For those who haven’t read The Midnight Heir, this is spoilery for both TMH, and Clockwork Princess.
"I just read the Midnight Heir, it was great :) I have so many questions. First of all, I thought it was so cute when Jem, Will, and Tessa were all there. It was so beautiful. And James… they call him Jamie? That is beyond cute. He is so like Will. And so like Pip. The story is kind of based off of Great Expectations, right? Are there going to be more similarities, or do the parallels stop at the Grace=Estella, Tatiana=Ms. Havisham thing? And why does James marry Codelia? Are your other stories based off of classics as well? Also, how the heck does Lucie marry Jesse, he’s dead (or is he)???! And isn’t he like 10 years older than her? And are you going to revisit the TLH picture that Cassandra Jean drew?? Sorry that’s a lot of questions. I’m so confused!”
I kind of figured people would be confused!
The answer is: yes, TLH is based on Great Expectations, just like The Infernal Devices is based on Tale of Two Cities. As in, very loosely based! But those who are familiar with GE probably recognized in The Midnight Heir some of the bones of the plot of Great Expectations: the parallels between Lightwood Manor and Satis House, the fact that Tatiana is still wearing the same dress in TMH that she wore in Clockwork Princess, just like Miss Havisham always wore her wedding dress — the reiteration of “love her, love her, love her.”
Which yes, makes James/Jamie: Pip, and Grace: Estella. For those confused: Grace (like Estella) is Tatiana’s ward, which means she is not her daughter, but she would call her Mother anyway as Tatiana, basically, has raised her. As for Jesse, yes, all those questions are valid (how can he be dead and not dead?) — and there are clues in the story as to what is going on with him — but they’re not going to be answered until TLH. Ditto on why James marries Cordelia, etc. I’ll just say nothing unfolds for the reasons you’d expect. (And Cordelia is important, and awesome.)
The thing that always fascinated me about Tale of Two Cities is the love triangle and how it works itself out, and the themes of sacrifice and of stories. The thing about Great Expectations that always interested me was that, like Of Human Bondage, it’s a story about a love so epic and compelling that it almost doesn’t matter what the subject of the love is — Pip’s love for Estella is about what Estella symbolized, and he knows she’s imperfect, but it doesn’t matter: it’s the intensity of the love that matters. (It’s the inverse of Sophie’s statement about loving someone who doesn’t love you back being all right as long as they deserve it.)
Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.
And a fun peek at a few of the characters, courtesy of Cassandra Jean: