Well, that’s exactly the premise of Lost in Austen, a 4-part British mini-series which aired in 2008. Set in modern-day England, it is the story of Amanda Price, a woman in love with everything about Pride and Prejudice – Recency England, their manners, their courtesies, and of course, Mr. Darcy. Longing to be part of the world created by Jane Austen, Amanda gets her wish when Elizabeth Bennet suddenly appears from behind a hidden door in her bathroom – a door that opens into the 2nd floor of the Bennets’ home, Longbourn. Amanda enters the door into the world of Elizabeth Bennet and into the story of Pride and Prejudice.
Standing in for Elizabeth, Amanda gets to live her dream of being in the company of the Bennets and other beloved characters of Pride and Prejudice, but most important still, she gets to meet Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Her odd presence and manner however, disrupts the natural order of events and things don’t go according to how Pride and Prejudice was written.
Saying all the wrong things and behaving badly, things go from bad to worse for Amanda as she ruins love matches by giving bad advice and getting the attention of gentlemen originally intended for other characters. As Amanda comes to grips with her situation, she is surprised and disappointed by the realness of the characters’ personalities, and she soon realizes that stories on paper don’t always project well in real life.
Amanda desperately tries to right her wrongs and to put things back to they Jane Austen had intended and finds an unlikely accomplice and friend in Mr. George Wickham. As Amanda fixes the situation, she is torn between her love for Mr. Darcy and doing what is right – going back into her world to get Elizabeth Bennett to meet and eventually marry Mr. Darcy. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is happy in Amanda’s world enjoying all the comforts of present-day London.
Lost in Austen taps into the fantasies of every woman who has ever read Pride and Prejudice. Though Jane Austen’s novel gives readers a glimpse of life and society back in Regency England, we all know that it’s really Mr. Darcy who interests the readers.
The plot of Lost in Austen seems hokey and even downright absurd, but it does have its touching moments as well. It is a brilliant show filled with hilarious scenes which poke fun of the absurdities of people in the past and in the present. Though corny at times, Lost in Austen is a heartwarming comedy series that teaches us the importance of literature in our lives and reminds us that sometimes, it’s ok to dream and get lost in fantasy. And who knows…maybe, just maybe, your dreams might even come true.