Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lady in Waiting-Susan Meissner

Lady in Waiting
Susan Meissner
Waterbrook, Sep 7 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780307458834

After two decades plus of marriage, Jane Lindsay assumed she and her husband Brad would always be a couple. Thus when Brad walks out on her to move from Manhattan to Manchester, New Hampshire, she is stunned as she never even remotely saw it coming. With their son away at school, Jane struggles with the end of her emotionally comfortable life.

At her East Village antique shop, amidst a box filled with alleged relics sent by her English friend Emma Downing, Jane finds an old ring. On the inner band is etched a phrase in Latin with one English word: Jane. With a need to know more about the ring that came from a British estate sale, she investigates who the original Jane was. She soon learns about sixteenth-century dressmaker Lucy Day who worked for ill-fated innocent Lady Jane Grey; at a time when the country‘s tumultuous divide placed her in the deadly middle. Connected by the ring and their first name, Lady Jane and Manhattan Jane have more control over what they want out of their lives than either originally had thought.

This is an entertaining well written comparative analysis of two Janes; one a tragic aristocratic historical figure and the other a present day tragic middle class fictional figure. However, though centuries apart they share plenty in common as each thought they had no say in their lives, but soon learn they control their destinies by making choices. Their opportunity costs are high but obviously Lady Jane’s is much more. Fans will appreciate Susan Meissner’s strong parallel plots as the author makes the case that readers have choices that they should make and not let someone else dictate their picks even if they select the status quo.

Harriet Klausner

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