Hand, Cynthia, et. al.My Plain Jane. New York: HarperTeen, 2018. Harf
Hardcover | $17.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062652775 | 450 pages | Historical Fiction/Fantasy
My Plain Jane is a delightfully anachronistic read, just as much as the authors’ previous collaboration. And while some of their choices did bother me slightly, like the constant mentions of Jane Austen, despite the fact that real-world Charlotte was very much not a fan of her work, I more or less found myself once again able to go with the flow and laugh at the continual twists and turns, and applaud the changes made to both historical and literary characters.
Unlike many, while I love Jane Eyre as a book and Jane as a character, I fail to find Rochester romantic, given his broody, moody nature, not to mention the deception regarding the mad wife in the attic. Thus, I was pleased that this book was taking a drastically different turn with that aspect. And without spoiling too much, I will say that I like that this book affirms that Jane is a strong character, even if a little short-sighted and naive at times, and that she doesn’t need a man to be happy.
The twists concerning Charlotte and the Brontes were equally welcome. I always thought it was unfair that the daughters died in the prime of their lives and careers, their brother Branwell almost literally threw his life away, and that ultimately, their father lived alone after they were all gone. I love that Charlotte and Branwell found new purpose through their work in spirit relocation, and that there are other signs of a happier future for the Bronte family as well.
I would recommend this for fans of the authors’ prior book, My Lady Jane, (which, by the way, is not necessary to read before this one, it’s just stylistically similar) or for people who love books that provide funny new takes on historical figures and works of literature.