Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘jane-grey’

Amy’s Marathon of Books is in Halifax with Namesake

Posted on January 17th, 2014 by pajamapress

Namesake_C_Dec13v2.indd“…Where reading non-fiction books can at times be dry and daunting, fiction opens up the same topics in a new way, providing characters a reader can personally connect with interspersed with historical facts.

Sue MacLeod’s Namesake is a spectacular example of this. I loved the way she took some liberties with Lady Jane’s story, while still staying true to the historical aspects. MacLeod also manages to make Jane and Lady Jane’s characters equally fleshed out and relatable.

…I would recommend this book more for early teen readers, but it’s a must read for lovers of historical fiction.”

Click here to read the full review.


Finding Wonderland reviews Namesake

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by pajamapress

Namesake_LR“…I didn’t actually think I was reading a time travel novel when I opened Sue MacLeod’s Namesake – and then I was like, “Hmm.” I was impressed with the characterization and drawn in by some home truths about the character’s life, and I didn’t realize I was enjoying a time travel novel until it was too late. It was a good thing I didn’t give it a pass on general principles, either…”

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


School Libraries in Canada interview with Sue MacLeod

Happy reading!

Young Reviewers: Michaela on Namesake

Posted on June 28th, 2013 by pajamapress

Namesake_CPajama Press has been given the wonderful opportunity of hosting a series of reviews written by the very people we work so hard for: kids and teens! Today our reviewer is Michaela from Trillium Woods E.S., and the book is Namesake by Sue MacLeod.

Hey, I am Michaela, I am a grade 8 student from Trillium Woods E.S. I have been given the opportunity to read the book Namesake by Sue Macleod for this blog. This book is about a young teenager Jane Grey, who is living in Halifax with her dysfunctional mother. Ever since Jane’s dad passed away in a motorcycling accident, Jane’s mom has been acting more and more moody every day. Jane’s life starts to change when her history teacher introduces a new project to her. She has to research any interesting person from history, She decides to research Lady Jane Grey, who ruled Tudor England for 9 days. Jane is writing her history paper when she finds the Book Of Prayre, Lady Jane’s prayer book, mixed in with her library books. She reads a passage out loud and is suddenly in 16th Century England. She meets Lady Jane Grey, and the two of them form a true friendship. Jane finds herself returning into the past continuosly, she is trying to forget her own problems. As Jane gets more enveloped in the past, can she fix both her own problems as well as Lady Jane Grey’s? I thought this was a well written book, and the author successfully made us understand the language that they spoke back in the 16th century. In the beginning, there were a few slow parts, but the end is amazing! Overall it was a very enjoyable book, and you will have to read this book to find out yourself!

Thank you, Michaela, for your review!

Canadian Family Magazine features Namesake, a “Great Summer Read”

Posted on May 30th, 2013 by pajamapress

“Past and present collide when a 15-year-old Halifax girl named Jane Grey slips back in time and comes face-to-face with her namesake, who ruled Tudor England for nine days before being imprisoned in the Tower of London. The girls’ bond grows with each of modern Jane’s trips back through time, as she desperately tries to prevent her new friend from meeting a tragic end.—DC

“This book captivated my interest with the connection between the past and the future.”—Alissah, 16, Calgary

Canadian Family Magazine‘s summer issue is on newsstands across the country now! Visit their website at

Namesake Book Launch

Posted on May 26th, 2013 by pajamapress

On Thursday, May 23 a group of book lovers gathered at Another Story Bookshop to celebrate Namesake by Sue MacLeod. There was a lot of positive energy, plenty of insightful questions, and even some bakery-fresh cookies. Thank you to everyone who came out to the launch!

CanLit for LittleCanadians reviews Namesake

Posted on May 14th, 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 this…

I am especially pleased by the direction the author takes Jane’s time slip, allowing for the two young women, just sixteen, to share their lives and their stories, and Jane anticipating bringing Lady Jane back with her…

The history is true, the twists unique and the touches of humour and romance are heart-warming. And Namesake still delivers an open ending that takes the reader to a more hopeful situation than Lady Jane’s true horrific ending”
Helen K

Click here to read the full post.

