jane Gray is based on actual events in history. This alone made the book an interesting read for me. I was glad to have the "English order of characters" given in the front of this book, which made it easier for me to keep all of the royalty straight! The book was slow at parts, but, on the other hand, I would have liked to continue the story of modern-day Jane a little more to find out what happened with her.
Overall, this book was a nice read. Not enthralling, but still interesting.
Today I'm reviewing LADY IN WAITING, A NOVEL, by Susan Meissner. This is a story within a story. Jane Lindsay is a woman whose marriage of many years seems to be ending. Her doctor-husband has left New York for New Hampshire, saying they "need some space," now that their son is in college, to decide if they even want to be married any more. This comes as a complete surprise to her, but it forces her to reexamine their life together. About the same time, a box full of discarded things found in a Britain by her English antiques-dealing associate, she obtains an old prayer book, and in that, she finds a mysterious antique ring found hidden in its binding.
Meanwhile, the story of Lucy Day unfolds. In the sixteenth century, she is the seamstress of Lady Jane Grey, a young girl of noble birth and great scholarship. From the cradle, she has been the pawn of her powerful parents, who scheme to place their daughter into the most advantageous position in the Tudor court where young King Edward the Sixth's health is fragile and the crown hangs in the balance. Lucy becomes more than a seamstress the lonely young Jane Grey; she is eventually her companion and closest friend, rejoicing with Jane as it seems she will marry happily, then grieving with her as that betrothal is cancelled, because her parents think to make their daughter not just a nobleman's wife, but the Queen.
Back in modern times, Jane Lindsay works to discover the identity of the owner of the ring, and as she comes closer to the truth, she comes closer to the truth about herself and her marriage.
I knew Jane Grey's fate already, but nevertheless, Meissner's story had me racing over the pages to see what Jane Lindsay's fate would be. It's a completely absorbing story-within-a-story, a framework that is not easy to pull off, but Meissner does it flawlessly. This is the first book by this talented author that I've read, but it won't be the last. Brava!
This book was provided free for review by the Waterbrook Blogging for Books Program.