Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner is two tales woven together as one. The reader is first introduced to a modern-day Jane - a recent empty-nester and antique shop owner, who is shocked to find that her husband wants a break from their marriage after 22 years together. In the midst of her struggle to work through life's unexpected events, she finds an old ring that immediately intrigues her when she sees that it has a Latin inscription including her name, Jane, on the inside of the band. After several chapters, the reader leaves modern-day Manhattan to travel to 16th century England, and is introduced to a young Jane, who is grieving the death of her benefactor, Queen Dowager Katherine, and struggling to find her new place in a life over which she has little control.
I must admit that I am generally not a fan of novels written in this format. It is frustrating for me to flip back and forth between two stories, never getting quite enough information in one story line before being forced to switch to a new one! At first, this book was frustrating for me in that way as well. It also isn't clear how the two stories parallel until later in the novel, other than the obvious assumption that the ring found by the modern-day Jane once belonged to the 16th century Jane. However, this novel won me over. By the time I cycled back to modern-day Jane, I was interested to see what would happen to her next, but what really held my interest in this story is the historical half of the tale. As a big fan of English history, I enjoyed seeing Meissner's speculations about what Lady Jane Grey's life might have been like. So little is actually written about her, and I personally liked Meissners suppositions! Also, toward the end of the novel I was able to see many parallels between the two lives - an aspect of the story that gave me reason to think.
Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. The author's imagination clearly shines in the historical sections of the story, even if I was not captivated by the modern sections. For this reason, I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.