My Plain Jane

My Plain Jane


Title: My Plain Jane

Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Series: The Lady Janies, #2

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 26th 2018

Rating:

Three Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“This brings us to the real start of our story: Northern England, 1834, and the aforementioned penniless, orphaned girl. And a writer. And a boy with vendetta.
Let’s start with the girl.
Her name was Jane.”

Jane can see ghosts, and there are plenty at Lowood school. She’s always tried to keep her secret, but when she hears the Society responsible for the relocation of ghosts is dealing with a spirit near her school she goes to see them at work, and the Society realise there’s another Seer in the area. Alexander Blackwood offers Jane a job but she wants nothing to do with them and instead accepts a position of governess at Thornfield Hall.

Before reading My Plain Jane I hadn’t read Jane Eyre, and other than the characters names I had no clue where this book would go. My Plain Jane is told from three POVs; Jane Eyre herself, her friend from Lowood school Charlotte Brontë, and Alexander Blackwood who works for the Society and is hoping to recruit Jane. Although Jane is the titular character I was much more interested in Charlotte and Alexander’s POV scene, and in their side of this story.

“Helen was still clearly hanging about Jane, but the true ghost that seemed to haunt Charlotte’s friend was Mr. Rochester. Breaking up is hard to do.”

Hoping for an adventure, for more from her life than dying too early of the so-called ‘graveyard disease’ which took her two eldest sisters, Charlotte offers her assistance to Alexander. She may not be able to see spirits but she hopes she can convince Jane to take the job the Society offering. However Jane has already met and fallen madly in love with the brooding Mr. Rochester; a man with more mood swings than a pendulum, and with a dark and terrible secret.

My Plain Jane was a book I had high hopes for, I really enjoyed My Lady Jane and was so excited to see Hand, Ashton and Meadows were teaming up to release two more Jane stories, but it wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped it would be. It wasn’t so much the plot, which was just as fun and ridiculous as it was in My Lady Jane, but I did think this book was missing some of the trademark humour that had me laughing on my train journey into work while reading the first book.

…The Characters

“Charlotte had always known Jane to be a kind, thoughtful sort of person. Even when she was committing murder, she was thinking of others.”

Jane is alone at Lowood school except for Charlotte and except for Helen, her closest friend who died a few years back. Jane is fiercely defensive of those she loves and refuses to even entertain the Society’s offer in part because Helen is a ghost and Jane fears they’ll relocate her. When she leaves for Thornfield Hall and falls for Mr. Rochester that defensiveness leads her to become blind to his (many) faults and oddities.

The relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester was one of things that bugged me in this book. It was very much an insta-love relationship, and while I get that maybe that was how things were in the original Jane Eyre book and that the authors were poking-fun at the trope more than they were taking it seriously, Jane’s utter devotion to this man made her character seem naïve. Even when Helen pointed out some of the things he did which were suspect Jane discounted them.

“A shiver worked its way down Charlotte’s spine. No. No. She would not tolerate it. She would – how had Jane put it? – she would imagine a different life. She would seek it.”

Charlotte wants to write and she uses everything around her as inspiration, but nothing exciting happens at Lowood so Jane becomes the perfect subject for her book. Charlotte wants more from her life than the future she sees if she stays at Lowood, and her tenacity keeps her at Alexander’s side even though he keeps trying to send her home. Charlotte may not be able to see spirits but she has a lot to offer, and she knows Jane.

Alexander is dedicated to the Society, he’s given his life to his work and he believes in what the they’re doing even though they no longer have the support of the King. The only thing Alexander believes in more than the Society is his quest to avenge his father’s murder. He doesn’t seem to have much patience for Charlotte or Branwell, his hapless assistant, at first but they have talents Alexander don’t which proves helpful as he tries to sneak into Thornfield Hall.

Helen shivered next to Jane. “Perhaps we should return to Charlotte. She probably misses us.”
“Us? Charlotte doesn’t know you exist.”
“Well, if she did, she would surely miss me.”

While I think the individual characters were well written for the most part I do wish the relationships had been better developed. The friendship between Jane and Helen was great but at times I felt the friendship between Jane and Charlotte was lacking. The relationship between Charlotte and Alexander was one I enjoyed reading much more, but even though it was better developed than the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester but it was still missing something that made Jane and G’s relationship in My Lady Jane so real and so  fun to read.

…The Setting

“The Society. What do they do with the ghosts they capture?”
Charlotte tilted her head to one side, thinking. “Do you know, I’ve no idea. I’ve only heard that if you’re having a problem with a ghost, you send for the Society, and they apparently all wear black masks that are quite striking, and then they come and…” She gestured vaguely into the air. “Poof.”

