Namesake written by Sue MacLeod Pajama Press, 2013 978-1-927485-29-3 (pb) $14.95 for Grades 6 to 9
Fiction / Time Travel / Self-esteem / Lady Jane Grey, 1537-1554
Jane Grey is a student in Nova Scotia preparing a history project on her namesake, Lady Jane Grey, who was the queen of England for nine days in 1553, a political pawn in the intrigues of the Tudor era. Jane discovers Lady Jane's Booke of Prayre mixed in with her research books from the library and it carries her back to Lady Jane during the last few months of her life. The two teenagers become friends and confidants, helping each other through everything that happens in both of their lives.
MacLeod uses words sparingly and lovingly in Namesake, revealing just enough to carry the reader through the difficult lives of both Janes, just enough to capture the imagination and draw us into the story. Her descriptions of high school ring completely true as do the times when Lady Jane is trying out modern language. The abuse suffered by both girls is also treated gently, realistic without being harrowing.
The modern Jane is strong and inventive, carrying on an active inner life and finding a way to improve her own life--even when her attempts to change f 6th century events fail.
Without a misstep, Namesake proceeds from a tantalizing prologue to the satisfying conclusion. Perfectly constructed, this book is a gem.
Willow Moonbeam is a math professor and librarian.