To really appreciate Lost in Austen, you must be a Jane Austen fan. Pride and Prejudice to be specific. And I am. I loved the BBC version and the latest with Keira Knightly is fun, as well. I rented this thinking it was a film, but at nearly 3 hours in, it finally dawned on me that it had been shot as a series. British ITV aired it in 2008 in four parts. That explains all those fades to black.
Amanda is a young woman living in London who would rather spend the night at home reading Jane Austen, than going out with friends. She admits that she is in love with Mr. Darcy (as played by Colin Firth in that BBC version.) I must admit to the same thing. So she is home one night reading about true romance, when she is disturbed by her drunken boyfriend, who proposes to her with a beer pop top. He’s no Darcy and she is really bummed about the state of romance in this world when a noise in the bathroom alerts her to something odd going on in there. What she discovers is Elizabeth Bennett straight out of the novel, having come through a door in the wall just over the tub. Not quite convinced, Amanda decides to take a look at the Bennett house. Of course, she believes she must be dreaming. It’s a book after all. But as soon as she is in the Bennett house, the door closes behind her, trapping her in the 19th century and Elizabeth in the 21st.
She covers her strange entrance with a story that Elizabeth and she must have mixed up their plans and Elizabeth was at her house and she at the Bennetts’. That is enough for her to move into the Bennett circle and become a part of the story she’s loved so long. I won’t give it away to say that things do not go the way they are supposed to according to the book. Her presence changes the dynamic and her 21st century woman’s attitude and hairstyle make her the object of much gossip and amusement.
This could easily have been done in an overly comic way, but it is sweeter. Once you buy that she has entered Pride and Prejudice and that the characters are living, it is a fun ride. Knowing the story, you know how it is supposed to be, and you root for things to be put right. Lost in Austen is definitely an interesting twist on Austen.