Ok, it’s time for a review of one of the most popular YA releases of the year: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I absolutely loved My Lady Jane when I read it last year (check out my review here!), and Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classics – top five, easy – so I was really looking forward to this book.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(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.
My Plain Jane is such a fun novel. I enjoyed reading it so much. I am a huge fan of what the Lady Janies (the authors of this series) come up with, and this book was no exception. I expected a fun adventure, and that’s exactly what I got. I’m usually pretty skeptical about alternate histories (or classic stories) because I am such a history nerd, the inaccuracies typically annoy me too much for me to enjoy the story. But this series is so crazy and outlandish that it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s so fun seeing characters I’m familiar with in a completely different story, and I love that they made Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë contemporaries. It made for an interesting story, and I absolutely loved how they were both presented in this book.
The other characters were great as well. I particularly enjoyed seeing Branwell Brontë, because he’s rarely talked about – unlike his sisters, he did not write a brilliant classic novel. I also liked Alexander Blackwood quite a bit. He’s an interesting character that would fit right into any of the Brontë novels (well, maybe not Anne’s since she doesn’t really do the supernatural thing). I thought he added quite a bit to the story, and I loved how he interacted with the other characters. Mr. Rochester was, well, interesting. I mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Jane Eyre, so I was predisposed to love him (don’t try to talk me out of it, he’s better than Heathcliff). And then things got weird. I was upset for a bit, but there was a very good reason for it all, and, don’t worry, the writers find a good solution to the problem of Mr. Rochester.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story, because discovering it along the way is half the fun. So I’ll just encourage you to go in blind on this one. I will say that it does start out a bit slow, which is perhaps my only real complaint about this book. But if you keep going, it’s totally worth it. And, I’m not sure if it’s due to the novelty being a bit less prevalent, or because it was a different story, but this wasn’t quite as spectacular as My Lady Jane (those characters do have a cameo, though!). Still, it was a really great book. The same type of humor, just in an entirely different story. Easily one of the best YA books I’ve read this year.
★★★★☆ – I really enjoyed My Plain Jane. If you like fun historical fiction, definitely check out this series. And if you enjoyed My Lady Jane, you will definitely like this one.
My Plain Jane is available in bookstores now. Pick up your copy on Amazon!
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose My Plain Jane as one of your two free books.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission for purchases made through this post.*