I recently read Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner and wanted to do a critic of the book. The story jumps between two different women, Jane Lindsey who lives in the present and Lucy Day, a dressmaker in the sixteenth-century. What brings these two characters together in the story? A ring that is inscribed with the name Jane. Jane Lindsey finds it amazing that her name is in the ring and wants to learn more, while Lucy is the dressmaker to Lady Jane Grey who we come to believe is the original owner of the ring.
When I first read the description I was unsure how the book would play out, especially because it seemed it would jump between the two women and that can sometimes be hard to follow. I was also curious to see how the ring would link them and if the author could create a link that would actually work and be believable.
I love books like this that are set in the past but it always makes me wonder what is fact and what is fiction. Messner is very upfront that the book is based on fact, but that there was no evidence that a ring every existed and that Lucy Day is a made up character. I think this is important because so many people believe everything they read and with a story like this that is filled with emotions it is hard not to become attached and believe in it.
Messner did a wonderful job relating the two Jane’s in the story. It took a little getting used to the fact that you never actually hear anything from Lady Jane’s perspective and instead it all comes from Lucy’s point of view. However after finishing the story I thought that it was a wise choice because servants back in the day where more open about what was going on, at least to each other.
I was disappointed in the end because you do not really see what happened to Jane Lindsey, who was having marital issues, but you are left to imagine it on your own. However I did like how the author included letters and advertisements (For estate sales) that tied how the ring made it from Lucy’s possession into the hands of Jane Lindsey. I would definitely read other stories by Susan Meissner.