My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies, #2)by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton Published 26 Jun 2018
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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 (The Lady Janies, #2)" Reviews
This was everything I had wanted and so much more. I’ll be devastated if this series doesn’t go on forever because the Lady Janies truly belong together! I loved “My Lady Jane” SO much that when I got an ARC of this I knew I had to read it asap! I’m so excited for you all to read it in June when it comes out. It’s a long wait, but believe me it’s worth it! I’m just sad I now have to wait until 2020 for the next one!
4.5! So fun!
I really wanted to love this. So badly. My Lady Jane was so so much fun when I read it last year, but I just felt like both the humour and the story were pretty bland in this book. I felt like the previous book was a hilarious historical comedy; this one was a meh Jane Eyre retelling.
I don't think it worked as well when the authors switched from a funny retelling of history to a not-so-funny retelling of a well-known book. Jane Eyre is easily one of my favourite books of all time and My Plain Jane doesn't do much new with it. There's a supernatural subplot but most scenes happen exactly as they happen in the Bronte classic, and there are very few new characters.
Maybe it is because I feel such strong emotional ties to the source material, but it really irked me how the authors turned Jane Eyre into someone obsessed with handsome boys (that's not Jane!) and Charlotte Bronte into someone obsessed with Jane Austen (that's not Charlotte!). It's a pretty well-documented fact that Charlotte Bronte really disliked Jane Austen's work, so her repeated declarations of love for Mr Darcy here were annoying.
It started fairly entertaining but it just became boring very quickly. I know the story so I saw pretty much everything coming. The real action doesn't kick off until more than halfway into the book, and the jokes fell a little flat instead of making me chuckle like they did in My Lady Jane. Plus, I just felt a real disconnect with the story and characters-- they lacked some spark or emotion to keep me invested.
Here are a few things/quotes I did like:
➽ How Bertha's character was handled.
“Go home, Miss Brontë.”
“I can’t afford any more delays, Miss Brontë.”
“Please stop talking, Miss Brontë.”
Nevertheless, she persisted.
“You’re definitely not coming with us,” Alexander said. “Not a chance.”
Reader, Miss Brontë definitely went with them.
It's difficult to recommend because, on the one hand, having read Jane Eyre spoils a lot of what happened, but you also kinda need to have read it to get a bunch of the jokes. Which is a problem. And also: I would never tell anyone not to read Jane Eyre.
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Very fun book! The authors took elements of the story of Jane Eyre and managed to turn it into a ghost hunting mystery adventure. It very much felt like a mix between a classic romance novel and Ghostbusters, and it was just a lot of fun to read. And I can safely say that even if you have never read Jane Eyre (as I haven’t), you can still wholeheartedly enjoy this book. Oddly enough, I think my favourite character was actually Charlotte (Charlotte Brontë), but the entire book is filled with a great cast of characters you’ll fall in love with.
Another thing to note is that you also don’t have to read My Lady Jane before reading this one. This is not a sequel, it’s a completely separate story.
1. You don't have to read MY LADY JANE first in order to enjoy this one. The books are connected only by the authors and the first and last words in the titles. And the look of the cover. And the amount of fun we had writing the books. And the amount of chocolate we ate. But other than that, totally different books!
2. You also don't need to have read JANE EYRE to enjoy this book. As with MLJ and knowing Jane Grey's history, we've got you covered in the prologue.
3. That said, I certainly do recommend reading both MLJ and JE! More books! Mooooreeee!
Oh boy, this is going to be awkward.
➸ Disclaimer: I loved My Lady Jane. Every time I think of this marvel of a book a huge grin takes over my face. And, partially, that's the reason I may be too harsh on My Plain Jane (well this and my slow but steady transformation to a judgy old lady that is too difficult to please). I really wanted to love it. I expected to love it. I'm afraid, though, that My Plain Jane was exactly what the title promised. Plain.
“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.”
