How to describe this book...hmmm. Well, despite being written in 2001, the novel takes place in a futuristic 1985 (I like to think of it more as an alternate reality) where the Crimean War has waged for hundreds of years and time-travel - and much stranger things - are commonplace.
The story follows a female protagonist named Thursday Next who is a "Literatec Operative," meaning...she investigates literary crimes. In this alternate reality, literature is taken as seriously (if not more) than religion...for example "Baconites" go door to door trying to convince people that it was Bacon who actually wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare. As you may be able to guess, the literary crime in question involves Jane Eyre...for the rest of the story you'll have to read it yourself!
After finishing this fun read, I was delighted to discover that this is actually the first book in a series following Thursday Next. Needless to say, I recommend this book to those who can suspend disbelief and the subsequent sequels will definitely be on my "To-Read" list!
FYI...Sequels are: Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, and coming next year...One of Our Thursdays is Missing