My Plain Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I never liked Jane Eyre, the character--I thought she was a bit of a drip.  I bravely re-read the book several times though as a teenager (at least it was better than Wuthering Heights....).  So the idea of a reinvention of Jane's story with ghosts and humor, both of which were lacking in the original, appealed.  My Plain Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (Harper Teen, June 2018), improves on the original by adding those elements, and also by not making Jane the central heroine.  

Instead, the honor goes to a girl equally small, plain, and susceptible to romance--Charlotte Bronte, a school friend of Jane Eyre.  The destinies of the two school friends become entangled when Jane choose to become a governess in Mr. Rochester's household instead of a professional ghost hunter, and Charlotte, who'd love to hunt ghosts but can't see them, follows her there.  She's determined to persuade Jane to change her mind at the behest of the book's hero, the young and attractive (though neither tall, dark, or conventionally handsome) Mr. Blackwood.   Charlotte is busily writing Jane Eyre, the gothic romance, in scattered moments of peace between alarms and excursions, while Jane is falling hard for Mr. Rochester....and in the meantime there's a Sinister Plot afoot that involves the safety of the whole kingdom....

It is a lot more fun than the original, but fans of that book won't, I think, mind the gentle fun poked at it.  And it stands alone rather nicely as historical fiction with ghosts and authorial asides to liven things up.  Charlotte is a strong enough character that the book is able to power through its (slightly one note) premise, and this Jane is less of a drip than the original.  The ghosts are good plot elements, and the evil plan that must be foiled is a perfectly adequate plot point.

So basically, I didn't personally love it, but I did enjoy it lots; it diverted me very nicely!


  1. Ha! What a fun idea. Thanks for telling me about it.

  2. I started this one before I left for Spain, but it was a hardcover from the library so I couldn't take it with me. It did seem quite fun!

    But how can you think Jane was a drip? Okay, I guess she mopes a bit; she's not what you'd call snarky or kick-butt! But she stands up to Mr. Rochester and stays true to herself no matter what anyone else tries to convince her. I love that scene when she leaves him. (Sorry: had to defend one of my fave characters!)

    1. Maybe I should re-read it. It's been about 30 years....


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