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Friday, June 8, 2018

Book Review: My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)

Release Date: June 26, 2018
Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 464 pages
Source: Edelweiss eARC

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.

    

Review:

Protagonists: Much like My Lady Jane, this story is told from 3, third-person, POVs, Charlotte Brontë, the author of the Jane Eyre that many of us are familiar with, who is best friends with this story's version of Jane. Charlotte is a very observant and sharp young woman, who hopes to secure a job with the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, this book's version of Ghostbusters, more or less, as well as continue on with a certain story she's been writing. Jane Eyre, our titular character, can see ghosts, a fact that she does her best to keep well hidden so that no one will think she's crazy, still she's a polite and good-hearted protagonist who ends up in the middle of a supernatural mystery. Then there's Alexander Blackwood, the star agent of the SRWS, who is in pursuit of talented agents to help bring the Society back into good favor with the Crown, or at the very least save them from possible ruin. Alexander is dedicated to his work, and to finding out who murdered his father. Honestly, I loved all of these characters, depending on what was going on I would gravitate toward one more than the others, but they are all fantastic, and I love that they aren't perfect, Jane is very stubborn, Charlotte is a tad bit selfish, and Alexander's pursuit of his father's murderer may blind him from the task at hand. All these characters are so extraordinary which made it almost impossible to not get sucked into this story.

Romance: So, the romance in this book isn't the focus of the story and I appreciated how obvious that was throughout the story. This is a fun supernatural adventure and ghost hunt first, but there is a bit of romance. I don't want to say too much about the romance, or possibly romances depending on your definition, in this book because the romance is involved in quite a few of the twists and turns in this book. I will say this though, the main romance sort of snuck up on me, and I really enjoyed that, I wasn't sure what to expect going in and what I came out with was a really well paced and enjoyable romance. The romance wasn't as fast-paced or electric as most YA books are, or try to be, since this takes place in a Pre-Victorian era and there is the pressure of propriety. Still, once I got my bearings on the romance I really rooted for the couple and loved their scenes together.

World Building: So, I'm going to level with you, I've never read Jane Eyre, though I have read a book inspired by the Jane Eyre and I read the synopsis on Wikipedia before starting this book, still I found this story to be vastly entertaining. I was able to pick up on a few Easter Eggs regarding the source material, but honestly, I don't think it matters if you've read the source material or not. The world that the authors create, or well adapted from a time period in our world, is phenomenal. I loved all of the little call outs to pop culture here and there, none of which felt too out of place, and much like the characters the world and the writing style that the authors have chosen, once where they break the fourth wall every now and again to give numerous notes on the current scene, sucked me into this story so fully it was hard to put the book down at times. This isn't the Jane Eyre story you may be familiar with, and I'm sure classic purists would hate this book, but how the authors wove this tale into the story of Jane Eyre was highly entertaining, to say the least.

Predictability: So, I have to say, while I was able to predict quite a few of the twists in this book, it never once stopped me from enjoying the story. I would say this tale is predictable, though some twists did feel a little too obvious, there are still so many exciting moments that even when I know a reveal is coming, I was still blown away with how the twist was handled and the context around the reveal. There were a couple of twists in this story that really kept me on my toes, especially toward the end.

Ending: Dang, this story knows how to go out in a blaze of glory! The final climax of this story is exciting and intense and I loved every minute of it. This is a standalone, even though it's part of a companion novel series, so when the final climax comes to a close there's a sense of finality to everything, but then there's an epilogue. The epilogue serves to really tie up all those loose ends, but what I was not expecting is one, or, well, two more twists, the first just ties up a couple loose threads, the second one, which comes at the VERY end, shook me hard, like, "HOW DO YOU END A BOOK LIKE THAT" hard.

Rating:


Gah! I love this story so much, it's full of fun, ghosts, adventures, and hilarity. I don't know how they do it, but these authors seem to always offer up a fun and engaging time when they collaborate, and I hope their next book, My Calamity Jane, won't be their last.

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