About the Book:
- Title: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
- Genre: YA / Historical Fiction / Retelling
- Page Count: 452 (hardcover edition)
Here’s the blurb from goodreads.com:
“You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)
Or does she?
Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights. “
The retelling of Jane Eyre that you never knew was missing from your life. I loved this as thoroughly as their last book and was frankly disappointed when it ended. Can I demand a sequel?
Star Rating: 5 stars
This is the second in a series called The Lady Janies by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Rather than being a series of books about the same characters, they are more of a series of books based on a common theme – retelling the stories of some tragic characters named Jane (real or fictional) and giving them a better ending – and some supernatural / fantastical side elements for funsies.
The first book in this series was My Lady Jane – a fictionalized story about Lady Jane Grey, who was the defacto Queen of England for 9 days in 1553. The basic historical outline is followed for a minute, but it pretty quickly devolves into its own fantastical retelling which involves people who can magically turn into animals and a dangerous conspiracy. It was an absurdly difficult book to describe to friends but one of the best books I read in 2016.
So when My Plain Jane came out, I was basically beside myself with delight. I got a copy of the book in my Owl Crate and may have squealed audibly and danced around in my living room. (This is not an Owl Crate ad – I’m not fancy enough for that, but I do seriously love getting their bookish boxes every month – it’s an indulgence that I have yet to talk myself into giving up.) This one is taking on a fictional story – Jane Eyre – but it’s weaving in some history, too, and again completely ignoring facts and sad / creepy endings.
In this version, Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte are actually BFFs. And they get involved in ghost hunting and fall in love and occasionally become possessed and there’s another huge conspiracy and lots of adventure and humor. This book had an underlying feminist tone that was delightful. The authors frequently talk to the reader about what is historically significant and call out antiquated nonsense – and somehow do it really well, without pulling away from the story itself.
Real talk: I’m not a big fan of Jane Eyre – so completely turning this classic on its head was A-OK with me and honestly just improved it. If you are a die hard Jane Eyre fan – I could see this potentially being not so much a good thing. Or maybe you love retellings of your favorite stories even when they are absurd and campy. I’ll partake in pretty much any retelling of Pride and Prejudice that comes my way. I think you probably know yourself well enough to know whether you enjoy retellings of your favorite stories or not.
I plowed through the book quicker than I meant to and found myself kind of despondently looking at the last page like, “Wait? There’s nothing else here?” Not because the ending wasn’t satisfying, but because I kind of wanted to keep hanging out with the characters a little longer. Always the sign of a book well loved.
Have you read this book?
What did you think?
Have you ever been possessed by a ghost?