Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult / Romantic Comedy
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 the second installment in The Lady Janies series by authors Hand, Meadows, and Ashton. Move over, Charlotte Brontë, the authors of My Lady Jane are back with a fantastic, romantic, hilarious reimagining of Jane Eyre. Once again, the authors write another irreverent tale of mischief, mayhem, and romance—perfect for fans of The Princess Bride or A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.
Let me start out by saying that this story takes place in 1834 when William the IV was King of England. Let me also say that the story revolves around three specific characters; Jane, Charlotte and Alexander Blackwood. While the story itself is part of the Lady Janies series, it is really Charlotte who tells the story, and plays much more of an important role than Jane does. It starts out with two girls, Jane and Charlotte, who are part of the Lowood Girls home.
Charlotte is a parsons daughter who has already lost 2 sisters to the so called Graveyard Disease. She also has 2 younger sisters, and a brother. She is a wannabe writer who writes about every subject, but her most interesting is Jane Frere. Jane is a penniless orphan who was dumped at Lowood by her own aunt after calling her disobedient, and a heathen girl headed for hell. Oh, did I mention that Jane has the ability to see ghosts?
Since a bad deal happened to her when she was a child, Jane has been able to see ghosts. Jane has a few rules when it comes to ghosts: Rule # 1 - Never tell anyone that you can see ghosts. 2. Never interact with or speak to a ghost in the presence of a living person. Rule # 3 - No matter how tempted, no matter how interesting the ghost, no matter how pressing the situation, refer to Rules 1 & 2. All this is fine and dandy, but when your best friend is a ghost, and your other best friend is a writer who is inquisitive, it is hard to be secretive about her ability.
In this reality, there's an organization called the Royal Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. As you have already been introduced to Jane and Charlotte, this where you get to discover Alexander Blackwood who works for the society. Alexander is at the top of his game. He has successfully collected and relocated more ghosts than anyone else. Until he discovers a girl who can see ghosts but pretends that she doesn't. Alexander tracks the girl, Jane, to Lowood and offers her a job.
You obviously know what happens next since the authors have tried to stay somewhat true to the original story. Jane discovers an ad for a governess position at Thornfield Hall. There she meets Mr. Rochester who she finds herself drawn to. Meanwhile, Charlotte takes control over her own life. She stalks Blackwood down, and travels back to London with him where all sorts of hijinks and they embark on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights. While the mystery deepens, Charlotte knows that Jane may be the only one able to help them solve a life or death mystery. Will she abide, or will she walk into the sunset with the secretive Mr. Rochester?
Not sure if I said this before, but it is really interesting to read parts of the story where the authors are actually talking to the readers directly to explain what they are doing, and why they are making a mockery out of certain aspects of the classic works that have been re-imaged. One of my favorite characters in this book, Helen Burns, just happens to also be Jane's best friend and the ghost I mentioned earlier. She's pretty humorous and keeps things moving along.
I would say that Charlotte is my second favorite because she's very determined, and she's a captivating character who you definitely want to root for. Jane really isn't necessarily a main character. She's the focus of Charlotte's story, and therefore there are things that readers will only learn by reading her parts of the story. While My Plain Jane is definitely darker than My Lady Jane, it still has all the markings of this series: humor, ridiculousness, paranormal creatures, loveable characters, and top-notch writing.