Our New Book: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.
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Nice Things People Are Saying About The Book:Mysteries abound on the moors—and not all of them are of this world. When Charlotte Brontë's best friend, Jane Eyre, is offered a job with the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Charlotte is dismayed that Jane takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall instead. So Charlotte decides that she's the right person for the job, even if she can't see ghosts like Jane can. Nevertheless, she persists, joining her brother and his mentor, Alexander Blackwood, in serving the Society by trying to recruit Jane. Jane, however, has fallen in love with her employer and has no interest in leaving. A domino line of events follows the two white women and friends as they find love, work, ghosts, and strengths they never suspected. Hand, Ashton, and Meadows (My Lady Jane, 2016) offer up a fantastical, tongue-in-cheek plot that manages to both poke fun at and hold in high esteem the novel that provided the inspiration. A healthy dose of feminism and logic offers a contemporary perspective, often through the character of a ghost named Helen who isn't afraid to call out Rochester's patriarchal absurdities—even though most people can't hear her. A passing familiarity with Jane Eyre is beneficial but not necessary for enjoying this book. Reader, it delighted. A fun, supernatural mashup of different literary novels that shines on its own merit.
This standalone alternate history novel inserts teenaged aspiring author Charlotte Brontë into the world of her own making (with the addition of ghosts) as she chronicles the life of her best friend at Lowood, Jane Eyre, as inspiration for her first novel. Charlotte's authorial ambitions and Jane's plans to become a governess are thwarted when Jane's ability to see ghosts comes to the attention of Alexander Blackwood, an agent for the once-prestigious Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. Determined to help his mentor restore the Society to its past glory, Alexander is keen to recruit Ms. Eyre as an agent-even if it means taking off his ever-present mask and accepting help from the overly eager Ms. Brontë and her screw-up brother. This simple task spirals into a madcap story of ghosts, possession, revenge, and murder as Charlotte, Jane, and Alexander must set aside their differences to solve the mysteries of Thornfield Hall, help the Society (and the ghosts), and maybe even save the King of England in the process. Narrated by Charlotte, Jane, and Alexander, this novel uses Jane Eyre as a loose framework. It humorously blends fact with fiction and offers a gentler, more hopeful outcome for Charlotte, her siblings, and her heroine. VERDICT: A must-read for fans of My Lady Jane or Jane Eyre and a fun alternative for fans of paranormal romances.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review!)
Jane Eyre insists she wants to be a governess, although, really, no one wants to be a governess. When she lands a position at Thornhill, her friend Charlotte Brontë, who would rather be a writer, sees her reluctantly off. When Charlotte learns that her oddball friend Jane can see ghosts and, even more excitingly, has been offered a job by supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood, she’s more convinced than ever that Jane has made a mistake. People capable of seeing, and therefore hunting, ghosts are disappearing at an alarming rate, and Alexander needs Jane, so he and Charlotte set out to convince her. Only there’s something funny going on at Thornhill. And, quite unfortunately, Jane seems to have fallen for the fairly unappealing and kind of weird master of the house, Mr. Rochester. Despite plentiful references to The Princess Bride, make no mistake: this isn’t just a repeat of its thematic companion My Lady Jane (2016). Instead of a whimsical Tudor romance-adventure, this is a delightfully deadpan deconstruction of a Gothic novel, with a ghost almost no one can see providing the commentary. Marvelously self-aware and almost too clever for its own good, it’s a twisted version of Jane Eyre that will have teens and English teachers alike in stitches. Apologies to the real Charlotte Brontë, but you’ll need extra copies of this one.
BOOKLIST (starred review!)
Hand, Ashton, and Meadows follow up My Lady Jane (about Lady Jane Gray) with another tongue-in-cheek novel about a famous Jane-this time, Jane Eyre. In this take on the classic, Jane and Charlotte Bronte are good friends from school, and as Jane's story unfolds, Charlotte records every moment of it-at first writing it as a murder mystery, then a romance. Jane can also see ghosts, and the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits determines that she is a rare Beacon (someone who can control ghosts), offering her a high-paying job. The chapters switch among the handsome young Alexander, a member of the Society; Charlotte, who convinces Alexander to give her a temp job (and who falls for Alexander); and Jane, who spurns her job offer, heads off to Thornfield, and falls for Rochester. The authors' prose holds all the flavor of a juicy period novel yet with the addition of numerous, witty asides. The narrative is full of wry humor-at one point, Jane thinks to herself about Rochester, "He was everything she'd ever dreamed about. Tall. Dark. Brooding"-and laugh-out-loud commentary. The authors' affection for their source material is abundantly clear in this clever, romantic farce.
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY (starred review!)
