My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think the most important thing for readers to be aware of is that you don’t need to be familiar with (or even know) Jane Eyre to enjoy this story. Although a knowledge of the book might allow you to pick up some details or allusions to the original story that you might miss (beyond just knowing exactly where the plot is going), you won’t feel confused or left out of the joke if you haven’t read the book. I personally have never read Jane Eyre and I enjoyed this read immensely. You also do not have to have read the previous book in the series, My Lady Jane, to enjoy this as it is essentially a standalone book within a series of books that historically fictionalize famous Janes.
My Plain Jane is a retelling of Jane Eyre, obviously, but like its predecessor My Lady Jane – the authors take their liberties with the tale and turn it into a fun, historical fiction romp through a story. In this version of Jane Eyre, Jane is a real girl who was friends with the author Charlotte Bronte and can see ghosts. As a result, this story is full of ghostbusting (sort of) shenanigans and it was so much fun. It was also hilarious when the narrator(s) popped in to add to the story or just give their two cents.
Although Jane is essentially the main character of the series, I found the supporting characters to be the ones that I enjoyed immensely. Jane came off as naive, foolish, lovesick and stubborn, but not entirely likable for me. Whereas Charlotte and Alexander could also be incredibly stubborn, but I loved them. Those two were probably my favourite characters in this book, followed closely by poor bumbling Bran. Overall, I felt the main cast of characters to be well developed and dimensional.
The plot and pacing were engaging throughout the book and I never felt bored by it. The perspectives switched between a few of the main characters, but it never became confusing. Each voice was unique and the story was pulled along by their interwoven tales. Overall, I really enjoyed this read and cannot wait to see how they tackle the next famous Jane.