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.
In theory this book could’ve been written for me. It has all the sorts of things I love: Jane Eyre retellings, ghost hunting, a team of authors who wrote probably one of my favorite books in 2016. But in the end the book sort of flopped for me.
Note, I’m giving it a middle of the road rating though. For all intents and purposes I have read way worse in 2018. Which isn’t a good thing. I’m honestly thinking of hitting some backlist books pretty soon to get me out of this rut of awfulness.
The concept of this book I said it cat nip for yours truly. I am currently watching that stupid Ghost Adventures show (fondly referred to Ghost Douche Bros) while I am drafting this. And yes, I enjoy Ghost Douche Bros more than this book. Because at least that show has a sense of style about it that this book does not.
Hell, if I even knew how the mythology worked in this book when I finished it. All I got is you die and come back to life you can see ghosts. Okay…that really doesn’t make sense and there’s something called beacons that are never really fully explained…okay.
Also, it make a fairly lousy Jane Eyre retelling. Jane Eyre is one of those books that’s constantly retold over and over again in YA. Some retellings I like better than others, this one really did not work.
I sort of hated the fact that Charlotte Bronte was included in the book. I get that this was a fictionalization of the author and all that jazz, but I kept thinking of Charlotte’s actual life during this and was like no…plus, lady died extremely young so that sort of sours the ending besides the fact…
I get it’s alternative history but still. CHARLOTTE BRONTE HATED JANE AUSTEN. I just have to fucking say it. There were so many Austen references I figured Ms. Bronte is rolling in her grave over them.
Also, the way Jane’s story is written completely ruins Jane Eyre. And yes, while I do find the romance between Jane and Rochester problematic, I found the ending of this book even worse. It made me grimace at how they resolved things to hit at Jane getting a happy ending.
FYI, the look alike replacement love interest is never a good thing. The reader doesn’t care if they look like X. We can’t see X in the story. We like X based on how he’s described his personality, not his looks. Having a character fall in love with someone instantly because they look X just grates of my fucking nerves. Not that I loved X here, but you get the idea.
It’s a trope that needs to burn.
While My Lady Jane was full of humor and had an understated Princess Bride-ish quality about it. This one one is like yeah we know we’re funny and trying to be like The Princess Bride let’s literally rift one of the most iconic scenes from the book and movie out and place it in the book.
All I have to say is My Plain Jane, you have offended The Princess Bride, prepare to die.
The one thing in this retelling I did like was that they expanded on the character Helen. In the original source material, she merely is there to die. While dead here, the character does have some growth development as a ghost which is nice.
I don’t really recommend this one if you loved the past book or are a fan of the authors or Jane Eyre. It sadly doesn’t work. However, it’s not a complete failure since there are some things about the book that interest me. However, I really wasn’t a fan and the only reason it is staying on my shelf is I’m a bit peculiar about having an entire series on my shelf.
Overall Rating: A C+