My Plain Jane

(The Lady Janies #2)

by Cynthia Hand (Goodreads Author), Brodi Ashton (Goodreads Author), Jodi Meadows (Goodreads Author)

I love reworked Austen and Bronte books, and this one is a treat. We get both Jane herself (who sees dead people) and Charlotte (who is near-sighted but scribbles furiously in notebooks about everything) who are both at Lowood school having lost loved ones to “the Graveyard Disease” and pining for a better life.

Only in this one, Jane’s dear friend Helen is an ACTUAL ghost who hangs around and makes inconvenient observations, etc. And Charlotte longs for life as a secretary in a Duke of Wellington-run secret society that captures wayward ghosts in objects.

Meanwhile, Jane goes off to Rochester’s estate to be a governess, and Charlotte runs around with one of those society agents, trying to impress.

Things get complicated, but the fun of a reworked beloved novel is recognizing all the characters as they enter the scene, as well as the important “beats” such as Rochester proposing marriage, or the appearance of Grace Poole.

And the authoresses behind this series absolutely DELiGHT in anachronistic and super fun references and phrases (“I see dead people”) etc. as well as introducing random references to other classic works. It’s so much fun. This one gets a 4 because, like the first in this series, the set up is super fun and it follows the classic story throughout most until the tangle at the end: which can’t go the way of the classic books really, and usually gets confusing and vague.

But this is great, bluestocking, escapist fun.