Title: My Plain Jane
Series Details: The Lady Janies #2
Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling
Blurb 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.
There are two kinds of books: the one that makes you want to read and ignore the chores, and the ones makes you want to do the chores instead. This one falls on the second. If you’re here looking for more dose of fun, hilarious, and witty banters like that in My Lady Jane, you’d be greatly disappointed. My Plain Jane is exactly what its title says—plain. The humor in this one felt forced unlike in the previous book wherein it flaws naturally and makes a reader laugh out loud. Although it made me laugh once or twice, because that Harry Potter reference really tickled my funny bone. But that’s it.
My Plain Jane is a retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. It contains murder and mystery although some of it felt more like an ornament than a part of the plot. There was nothing satisfying with the way it was solved. It also has a touch of romance but not the swoon-worthy kind. The main attraction here is the paranormal twist—Jane can see ghosts. But even with the ghost element, this book still fell flat. Maybe it’s because of my high expectation, or the lack of humor, or its predictability. It really is predictable. And that’s coming from someone who haven’t even read Jane Eyre or watched the movie. (Yes, shame on me.)
Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.
We follow three POVs throughout the book. There’s Alexander Blackwood—a ghost hunter who works for the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. Partly because he’s good at it. Mostly because he’s on a mission to avenged his father who has been murdered by someone from the Society. There’s Jane Eyre—a teacher who has a very rare gift. She can command ghosts. The Society is in dire need of someone with her talent but all Jane ever wanted was to live a normal life. Then there’s Charlotte Brontë—a nosy student who seem to have an abundant supply of patience and perseverance. She’s not as special as Jane but Charlotte’s hard determination to become one of the Society’s agents despite knowing that she doesn’t possess the talent they seek is really admirable.
Incorporating Charlotte into the story was the coolest thing that happened in this book. I love her character, her determination, her attitude towards everything, her ability to scheme, her decisiveness when faced in a difficult situation. She has this kind of strength that just refused to be ignored. She can’t see ghosts, but still, she stood out in a team that’s mostly comprised of seers. Charlotte may just have outshined Jane in a book that was supposed to be about Jane.
Death could not stop true love, whether that love was paternal or platonic or romantic. Love extended across worlds.
For a Jane book, there wasn’t enough focus on Jane. She has too little page time so we didn’t really get much of her. Also, for me her POV is the weakest. It’s exciting reading about Alexander trapping ghosts in a talisman. It’s fun reading about Charlotte planning and scheming. But with Jane it’s mostly seeing ghosts and ignoring them. And it was just boring.
The ending was clean. There weren’t any lose ends. Everybody got what they deserved. But it lacks a bit of oomph. And there were just too many coincidences which kind of made things look forced at the end. There were a lot of things that I miss from the previous book—the banters, the humor, the danger, because I never really felt that any of the characters here were in grave danger. And weird as it sounds, I miss the horse. This was still an enjoyable book overall, but even with the cool supernatural element, it really pales in comparison to its predecessor.