Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘england’

Canadian Children’s Book News calls Namesake “a gem”

Posted on November 1st, 2013 by pajamapress

Namesake_C_Dec13v2.indd“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 Book 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 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 16th 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.

Click here to learn more about Canadian Children’s Book News.

School Library Journal praises MacLeod’s “evocative prose”

Posted on October 1st, 2013 by pajamapress

“Strange things happen when Jane Grey, a high school student in Halifax, begins an assignment researching Lady Jane Grey, the “nine days queen.” Upon examining her cache of library books, she finds one she hadn’t checked out: Booke of Prayre. As Jane opens it, she is mysteriously transported to the 16th century and meets her namesake. MacLeod dexterously handles the intricacies of the time travel central to the story, and a fascinating, powerful bond develops between the two Jane Greys. It is during their encounters that this first novel is most riveting and successful. Both characters are wonderfully fleshed out. Their mutual confusion heightens the mystery about the impact they might have on each other. Both Janes have their problems with family. Historical Jane struggles to continue following her Protestantism while her Catholic cousin Mary assumes the throne of England. Modern Jane has difficulty coping with what she perceives as the three sides of her mother’s personality. The author’s skill is most pronounced when the two Janes are getting to know each other and to understand the milieu in which each lives….MacLeod’s evocative prose makes friendship across time seem possible. Though Lady Jane’s tragic life is known, readers hope for a happier outcome. This enjoyable read offers a window into an intriguing aspect of British history. It is likely to appeal to fans of Susan Cooper’s King of Shadows (S & S, 1999) and books by Margaret Peterson Haddix.”

—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ

Learn more about School Library Journal here.

Books in the Spotlight believes Namesake goes beyond trope

Posted on September 27th, 2013 by pajamapress

“While Namesake may be initially seen as a standard time-slip novel, with a contemporary character going back in time to learn something which she could apply to her own life, the book goes beyond trope by having both Janes interact and take active roles in each other’s lives, even to the point of altering history if that could save their friendship… I really think you get a sense of who Lady Jane was as as person, a girl who died for her beliefs and who couldn’t fight to change her fate. I’m really glad that the author chose a figure in the Tudor history who isn’t necessarily scandalous and who isn’t all that removed from the main character’s age, to share their lives and their stories, and developing their new friendship which both of them needed desperately. Though the ending of Lady Jane’s story is heartbreaking, it sparks a change in present day Jane…”

– Rummanah Aasi

Click here to read the full review.

Bookish Notions connects with the past through Namesake

Posted on September 17th, 2013 by pajamapress

Namesake_LR“…Namesake by Sue MacLeod (Pajama Press) is one of those rare time-travel books that doesn’t fall into the common pit-falls associated the time-travel genre. MacLeod manages to weave together these two very different stories, one from the present and one from the 16th century, without the story being bogged down by questionable logistics. The “portal”, a prayer book that once belonged to the ill-fated queen, is a simple and effective tool that binds the two girls together and allows the focus to be on how the girls stories affect one another…”

Click here to read the full review.

Namesake Digital Tour

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by pajamapress

What if you shared a name with a girl who lived—and died—five centuries ago? What if you suddenly met her face to face?

Namesake_LRWelcome to Namesake, a novel in which Halifax high school student Jane Grey sets out to write a paper on her sixteenth-century namesake, the nine-day queen, and gets a whole lot more than she bargained for. Reviewers have called it “Suspenseful, emotional and powerful” (Kirkus Reviews), and “a triumph” (CM Magazine 4-star review). Quill & Quire awarded it a starred review. Now, bloggers in Canada and the United States will have their say as author Sue MacLeod goes on digital tour.

Eager for excerpts, giveaways, author guest posts, and more? Then be sure to visit the blogs below:

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers on September 17th
Bookish Notions review on September 17th
Bookish Notions guest post on September 18th
Books in the Spotlight on September 23rd
The Book Labyrinth on September 26th

But wait—there’s more!

