I don’t like any of the Bronte siblings books. Jane Eyre is the only one of their books I have managed to finish. I hated it. I would not have picked this up if I hadn’t loved My Lady Jane. Even so, I picked it up with trepidation. Everything was fine. There is a great star crossed love story here. There are wild moors. There are broody gentlemen. There is a horrible school with an abusive headmaster. But there is also feminism, wit, charm, ghosts, and a happy ending that doesn’t make your skin crawl.
One cannot hate on the Brontës without including some Kate Beaton Hark! A Vagrant sass.
As we all know, in Charlotte Brontë’s novel, the big romance is that poor, plain, malnourished, but beautiful in spirit Jane becomes a governess in the house of the wealthy, brooding, tragic Mr. Rochester. They fall in love and agree to marry, where it is revealed that there is already a live Mrs. Rochester in the house.
The three authors of My Plain Jane create a plot where all these things happen, but there is a really good explanation, which involves ghosts. I don’t want to say too much.
Though the authors insert a lot of silliness into their retelling of Jane Eyre, they also tackle some serious topics. In the novel of origin, Jane desperately wants to be loved and have a family, but she also has an independent life of the mind and values that about herself. For her sins she is rewarded with Mr. Rochester. In My Plain Jane, Jane’s desire for love and family does lead her to an ill advised love, but the authors find a way to redeem Mr. Rochester while also making it clear that anyone who locks a woman in the attic is a bad, not at all romantic, person. The ridiculousness of the restrictions on women gets a lot of time too.
I enjoyed this narration very much. Fiona Hardingham did a marvelous job. I have no idea how a true lover of Jane Eyre would feel about Hand, Ashton, and Meadows’ treatment of the novel, but I loved it. It fixed a lot of the things I hated. A happy ending was had by all and no teenagers married men old enough to be their father.