A stunningly imagined version of pre-Victorian England, complete with charming ghosts, combines with timeless, laugh-out-loud humor in this retelling of Jane Eyre. This book is a breath of fresh air in the teen genre, with strong heroines, an irresistible yet complex plot, a light smattering of romance, and a gleeful—yet tasteful—abandonment of the fourth wall. I would recommend this book to anyone who is tired of predictable plot twists, cliffhangers, and endings and is looking for a rollicking adventure through a quasi-historically accurate rendition of Jane Eyre’s England (with ghosts added, of course).
AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION
Summer 2018 Kids Indie Next Great Reads List
BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS
My Lady Jane
You can also check our Goodreads page here.
Nice Things People Are Saying About The Book:Hand (the Unearthly series), Ashton (the Everneath series), and Meadows (the Orphan Queen series) clearly had a ball working on this joyous rewrite of the story of Lady Jane Grey and King Edward VI, and readers will have just as much fun with it. The authors follow history to the point of tragedy, then toss it aside to allow love and good to triumph. One significant tweak is the creation of a shape-shifting people called E∂ians, such as Jane’s new husband, Lord Gifford Dudley, who spends his days as a horse and his nights as a man. This version of England is full of E∂ians, and Edward’s power-hungry sister Mary (aka Bloody Mary) is one of the Verities who want to purge the country of them. Alternating third-person narration scrolls smoothly among Edward, Jane, and Gifford in chapters packed with hilarious banter, authorial asides, and polite avoidance of nudity as characters shift into and out of animal forms at inopportune moments. It’s an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed.
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, starred review!
“The Tudors meets Monty Python. Prepare to laugh and gasp and clutch your pearls.”
Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of the Shatter Me series
“History, humor, and unexpected magic come together in this marvelous story.”
Jessica Day George, author of Silver in the Blood
A "gleefully anachronistic comedy will entertain with its cast of likable heroes and buffoonish villains." KIRKUS REVIEWS
Wacky, irreverent, and just plain fun, this three-way collaboration of Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows plays fast and loose with history. Set in 1553 Tudor England, the beginning is rooted in fact: young King Edward is sickly, the prognosis isn’t good, and instead of risking the rule of his despotic older sister (that would be the future Bloody Mary), Edward names as his heir his bookish cousin, Jane Grey—after first marrying her off. All the civil unrest of the Tudor era is on display, with the Catholic-Protestant conflict neatly reimagined as a feud between shape-shifters (Eðians) and non-shape-shifters. Jane, who secretly envies the Eðians, has no desire to be queen or a wife and is not particularly thrilled to meet her new husband, Gifford. Little does she know that he is not the womanizing rake she thinks, but a cursed Eðian who spends his nights as a man and his days as a horse. When Mary’s plans to seize the throne take a turn for the murderous, Jane and Gifford find themselves caught up in a web of court intrigue, adventure, and maybe a little romance. Wonky, offbeat, and happily anachronistic—the references run the gamut from Shakespeare to Monty Python, with plenty of nods to The Princess Bride—this fantasy adventure politely tips its hat to history before joyfully punting it out of the way. An utter delight.
BOOKLIST, starred review!
In real life, Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey died young in 16th-century England. Here, Edward and Jane get another chance at happiness thanks to the irrepressible imaginations of the authors. Adventure, intrigue, humor, and romance abound—so, too, does high fantasy. England is a place where people (including royalty) are either Eðians (those who can shape-shift) or Verities (those who cannot). Because many Verities believe Eðian magic is evil, they set about to obliterate it. Eðians retaliate. Also, someone keeps poisoning the king’s food. The plot, then, involves Edward, Jane, and their allies trying to figure out how to keep peace in the kingdom, find out who is poisoning the king’s food, and restore Edward to the throne (he is presumed dead and gads about incognito for part of the book). Eðian “facts” are woven in with such subtle assurance that they come across as a genuine part of English history. For instance, the year the volatile Henry VIII discovered his leonine animal form and devoured the court jester is known in the kingdom’s collective memory as the Year of the Lion. Wisecracks are prevalent, which would be grating after a while if the characters did not fairly sparkle with the complete array of honest human qualities. Readers will need to know the basic backstory of Lady Jane Grey and Edward VI. VERDICT: A great choice for those who enjoy lighthearted, alternative history adventures and romance.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
All three narrators—Edward, Jane, and Gifford—are delightful. G, the supposed “skirt chaser” is hilarious as fledgling poet, sometimes spouting Shakespeare before the Bard’s birth. Jane is a well-read, take-charge heroine who changes into a fearless ferret, and wimpy Edward discards his royal privilege to forge his own destiny. Three cheers for this well-written and rollicking revision of history full of timely mannerisms and bold adventure. Its length may deter some readers but those who enjoy clever humor, colorful fantasy, and light romance will savor each page.