“Mr. Rochester grunted. “Miss Eyre, listen to me. I believe there is a string below your rib, and it stretches across class and age to me, and it is attached beneath my rib. And if you find another suitable position, and leave me, you will pull it out. And I will bleed.”
TITLE & AUTHOR: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
SERIES: The Lady Janies, #2
GENRE: Historical Fiction/Fantasy/YA/Humor/Retellings
PUBLISHED : June 26th 2018, by HarperTeen
MY RATING: 5/5
If you’ve read my review of the first book in this series, My Lady Jane, then you already know I’m smitten. With these books, the characters, this amazingly clever concept, the simple yet adorable humor, and the three incredibly talented ladies who’ve filled our lives with giggles and gasps. I am talking of course about the authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows, whose fan I’ve become after a single sentence.
This is the second novel in The Lady Janies trilogy, but completely unrelated to My Lady Jane, except that it revolves around another famous Jane and that it delivers the same kind of writerly craft and witty humor. As is the case with series, people will want a comparison between these two novels but I can’t do that because each one stands perfectly alone. The only comment I can give you on this is that I loved the first one a smidgen more, like 0.1% more, because Jane Grey is my soulmate, while Jane Eyre is a perfect character and I love her, but I didn’t feel that strong of a connection.
My Plain Jane is a re-imagining of Jane Eyre set in a world where ghosts are very real and some specially gifted people can see them. These people are often recruited into the Royal Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, which does exactly what it says – the agents of the society investigate paranormal disturbances, and if they happen upon a real ghost they catch it by way of a talisman (An object that belonged to the living person that is now the ghost), by bopping it on the ghost’s head. 🙂
Other than the paranormal theme, the rest of the plot will be fairly familiar to those of you who’ve read Jane Eyre which might make you dislike this book, or love it even more, I’ve seen both sides’ reviews. As for me, I’ve read Jane Eyre a long time ago, in high school, and loved it, but I’ve forgotten most of it except the crucial plot details, which made me really enjoy My Plain Jane. On the other hand – some puns will be only recognizable to people who’ve read the original, so it’s a double-edged sword basically. Either way, keep an open mind and let me tell you more about this Jane Eyre.
“Jane pressed a hand to her forehead as if she was suddenly feeling faint. Which didn’t alarm Charlotte, as young women of this time period felt faint regularly. Because corsets.”
Jane is an orphan living in a school for impoverished girls with her best friend Charlotte Brontë. She is a very plain girl, which all the characters seem to notice as soon as they meet her, but what none of them knows, including Charlotte, is that Jane can see dead people. Not only that, but Jane has a secret best friend which Charlotte knows nothing about. After an incident in a local pub, another person becomes aware of Jane’s secret – Alexander Blackwood, the star agent of the now declining society. He will try anything to recruit Jane into the society, which she most certainly will not join, so when Jane gets a job as a governess and leaves the orphanage, Alexander devises a ploy together with Charlotte and his trainee agent Bran to get close to Jane and try and convince her some more.
As the plot thickens, many eerie things will happen and the theme will diverge from the original Jane Eyre and go full on paranormal, which I really loved but I shouldn’t say more because I’ll spoil it. As was the case with My Lady Jane, this novel is also filled with various pop-culture and literary references, and I’ll list just a few I really loved:
“Mr. Edgar Linton, of Thrushcross Grange, would like to announce his engagement to the lovely Miss Catherine Earnshaw, the wedding to take place on September the 21st, even though the lady would much rather marry a ruffian named Heathcliff. But she will forego her passion in order to secure social ambition.”
“He keeps it locked in a room guarded by a three-headed dog, which drops into a pit of strangling vines, followed by a life-or-death life-size game of chess, which opens into a room with a locked door and a hundred keys on wings, and then there’s a mirror…”
“We require that one ring,” Mr. Blackwood said. “It’s my ring,” said the king. “It’s my precious.”
And as a special bonus, there is a tiny-tiny connection to Jane Grey which made me smile and my little heart beat faster. :’)
“A radiant girl with red hair caught Charlotte’s eye. She was dressed in a gorgeous embroidered, jewel-encrusted gown and an Elizabethan headdress. In her hand she held a book. She smiled sweetly at Jane, and reached for the man beside her, who, to Charlotte’s total astonishment, suddenly turned into a horse.”
A thank-you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.