➸ Add to the description ghosts, a not-so-secret organization that relocates said ghosts to talismans - and occassionally to the other side - (say hello to the Royal Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits), a murder or two, a seriously creepy estate, and that's your story. Oh, let's not forget it's a Jane Eyre retelling. There is your girl, Jane, who is the plainest of them all (in the human world, because the ghosts ask her for skin care tips. Because yes, she can see ghosts, talk to ghosts, even become friends with them). There is also Charlotte Brontë (the Charlotte Brontë), another plain girl, always holding a notebook and her glasses, an aspiring writer that switches genres once or twice (or maybe five times but who cares) and keeps poking her nose in everyone's business. And finally, there is Alexander Blackwood, the star agent of the Royal SRWS (see above) whose mind is constantly occupied by two thoughts: how to best serve the dwindling Society, and avenge his father's death. It all started in a shady pub, featuring a not-so-helpful assistant and a mysterious pocket watch. Then Jane's journey brings her to Thornfield Hall, a charming and welcoming house where piercing screams wake you up in the middle of the night and arsons go unnoticed, and the master is none other than the dark and brooding Mr. Rochester, who may be bipolar but Jane falls for him anyway, because why not, with Alexander following suit because he wants to hire Jane and Charlotte also following suit because meddling is her second nature (maybe first, who knows). And then things escalate quickly. There are possessions, conspiracies, spirits, castles (palaces), pirates and everything your heart desires. Well, maybe not everything.
➸ For starters, I must publically admit that I haven't read Jane Eyre (yes yes shame on me, I can practically hear Septa Unella ringing her bell somewhere), so on the bright side the story was not particularly predictable for me (the only thing I recall from the movie is a very dashing Michael Fassbender and that's all). And, like My Lady Jane, the pop-culture references (The Princess Bride, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter, to name a few) were highly entertaining. And...that's it. No swooning, no piglike laughter, not the heavy dose of mirth I expected. I did enjoy it, of course, but I missed the spark (and the horse) that marked My Lady Jane as a truly unique, hilarious, adventurous and romantic novel. It felt like I experienced everything through the looking glass, the senses were not heightened, the vision was blurred, the heart didn't falter. And I can attribute it to two main reasons:
➸ The humor fell flat and strained. The authors put too much effort into creating witty retorts that didn't turn out that witty. They were downright silly. Once more, I can't help but compare it to its predecessor: there, the humor felt natural, an integral part of the narration and the dialogues. Here, it was forced, the product of too much thinking instead of instinct. It had its moments, though, and that was its saving grace. Well, that and the supernatural element, because the departed were actually smarter than the living and more fun. Which brings us to the next issue:
➸ Most of the characters were extremely, I-want-to-punch-you-in-the-face-then-strangle-you annoying. Our plain Jane's brain was clouded by misplaced love for a great part of the book, and for the rest she kept refusing to join the Society without good reason. And speaking of reason, this word wasn't in her vocabulary, along with the term "common sense". Everyone, living and dead, pointed out the oddity of Mr. Rochester's behaviour. Did she listen to them? No. Did she melt when he gave her attention and forget all the times he mistreated her? Yes. See? No common sense. She was simply a lovestruck girl that grew a backbone in the last pages. And then there was Charlotte. I hated her. So much. What others called curiosity, I call it gossip. She forced her way into the Society even though she lacked the most basic skill, simply because she wanted it and thought she would be good at it. A little presumptuous, aren't we? She kept intervening in affairs that did not immediately concern her, she was the worst kind of intrusive. And dear Charlotte, I have news for you: we all know that Bran had good intentions when he screwed everything up (even though, to be honest, being this clumsy and prone to mistakes is simply unrealistic); Sam Winchester had also good intentions when he drank demon blood and listened to Ruby, but he ended up starting the freaking Apocalypse. See my point? And finally, Alexander. I had a itty tiny crush on him at first, but eventually I got over it. He was an intriguing character, with so much potential, but he didn't ignite any flames like I hoped. Which brings us to the romance, or the lack thereof.
➸ Well, aside from the oh so icky relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester (and I'm not talking about the age gap), there was another love story on the making, and I couldn't care less about it. There were no signs of romantic feelings until the very end, and I just couldn't root for these characters to be together. And that made me angry because the premise promised me a sweeping romance (like the Other Jane and G - cue swooning) but this one? I would be more interested in reading about the weather.
➸ The way I see it, the authors deconstructed a classic story, but unfortunately didn't manage to reconstruct something wholesome. Their attempt was creative, and definitely fun, but there were gaps and patches instead of a polished, laugh-out-loud, toe-curling work like the ones I know for a fact they can deliver.
Review also posted on BookNest!