Book Review: My Plain Jane

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

Hear, dear reader, is a frothy concoction of humor, romance, mystery, and adventure, packed in a well-plotted Young Adult novel. A reinvention and expansion of Charlotte Bronte’s classic Jane Eyre, it will entertain those of you who labored through the original for school, as well as those of you who still swoon over Mr. Rochester. Featuring Charlotte herself as a main character, the novel takes the ghostly and gothic elements of the original to new heights, by following Charlotte as she attempts to procure a job with the “Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits.” Her Lowood schoolmate Jane, being a natural seer of ghosts, is recruited for the Society, but declines in favor of a governess position at Thornfield Hall. Their lives intersect again though, along with other familiar characters from the original, leading to an absurd adventure stretched across moors and London cityscapes.

The authors, whose larger aim is to “fix history by rewriting one sad story at a time,” lovingly honor their source material while creating a wholly new work. I could practically hear the laughter that they shared in writing it. Like Bronte, they address the reader directly, but with countless winks and nods about contemporary and Victorian society. I thoroughly enjoyed their first team-written YA novel, My Lady Jane, in which they outrageously re-invented the tale of Lady Jane Grey, but I found My Plain Jane even more delectable.

Highly recommended for cheerful reading on dark December days. Best enjoyed with a cup of tea.

To request a copy, click here.

Review by Laurel Cox, Reference and Young Adult Librarian

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