MY PLAIN JANE | Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
- Series: The Lady Janites
- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication Date: June 26, 2018
“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.”
I really wanted to love this one as much as My Lady Jane, because that book was spectacular. This book? Not as much.
One thing’s for certain, it’s not as funny as its predecessor. The humor is a bit too try hard and is often a miss rather than a hit. The witty banter and dialogue sometimes falls flat and isn’t as endearing as it once was in My Lady Jane.
Unfortunately, there are far fewer characters to get attached to. It’s still very clever and does a great job of deconstructing the Gothic romance novel, but in the authors’ quest to do so, they sacrificed certain characters’ strengths and likable personalities. Jane Eyre in particular proved to be the most annoying of the cast of characters and I felt better when I didn’t have to read her POV.
However, I loved that the authors included Charlotte Brontë as an actual character in the plot and surprisingly she was the most enjoyable character to follow along with. And I was doing some hardcore shipping between her and another character the entire way through. Also, by the end there’s a fun little nod to Charlotte’s pseudonym that is weaved into another character’s profile that I thought was very fun and playful. And I also really liked that Helen Burns was given a larger role to play in the rise of Jane Eyre. Her character was the voice of reason (besides Charlotte) and she oftentimes challenged Jane’s stubborn attraction to Mr. Rochester despite the obvious red flags.
I’m not angry that this book completely alters the story of Jane Eyre to include an actual supernatural element and I’m definitely not mad that the authors poked fun at a well-known novel to debunk and criticize certain romantic perceptions that paint questionable male love interests as appealing. There are many moments of critical analysis concerning pre-Victorian culture and social behaviors, and these moments are well deserved. However, I was still kind of bored with the lopsided comedy and predictable plot, and I really wish Jane Eyre’s character had been handled better.