“Words were good. But sometimes they were simply inadequate.”

-Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, My Plain Jane

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Year: 2018
Page Count: 447
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (From Goodreads):

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.

Wow, where to begin with this one?

I want to start off by saying two things. 1: I loved My Lady Jane so much! I thought it was loads of fun and loved seeing how the authors took a classic historical figure and gave her a fun twist. 2: I do not have any previous exposure to Jane Eyre. I have never read the original novel, and I only watched glimpses of the 1950s film. If I had been more familiar with the story, this may be a totally different review!

Like My Lady Jane, this book had the fun and easy banter that was present in that book. The writing was a lot a fun, with quirky comments that wouldn’t usually be found in historical fiction novels. You can tell the writers had a blast writing this novel and creating a unique retelling. They also added a supernatural element to the story by including ghosts, which was a lot of fun but also a bit much at times.

This story follows two main characters, the famous Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë (yes, the author of the original novel). Of course, once Jane is old enough to leave school, she becomes a governess to Mr. Rochester, despite the fact that she is offered a position at the Secret Society that pays much more. Charlotte is furious at her friend for turning down such an opportunity, and sets out to convince her to change her mind (and to make her Jane’s assistant when she accepts the position).

I unfortunately didn’t really connect with either Charlotte or Jane. Their voices were very similar and so I had a hard time distinguishing the two from one another. Jane repeated turned down the well paying job at The Secret Society, but really didn’t have any sound reasoning behind it. Charlotte had the exact same quirky personality as Jane, but I honestly can’t tell you much about her plot line except for the love interest.

The authors also took the liberty to acknowledge how old Mr. Rochester is compared to Jane, which I feel like is a bit overdone. Going into this, the only thing I knew about Jane Eyre was that Mr. Rochester was old enough to be her father, but they still “fall in love.” I think they could have moved their focus onto other aspects of the story rather than spending so much time on the supposed love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester.

Along with that, I just really didn’t connect much with the plot of the story. For the first 40% of the book or so, I thought the story was going one way, but around the 60% it took a complete turn around. I understand the plot twist was supposed to be dramatic and shocking, but it just felt like the authors spent so much time trying to create a story line that eventually led… no where. Furthermore, when the plot twist happened, there was just so much going on that I had a hard time following. Everything the reader thought was true wasn’t, and it was a lot to process very quickly. I felt the same way with the ending; the last 10% or so just felt very rushed, and I’m not quite sure exactly what the characters were accomplishing.

All in all, I think this book was kind of miss with me, but it may have been my fault because I am not familiar with Jane Eyre and I was admittedly a bit distracted while reading it. This was still a lot of fun though, so I definitely plan on reading the rest of the books this trio comes out with (I just got approved for an arc of My Contrary Mary and I cannot wait!).

What were your thoughts on this book? I know it is beloved by so many so I am curious what others think. Leave a comment below!!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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