‘My Plain Jane’ by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows was frightfully good.
Synopsis: It’s the classic Jane Eyre tale, but with ghosts. There’s nefarious villians, evil pocket watches, duels, possessions, thwarted weddings and fires. There’s also lost of drama, lots of plans, lots of adventuring and there’s some romance of course.
I really enjoyed the style of writing in this book. I liked how the authors didn’t shy away from integrating their own personalities into the prose. There were some real Deadpool moments (where he talks to the viewer) and I just couldn’t get over the novelty of it and I lived for those scenes. During moments of, what today would be classed bizarre behaviour or even normal behaviour depending on the scene, the authors would give the reader helpful facts to get us to understand the reasons behind certain actions. This was extremely helpful because I don’t find myself particularly knowledgeable in the Victorian era. The authors also managed to weave in some pop culture references (Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, etc) which, combined with conversing directly with the reader, added a large about of comedy.
I found myself liking Miss Brontë the most out of the cast, mainly because she wasn’t dramatic. She was a feminist and a strong one at that, never cowering from expectations shoved upon her. She has a curious mind and she uses it often, to the point where Mr Blackwood realised he would miss her for it. She always had an idea or plan and if I were stuck on a remote island with someone, I’d want it to be her. But Miss Brontë is not the focus of the story, it’s probably Miss Eyre that I should be talking about. I don’t know what it was, but I didn’t develop a connection with her character. I found her to be slightly lacking in the way she treated Miss Brontë at the beginning and you couldn’t really call the Mr Rochester fiasco a romance so what was there to moon about? I liked the addition of Mr Blackwood and I’m pretty happy with the way things ended for him.
With a retelling of a classic, you do need something to set it apart from the original, and this book definitely stands out. It had ghosts it it. Not just that, but only certain people could see them, and there is a certified society to keep those ghosts in order. Some of the ghosts in this book are just as needed, and as integral to the story, as the living characters. I didn’t expect the story to go in the direction that it did, and I can’t say that I understood why it went that way, but it was interesting in any case.
This is my first Jane book from these authors and I am already looking into procuring the previous novel. I loved their style and would frequently cackle at the humour within the book. It’s my favourite Jane Eyre retelling to date.
“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.”
I received this in Owlcrate’s July ‘Strange and Unusual’ box.
You can get it here