My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Released: June 22, 2021
Fast-paced, well-plotted, frequently hilarious—as delicious as the finest French pastry.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
I've been wanting to read these books for a while now, so when I got the opportunity to read an e-ARC from Netgalley of the latest one, My Contrary Mary, I jumped at the chance! I love Mary Queen of Scots (thank you, Reign), and this fun, historical fantasy tale was right up my alley!
My Contrary Mary is told from three POVs: Mary (Queen of Scots), Francis (Dauphin of France and Mary's betrothed), and Ari (Nostradamus, and yes, as in the daughter of that Nostradamus). I loved all three POVs and think they each brought something special to the story. It was such a fun tale, reminding me a lot of the Mary and Francis from Reign, while giving it that fresh, fantasy twist.
My Contrary Mary follows Mary, Francis, and Ari as they navigate their lives in the French Court. With potions, politics, and plots around every corner, Mary must keep her deepest secret from seeing the light of day, all while being the Queen of Scotland and marrying her friend since childhood, Francis. Not to mention, Francis has no desire to be king, and with a mother like Catherine de Medici, that's sure to not go over well. And Ari may be good at potions, but when it comes to visions of the future...how is she supposed to advise the king if nothing she sees ever makes sense? With plenty of laughs and more than a few heart-swoony moments, My Contrary Mary is a delightful read.
I really enjoyed knowing what was going to happen (based on history and yes, Reign), but also being surprised by the twists and turns from the author's "historical" knowledge. It made reading it so enjoyable.
All of the characters were such a joy to read. I think Mary is a very strong, and powerful protagonist. Her chapters were probably the most serious out of all of them (despite her mousey secret). Francis was a bit naive and foolish at times, but I think I saw his growth the most throughout the book. He quickly turned into a favorite (especially once I imagined Toby Regbo *sigh*). Ari was clever and an interesting addition to the team. I liked that she gave readers a perspective outside of the nobility.
I think the E∂ians were a really fun concept that gave this "historical" retelling the quirkiness it needed. It can definitely be read without reading the Jane books, though I'm sure readers of the Jane books will appreciate some scenes more because they read the previous books.
I loved the bits of the "future" that Ari saw. It was a fun way for readers to engage, and I always looked forward to the pop culture references throughout the story. Honestly, she had me at the Titanic reference.
The characters, the story, the setting, the twists. Readers will love this fun story of a young, strong queen, a king-in-training, a Nostradamus who sees particularly funny scenes of the future, and the animal inside of us.