Title: My Plain Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Historical, Fantasy
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.
My Plain Jane is a unique story that combines a quirky retelling of Jane Eyre with a hint of ghost-hunting shenanigans. The book does have some funny moments, but I think the supernatural and ghost-busting were my favorite elements of the novel. I also thought it was clever that the authors took a Victorian classic and used the plot to subtly hint at a lot of our current political and cultural events/people.
As some of you might know, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is my all-time favorite book. As a Victorian fanatic and anglophile, I love Jane Eyre for so many reasons. I love Jane’s proto-feminist attitude. My favorite scene of the novel takes place among the foggy moors. I love that the original novel incorporates the supernatural and some creepy laughing in Thornfield Hall. But I also like the brooding Mr. Rochester and the chaos that haunts his life. My Plain Jane incorporates a lot of the characters and events found in the original classic, and by focusing on the Gothic elements of the original novel, the authors of My Plain Jane add their own twists and fates to the characters.
All of the characters are unique with their own set of flaws, and even though My Plain Jane is a “supernatural” story, the characters made the story seem realistic. If I had to pick a favorite character, I would go with Charlotte Brontë. Her character is determined, bold, and smart. I love that she is not afraid to show her witty side and her epic “can-do” attitude. I also characterized her as the “Veronica Mars” throughout the story, because she is so good at sleuthing.
Overall, I found the My Plain Jane to be a fun and quick read. If you’re in the mood for a Jane Eyre retelling, some sleuthing, and a band of ghost-busting misfits, give My Plain Jane a read. It definitely has a Jane Eyre meets Scooby-Doo feel.