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.

Interview with Sue MacLeod

Posted on April 26th, 2013 by pajamapress

S.MacLeodSue MacLeod is a poet and editor living in Toronto, Ontario. Her debut novel, Namesake, is a time slip title for teens about the friendship between Jane Grey, a high school student in Halifax, and Lady Jane Grey, the short-lived Tudor queen who spent her last days in the Tower of London.

Sue joined us to talk about poetry, prose, and the magic of characters.

 You are already established as a poet, and in fact were the inaugural poet laureate in Halifax. Did you always want to write a novel as well? Where did that urge come from?

I’m not sure about the word “established,” although I did write poetry first. For me, it hinges on the subject. A subject will compel me and will seem to call for one form or another—poem, short story, or novel.

Did you find the switch to prose challenging? Exciting? Surprising in any way?

Yes, all of the above. The amazing thing is the characters—they do become real, just as I’d heard other fiction writers say. It sounds like magic, and is. But I think it’s also a writer’s reward for Sitting There … and Sitting There.

But then you have cause for worry. What if you abandon your characters for weeks or months? (As I, for one, have often needed to.) They fade, and you have to resuscitate them. You can only hope they’ll come back to life.

Why Namesake? Why Lady Jane Grey?

As a child I read a historical novel about Lady Jane Grey, and it stayed with me. Years later I decided to write about her—not just as a victim, but also as someone courageous, strong and full of life. And I wanted to write about a contemporary girl who was those things too.

What interested me most was creating the two stories—contemporary Jane’s and Lady Jane Grey’s—and intertwining them. I had to build links between the two girls, links of emotion and sensibility that would connect them despite the “culture gap” of being from different times.

I’d read about Jane when I was ten or so, but by the time I started writing, it was a teen story in my mind. She was a teen—executed not long after her 16th birthday.

I also knew, looking back, that I’d had a romantic vision of Jane Grey in my own teens, partly because I was drawn to victimhood—I identified with it somehow. That draw isn’t unique to me, I’m sure, and may be common among girls, for a whole mix of cultural and personal reasons. I wanted to write through that, to come out on the other side.

What did you enjoy the most about doing research for Namesake?

I loved learning more about how people talked—colourfully, dramatically, often in full sentences that were long and complex.

But best of all was a week I spent in London one July, visiting the British Library almost every day. I sat in quiet rooms at smooth, dark tables, reading biographies and Lady Jane Grey’s letters and other writings, and holding 16th-Century books in my hands.

Finest of all, still at the British Library, was seeing Lady Jane Grey’s prayer book. It was in a glass display case (I’m not sure anyone gets to touch it). But seeing it in person is still much different than online—its compactness, its beauty.

Namesake’s modern-day sections take place in Halifax. Can you talk about your connection to that city?

I moved to the Halifax area with my parents when I was 14, and lived in Halifax for many years.

Lots of the places in Namesake are ones I know well. I used to work at the library on Spring Garden Road; I walked our dog across the Commons, and up Needham Hill. We lived in a Hydrostone house when my daughter was a baby.

What is writing like for you? Do you love the process—or the result?

I love them both, but find the process hard. I’ve heard that there are people for whom the words flow easily. I am not one of them.

On a good day a problem gets solved, a scene takes on a nice shape, or a character says something that moves things to a new dimension. These are wonderful moments. Or I just feel—more generally—the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing my best to tell the particular story that only I can tell.

On a bad day, I figure anyone could write a novel if they were willing to work this insanely hard. (I suspect this may be true.)

I find the first draft the worst stage, because there’s so much chaos to deal with. It’s hard to sit there writing drivel and believe something will come of it. But first drafts do have their lovely moments too, with characters forming in broad strokes and plot lines starting to be traceable.

Do you have other novels in mind you’d like to get down on paper?

Yes, about five more. Right now I’m in the early stages of my next one—a teen love story set in present-day Toronto. There are political overtones. There are clashes of values within a family.