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Posts tagged ‘time travel’

By A Lady


By A Lady

Image via Powells.


Title: By A Lady: Being the Adventures of an Enlightened American in Jane Austen’s England

Author: Amanda Elyot

Year of Publication: 2006

Genre Keywords: drama, friendship, Georgian England, historical, Jane Austen, marriage, nineteenth century, romance, social mores, time travel.

Summary: Twenty-first-century aspiring actress C.J. Welles has never felt like she belonged in this time and place. But just as she’s on the verge of winning the on-Broadway role of her literary heroine Jane Austen, she finds herself transported through time and space to Bath, England, circa 1801. Despite her better-than-average knowledge of period social mores, she finds herself in dire straits almost immediately, until a chance meeting lands her in the role of a lifetime: posing as Lady Dalrymple’s unfortunate niece, Cassandra. Suddenly doors are opening for her, and she finds herself connecting with all the most important people in Bath, including the intriguing Earl of Darlington, Owen Percival, and his sharp-witted cousin – Jane Austen herself! Could this nineteenth-century world be where C.J. really belongs? And if that’s true, can she keep her liberated, modern self from humiliation when the rules of polite society tolerate no deviation from a moral code as strict as it is unfamiliar?

Who’ll Love It: Fans of Jane Austen and similar period literature will eat this up. The writing style is just the right combination of modern and old-fashioned to set the tone without becoming hard to follow, and the concept is creative and well-executed. But you don’t have to know Jane Austen to enjoy this as a dramatic and somewhat sultry romance novel. A few scenes are pretty racy, though – some readers may wind up reaching for the smelling salts before the end.


Regency gown with kidskin shoes.

Image via Dragonfly Formals.


Fashion Backward: There’s a veritable cottage industry online for Jane Austen enthusiasts, and if you’re fascinated by any aspect of the story, information is just a Google search away. Personally, I recommend an image search for “Jane Austen dresses” or “Regency gowns” to get a firsthand look at the fashions, which play a fascinating role in the book. The author’s commentary on very revealing gowns designed to denote virginity (because they’re white!) really piqued my interest. And our time-traveling heroine eventually finds herself in a great deal of trouble when her enemies notice that she wears the same outfit all day long, never bothering to change from a morning gown to a tea dress!

Anne Frank and Me

Anne Frank and Me

Image via Fantastic Fiction.

Title: Anne Frank and Me

Author: Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld

Year of Publication: 1997

Genre Keywords: coming of age, culture, family, friendship, high school, history, Holocaust, Judaism, religion, self-expression, teen, time travel, war, World War Two, young adult.

Summary: Teen blogger Nicole Burns is far too busy avoiding her homework, adoring the class hottie, and wishing she could get her kid sister out of her hair; she doesn’t have time to think about things that happened in generations-ago Europe. So she’s not particularly invested in her teacher’s guest speaker, a Holocaust survivor, or their trip to a nearby museum’s Holocaust exhibit. But then the sound of gunfire erupts in the museum, panic ensues, and Nicole awakens to find herself living the life of a Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied Paris. Her new life isn’t so very different from her old one – a gorgeous classmate she adores, an annoying little sister called Liz-Bette, friends and family and all the rest. But she’s also got a yellow star sewn to the front of her coat, and as she watches her freedoms dwindle as the war progresses, Nicole starts searching for a way to make her voice matter.

Who’ll Love It: Who wouldn’t? I recommend it to any reader. If you didn’t find Anne Frank particularly moving or wondered why all those musty old historical stories mattered, this book has the answer: because people who lived those historical experiences are not so different from us.  Conversely, if you’re acutely aware of the lingering evil effects of the Holocaust and the suffering it caused, you’ll find this book deeply moving and hard to put down.

Beyond Books: The novel Anne Frank and Me is based on a play with the same title. Look out for it! Even if there’s no local theatre company bringing this story to life on stage, it would definitely be interesting to consider your own life in light of Nicole’s story. If you traveled back in time to Holocaust-era Europe, what would your life look like? Who would be your parents, teachers, friends, and neighbours? How would you survive? Or would you survive at all?

A community theatre performance of Anne Frank and Me.

Image via Zona Gale Young People's Theatre (ZGYPT) at the Portage Center for the Arts.

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