By a Lady by Amanda Elyot

Subtitled “Being the Adventures of an Enlightened American in Jane Austen’s England”, Elyot’s book was got to be one of most confusing Jane Austen spin offs to be published. The novel follows New York actress C.J. Wells as she auditions for the leading role for a Broadway play about Jane Austen and her fictional romance.

But during her final audition, C.J. is transported back to 1801 in Bath, England. While there is introduction to Lady Dalrymple and presented as one of Lady Dalrymple’s poor relation to the Earl of Darlington and his cousin, Jane Austen.

I was interested in the beginning of the book as it follows C.J. as she attempts to survive in 1801 England. But the book quickly morphs into very odd tale as C.J. manages to jump back and forth in time. She is only able to see glimpses of her life in present-day New York as the people around her cannot hear her. She falls in bed with the Earl of Darlington and is introduced to Kama Sutra sex and ruined reputations.

Austen also only speaks in lines from her books and her works. How boring! And made me think that Austen was only added to the tale in order to capitalize on the growth of Austenesque books recently.

Needless to say, I did not enjoy this book. It just reached a point where I should have put the book down and abandoned it. Only kept reading because I was stuck in an area where I did not have access to other books and needed something to read.

Book Mentioned:

  • Elyot, Amanda. By a Lady: Being the Adventures of an Enlightened American in Jane Austen’s England. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. Print. 372 pgs. ISBN: 1400097991. Source: Purchased.
Book Cover © Three Rivers Press. Retrieved: February 17, 2011.


  1. There seems to be a whole Austen industry springing up. The only Austen related book I’ve ever enjoyed was The Jane Austen Book Club. Well done for persevering with this.


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