“But she was a writer, so while she did get this moment of thinking herself somewhat brilliant, it would soon be offset by a crippling doubt that she had a gift of words at all. Such is the way with all writers. Trust us.”
Hand, Meadows and Ashton’s brilliantly written and utterly comical retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre in their novel My Plain Jane is an absolute thrill to read, one that will have you gasping for air due to uncontrollable amounts of laughter. Following Jane’s adventures but with an added supernatural twist and some additional compelling characters, My Plain Jane explores a hidden back story behind the what could’ve been tale of Jane.
Title: My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)
Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton
Age Group & Genre(s): Comedy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Retelling, Romance, Supernatural, Young Adult
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Publication Date: 2018
Format: Hardcover (OwlCrate Special Edition)
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.
Some time ago, I received My Plain Jane in one of my many OwlCrate boxes. Once confirming that I didn’t have to read the first book to understand the events in the second, I finally dived into this comical retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (… however … some characters from the first book DO make an appearance, though little to no interaction occurs with the characters for this novel).
This is a wonderful retelling of Jane Eyre, one I’m glad to have given a go. Though there’s some point of views that I didn’t particularly enjoy, the overall story concept and majority of the characters made this a fantastic read.
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains abuse (mental and physical), death and dying, mental illness, and violence.
Having the narrator’s discuss their thoughts on the characters in the novel is PURE GENIUS! Hand, Meadows, and Ashton not only bring connections to the original Jane Eyre through their commentary but they provide addition hilarity to the already hysterically funny plot. The addition of popular references also created this atmosphere of both comedy and nostalgia for readers and movie watchers a like. Oh and trust me…you’ll know the references…
In addition to the witty asides from the authors, the writing style of the narration in its entirety was well thought out. The different POVs from each character felt genuine and true to their unique personalities and character traits. The chapters and language FELT different depending on whose POV the authors were focusing on…which I think is pretty talented!
The characters, both originals to the stories and new additions, MADE this story worth the read. I couldn’t get over how much I loved Charlotte, Alexander, and the abundance of other new characters. Charlotte is every book lovers dream best friend; she’s courageous and adventurous and always has a pen in her hand to write her next novel…this leading lady doesn’t need a knight in shining armor…though it doesn’t hurt. Alexander, our dashing hero, is full of wit and sarcasm that just FUELS this already funny story. I would go into more detail about the characters that existed in Brontë’s Jane Eyre…but that would spoil a lot! Just know that there’s plenty of added twists, making SO many of them incredibly more enjoyable and fantastic than Brontë’s versions.
The retelling of this classic novel was truly remarkable, becoming equal with it’s predecessor. I am a HUGE fan of Brontë’s novel…I even specialized in Victorian Literature during my undergraduate studies. But there were so many things I was upset with, such as the treatment of women and the idolization of abusive men. My Plain Jane allows for readers to fall in love with this classic tale yet with the removal of SO many things that made the original so horrendous. Spinning off of the settle notions of supernatural elements in the classic and actually adding “ghosties” and “ghost hunters” to the story was also BRILLIANT…I had always been curious what Jane Eyre would’ve been like if there was more paranormal and supernatural events occurring…now I know!
As much as I enjoyed the characters, I grew bored and flustered with Jane. I know…the MAIN character is the one POV I grew tiresome of. I do believe Jane’s character is supposed to cause frustration, as indicated by the narrators during their little insert asides throughout the story. But it was almost excruciating at points; Jane’s character felt rather rude and…well…plain…(not meant to be a joke).
This, in turn, caused a desire to have more focus on Charlotte and Alexander. Their stories were much more interesting and entertaining than Jane’s…which is an issue, when Jane is the main character…
The other unfortunate fact about the novel is I found myself…skimming. Yes, my dear book reading friends…I began to skim throughout certain sections of the novel. Though a lot of the dialogue and narration portions were hilarious, the descriptive portions of the setting and peoples’ actions were sometimes overdone.
My Plain Jane has to be one of the funniest books from my 2018 reading list; the narration is “on point” and the addition of a ghost hunting organization REALLY brought a whole new level to Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Though some parts dragged on and Jane grew rather tiresome at points, this is no way makes the novel NOT worth the read. It’s still that SPOOKY time of year…is My Plain Jane on your Halloween to be read list?