What I love about this series is how the authors add a little magic into their historical reimagining’s for Jane Grey and Jane Eyre. In My Plain Jane in the time of King George III ghosts are widely known to be real and the King put together the Society to re-locate more troublesome spirits. I’m not sure if My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane are two standalone stories or two connected stories, given Jane and G make a small cameo in this book I’d have thought they were two connecting stories but then that makes me question what happen to the magic in the first book in this book (it’s very possible I’m going too far into this, but it’s a question that came to mind a few times while reading).


In the end My Plain Jane just didn’t live up to my expectations, which is a real shame because this was one of my anticipated releases for this year. I really enjoyed My Lady Jane and compared to that book I felt too much was lacking in My Plain Jane; the humour wasn’t quite there, and neither was the relationship development. Hopefully the last book in the Jane trilogy will be better again.

What did you think of My Plain Jane? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

26 thoughts on “My Plain Jane

  1. Great review, Beth! You basically mirrored my exact thoughts on this book! Jane Eyre in this book wasn’t all that relatable as a character and her relationship to Charlotte was lacking in its development. The characters I was most interested in were Alexander and Charlotte, but even so, I feel as if their character could have been given a bit more time to grow as individuals. The humor wasn’t as organic as the first one either. Even so, it was entertaining, so at least there’s that. Hopefully the next book will be a bit better?? Fingers crossed 🤞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, yeah it seems like there was more mixed feelings than not for this one which is such a shame because I know lots of people were looking forwards to it. The book should have been Charlotte and Alexander’s story because that’s what I was most interested in. I guess instead of being one book with two stories this one felt like it should have been two stories you know?
      Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping as well. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like your opinion matches most people’s as well, Beth… I’ve read tons of reviews on this book and everyone comments on the humour and how it doesn’t live up to the one in the first book! I mean, I get that a sequel is always harder to write and there are all these expectations from readers for it to do well and surpass the one before it but if there’s one thing I hate is the “second book syndrome”… So much disappointment, such a waste 😦

    I’m glad you enjoyed the first one so much, though 🙂 It seems this one needed a bit more improvement but nothing too bad, I guess. I will keep it in mind when I try them both. Relationships and character dynamics are one of my favourite things in books, though, so that’ll be a tough one to swallow…

    Amazing review, nonetheless! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it seems like the overall feeling on this one was that it wasn’t as good as My Lady Jane, which is a shame because there was a long wait between book one and two so the authors must have had a while to write it, and this was quite a hyped book as well wasn’t it? I guess they can’t all be winners but I know the feeling, I hate ‘second book syndrome too’ there’s nothing worse. :/
      The first one is good, so if you haven’t read it yet I’d recommend that one at least. Personally I think because of the times Jane Eyre is a different book to retell in this format. The relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester may have been romantic in the original but in My Plain Jane it just annoyed me.
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤️

      Like

  3. Aw, it’s too bad that My Plain Jane didn’t match the level of humor that was present in My Lady Jane! But, since I’ve read Jane Eyre, I would love to read My Plain Jane to see if I can catch all the literary references present in the book 😊 I enjoyed reading your review, and I’m adding this book to my TBR asap!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah especially because the humour was one of the things that stood out for me with My Lady Jane. I guess maybe if I’d read Jane Eyre first I would have enjoyed this book more (I’d have been able to catch the references like you want to) but I’m not a massive fan of classics so I guess it wasn’t to be.
      I hope you enjoy this one at least. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this book didn’t live up to your expectations, that’s too bad 😦 I hope that the third book will be better again ❤ I really liked the first book, but I'm in no rush to continue on with the series as I have other priorities, but i'll be lookin forward to your thoughts on the rest of the series for sure. Lovely review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the downside of really hyped books isn’t it? Sometimes they just don’t live up to our expectations. :/
      Same here. This one did have promise and I still love the first book so I’m kind of pining all my hopes on the third one again (probably not a good idea given my hopes were high for My Plain Jane and I was let down, but I can’t really help myself).
      Thanks so much Marie. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it sucks the most when you expect a book to be so funny and still substantial, but then you don’t get that and you just totally deflate. D: I felt this way when I read What If It’s Us, since I love Becky Albertalli’s humor and writing–but that book was just off. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah and because My Lady Jane was really good and really funny I feel like it was extra disappointing, because I feel like it could have been better you know? Oh no, that’s such a shame about What If It’s Us, that’s still one of my most anticipated reads for this year (because I love both Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera). Did you enjoy it despite the humour and writing being a bit off?

      Like

    1. Yeah I wonder if in the end my expectations were too high. It’s been a while since the release of My Plain Jane so a long time to build expectations for the second book. It almost seemed like the humour was trying too hard, so it ended up falling flat, but maybe the third one will be better (that’s what I’m hoping anyways).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t actually read the original Jane Eyre, so I can’t say how this version stands up to it, but I’d say probably funnier than the original though (just based on what I know from My Plain Jane you know). Overall it was quite good, just for me it let down by the insta-love elements.

      Liked by 1 person

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