Review: My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
My Opposite Marie is the latest book by the trio of authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows, who call themselves the Lady Janies, and it begins the new Married trilogy of them. The authors have already made the Lady Janies trilogy, telling the tragic tales of three Janes from history and literature like comedies. If you’ve read any of these books, you might have an idea of what to expect. My Opposite Marie.
Being a big fan of Lady Janies’ particular brand of historical fiction, I was very excited about My Opposite Marie, especially since this one brings us back to the world of the E∂ians (humans who have the power to transform into animals) of My Lady Jeanne, which was Jane’s very first book and just happens to be one of my all-time favorites. My Opposite Marie was just as humorous as I expected, and I had absolute fun reading it.
My Opposite Marie takes place in Renaissance France and tells the story of a seventeen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, who despises doing what she is told. As Mary marries her fiance, the French dolphin Francois, back in Scotland, John Knox publishes pamphlets condemning all Truths (normal humans who do not have E∂ian powers) and leading a revolution against Mary, which is presumed to be a Truth. Meanwhile, in a France where the Eiens are despised and oppressed, only the maids of honor of Marie and François know the truth about her: Marie is in fact an E∂ienne and can turn into a mouse at will.
When King Henry mysteriously dies in a jousting accident, François and Marie suddenly find themselves at the head of France. With Ari, the daughter of the seer of Nostradamus, Francis and Mary must now fight their way through mousetraps, plots and betrayals to seize their thrones and possibly fall in love along the way.
My Opposite Marie is quick and hilarious; the voices of the three authors blend harmoniously and their writing flows, with a well-constructed plot and imperfect but strong characters. There are also some political intrigue involved, as you would expect from the time period in which the book is set. However, the religious conflicts this time are not between Catholics and Protestants; instead, they are between the Verities and the E∂ians.
As for the characters, I really liked the way the main characters all behaved like real teenagers. There was Marie, stubborn and royal and still as naive as ever, and Francois, an adorable moron too in love to see the meaning. However, Aristotle or Ari, the character from the third point of view, struck me as the most interesting. Ari’s prophecies always tend to go awry, and more like scenes from popular movies of our time, which I found a pretty fun and witty way to sprinkle pop culture references.
When it comes to romance, friends to lovers being maybe my favorite trope, I really enjoyed reading about Francis and Mary’s relationship. There was also a Sapphic romance which, while on the sidelines, was also quite well written. We also met former beloved characters from My Lady Jeanne towards the end of the book, which was one of my absolute favorite scenes.
In conclusion, My Opposite Marie is a funny and sweet story that I loved, and I look forward to the next volumes of the Married series! If you’re into fantasy, royalty books, romance with friends, and historical fiction, or just looking for light reading material, this is a book you should definitely check out!
Will you pick up My Opposite Marie? Tell us in the comments below!
Summary | Good reading
Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and of. . . queens? ⠀
Marie is the Queen of Scots and the jewel of the court of France. Except when it’s a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an Eðian (shape changer) in a realm where Truths reign. It’s a secret that could cost him a head or a tail. ⠀
Fortunately, Marie has a confidant in her fiancé, François. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the Golden Court take a treacherous turn. Pushed to the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a nest of vipers of plots, traps and betrayals. And if Mary’s secret is revealed, heads are bound to fall.