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.
After the delight that was reading My Lady Jane, I was very excited to read this book because it’s a retelling of Jane Eyre and I certainly know more about the classic than English history. Maybe my expectations were too high or the book itself has issues, but I couldn’t help but compare the story here to both the original and its predecessor, and find that it fell short.
Our heroine Jane is definitely the biggest disappointment for me. Her story follows almost the same path as the original, so it’s a tad bit predictable, but she is also not what we would expect from a titular character. She felt quite irrational and lacking of common sense a lot of times. Her feelings for Mr. Rochester were unreasonable and borderline obsessive – she wouldn’t listen to anyone advising her that he seemed like a shady person. It wasn’t until the end that she actually showed some spirit and decided to work with others for a good cause, but I think it was too little too late.
The addition of author Charlotte Brontë herself as a character is very intriguing and I think it made the story more interesting. She seems so sure of wanting to be a writer and I loved that she always carries a notebook with her, and starts writing down stuff at random intervals. She’s also always changing her story, and even the genre and it was hilarious to see her go through so many ideas. I especially enjoyed her descriptions of people. However, she can be quite selfish and tries to rope in Jane and Alexander into her schemes, just to satisfy her curiosity or to fulfill her desires, and that didn’t endear me to her completely. But she can be very resourceful and strategic and I loved her confidence.
Alexander Blackwood, the star agent of Royal Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits is the highlight of the book. He is earnest and dedicated to his job, just wants the Society to thrive and hopefully, wants to find out the truth about his father’s murder. He is also very sweet and compassionate and adorably clueless and I really loved his character.
There are not a lot of memorable side characters but few of them do leave a great impression on the reader. Jane’s ghost best friend Helen is very sassy but a supportive friend and I loved their friendship. It’s the most impactful relationship in this story and was the reason I cried while reading. Charlotte’s brother Bran is naive, clumsy and clueless but also just a nice guy who’ll do anything for his sister and friends. Mr. Rochester is far more broody here and not very likable, but I really did not see that twist coming….
The best parts of My Lady Jane were the amazing characters and the wonderful humor that kept me laughing all throughout. And that magic was missing here. The characters felt slightly boring and the romances didn’t evoke that swoony feeling in me. The humor also felt toned down, so there were fewer laugh out loud moments. The pop culture references are still spot on and I especially can’t forget the “Red Room” 😂😂😂. There are also a lot of instances of Charlotte dreaming of Mr. Darcy and I thought it was hilarious. The authors are also quite satirical about Jane’s feelings for the brooding Mr. Rochester and I think it was fun to read. However, the best part of the book is certainly the addition of ghosts. Not only does it add a spooky supernatural vibe to the story, I think it’s perfect for the gothic setting and the mystery surrounding Thornfield Hall. The actual villain is so predictable that I guessed when we first meet them, and that never happens to me. I just wish it was all a little more mysterious.
This book is entertaining enough, but can get slightly predictable and boring. I think it’ll work better if you don’t expect the same level of humor as the first book. I’m however, unsure of how the fans of Jane Eyre will feel about this.