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My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand

My Plain Jane by Cynthia HandMy Plain Jane by Cynthia HandBrodi AshtonJodi Meadows
Published by HarperCollins on June 26th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 464
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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.

One StarOne Star

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