Toronto teen trav­els to Tu­dor times

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - By Helen Norrie

WHAT if you hap­pen to have the same name as a for­mer Queen of Eng­land, who was ex­e­cuted for trea­son? Could there be a con­nec­tion be­tween the two of you, even if there are cen­turies in be­tween?

That’s the premise for Toronto author Sue Ma­cLeod’s novel Name­sake (Pajama Press, 232 pages, $15 pa­per­back). Jane Grey is a mod­ern teenager liv­ing in Hal­i­fax when she is as­signed a pro­ject on the Tu­dor monar­chs by her his­tory teacher. She de­cides to fo­cus on her name­sake, Lady Jane Grey, who was be­headed on the or­der of Henry VIII in 1554.

But when she dis­cov­ers an old prayer book that has the power to trans­port her into Tu­dor time, she learns far more about her name­sake than she could have imag­ined.

Ma­cLeod is a for­mer res­i­dent of Hal­i­fax and was that city’s first poet lau­re­ate. Her love of words is shown in the un­usual chap­ter head­ings such as “Mew: verb: coop up, con­fine, shut up.” She makes us re­al­ize the sim­i­lar­ity be­tween the two Janes, both 15, both un­happy and both feel­ing over­whelmed by forces be­yond their con­trol.

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