Read + Review

Read + Review: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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In an alternate version of the classic 19th century novel “Jane Eyre”, the brilliant minds of Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows come together to tell the adventures of a young woman named Jane, who was as plain as could be. Between her miserable childhood as an orphan in poverty and her considerably bland appearance, there was nothing amazing nor remarkable about her whatsoever. Well, actually, there was one thing: she could see ghosts, and was, in fact, best friends with one. It doesn’t take long for her after discovering her abilities to decide that no one can know about them, not even her other best friend, Charlotte Brontë (who was very much alive). Despite all her attempts to keep her abilities a secret, however, she comes across and gets found out by an organization called the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. Even though women were not allowed to join the society, Alexander Blackwood takes an interest in her abilities, and wants her to become an agent. Miss Eyre, not wanting to spend her days hunting down ghosts and sucking them into talismans, even for an incredibly high pay, refuses the job offer, and instead accepts a job as a governess in a wealthy home, and promptly falls in love with the head of the household soon after. It almost seemed like this poor orphan was actually going to get a happily ever after. Sadly, life has other plans for her, and when fires start, people get possessed, and a sinister plot that would affect all of England goes underway, she might just have to use her wits, connections, and unique abilities to bust some ghosts after all. Who are you going to send a letter to? The Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits!

This book was, without a doubt, a worthwhile read. It provided an interesting commentary on the social norms of the 19th century while also providing its own sparks of literary, and sometimes entertaining, brilliance, such as the explanation for King George the Third’s notorious madness, which is important for the setup of the story. I especially found it creative how the writers were able to insert elements from the original story, while at the same time telling an entirely new one of their own. Even if you’ve never read or heard of “Jane Eyre” until now, you should definitely read this, as it has enough content to stand as a story on its own.

I’d say without a doubt, that if you read the original beforehand, then the most memorable parts about this book would be the creative twists it had on the elements of the original. If you haven’t, like me, then the most memorable parts would probably be the underlying sense of humor, which gives it its own unique charm.

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Reviewed by Dahlia S., Twin Hickory Library

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