If you’re in the Toronto area on Sunday September 22nd, come down to The Word on the Street to see Sue MacLeod in person. She’ll be presenting at the ‘This is Not the Shakespeare Stage’ at 5:15pm in a panel with fellow YA author Richard Scarsbrook, and she will be available afterward to sign copies of her book. The Word on the Street is a free community event with tons of activities, presentations, and marketplaces for all ages. It takes place in the Queen’s Park Circle—where we hope to see you on the 22nd!

Can’t wait ‘til the 17th? You can find Namesake in bookstores across Canada and the United States. You can also learn more in lots of locations online, including:

The Book Trailer (Canadian version)
The Book Trailer (US version)

Sue MacLeod’s website

The Pajama Press website (includes links to all reviews, the discussion guide, and the trailer)

CanLit for LittleCanadians

Ramblings of a Daydreamer

Goodreads

School Libraries in Canada interview with Sue MacLeod

Happy reading!

The Nervous Marigold reviews Namesake

Posted on August 19th, 2013 by pajamapress

Namesake_LR“…There is simply nothing I love more than offering some real, well-researched, history to kids, through a vehicle that engages them…I loved it, and I will be recommending this book anywhere I can, to any kids, teachers and libraries I encounter.”

Click here to read the full review.

Namesake is “captivating” —Ramblings of a Daydreamer

Posted on August 13th, 2013 by pajamapress

“…I thought MacLeod did a really good job of weaving the past together with the present. I always worry that books like this will get confusing with the back and forth, but I had no trouble keeping up with Namesake. I enjoyed watching Jane’s life in the present, and I eagerly anticipated each of her visits to the past, since I’ve always been fascinated with Tudor era England…Namesake is a captivating story that is sure to please fans of contemporary young adult and historic fiction alike.”

—Marie Landry

Click here to read the full review

Namesake is “Suspenseful, emotional and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews

Posted on July 17th, 2013 by pajamapress

“A modern-day Canadian girl named Jane Grey travels back in time to meet the Lady Jane Grey, imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1553.

Bookish Jane is doing research for a paper about her namesake Lady Jane Grey, the 15-year-old who was queen of England for nine days and later executed by Queen Mary. Finding an old prayer book, she reads a prayer out loud and is transported to the Tower of London, where only Lady Jane, who calls her “Namesake,” can see her. Using the prayer book to time travel at will, she becomes friends with Lady Jane and tries to think of a way to save the brilliant and innocent teenager. Meanwhile in the present, Jane tries to escape her alcoholic mother’s increasingly aggressive and bizarre behavior. When the two stories collide just before Lady Jane’s scheduled execution, Jane struggles to save herself and her friend. MacLeod writes the modern sections in a heightened style that almost feels more like poetry than prose. She writes Lady Jane’s dialogue in Tudor English, modifying it only slightly for modern readers. Her vivid descriptions of the filthy turmoil of 1553 London, when even the nobility often had lice, should open some eyes. Most importantly, she strives to get the history right.

Suspenseful, emotional and powerful.”
Kirkus Reviews

Namesake earns four stars from CM Magazine

Posted on June 21st, 2013 by pajamapress

“…In every way, this novel is a triumph. MacLeod deftly weaves the modern Jane’s contemporary story with the true-life tale of Lady Jane Grey. Both storylines are fully developed and vividly rendered, with the time-travel element simply and elegantly incorporated into the fabric of Jane’s present-day life. In so doing, the author expertly brings the history to life for her readers while concurrently crafting a poignant tale of a modern teen’s efforts to navigate the hardships of both high school and a troubled home life…Highly Recommended.
Lisa Doucet

Click here to read the full review

Namesake Book Trailer

Posted on April 30th, 2013 by pajamapress

On May 1 Pajama Press is pleased to present Namesake by debut author Sue MacLeod. This time slip novel brings together the very different lives of two girls who share a name: Jane Grey. When Jane from Halifax finds an ancient-looking prayer book, she ends up face to face with the subject of her own history project: Tudor England’s short-lived Lady Jane Grey.

Click the link below to watch the trailer!

Namesake Book Trailer

Having trouble? You can also view the trailer on YouTube.