"Unlike Becoming Jane, the over-romanticised and prettied up film version of Jane's brief relationship with Tom Lefroy, this is the story of a more mature woman, falling deeply in love but never losing sight of reality.

Syrie James never loses sight of Jane the novelist. The "memoirs" deal as much with the writing process and the difficulty of finding a publisher for an unknown female novelist as they do with the "grand amour" of Jane's life. We know Jane never married, but we desperately want to know why she didn't end up with her perfect match.

And Syrie James doesn't disappoint—she is a fine story-teller, with a sensitive ear for the Austenian voice and a clear passion for research. The result is a thoughtful, immensely touching romance that does justice to its subject and will delight anyone who feels, as Syrie James does, that Jane Austen couldn't possibly have written with such insight without having had a great romance of her own."

—Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine

"After nearly two centuries of speculation, a hidden memoir by the adored Austen reveals the existence of a romance that was most likely fodder for her novels and the basis for her romantic heroes... This fascinating novel will make readers swear there was such a man as Mr. Ashford and that there is such a memoir. The text includes footnotes and even an editor's foreword and afterword, though, in truth, there is no editor. Tantalizing, tender, and true to the Austen mythos, James's book is highly recommended."

—Library Journal, starred review [ Editors' Fall Picks, 2007; Best First Novel 2008]

"There are not enough accolades I could use to recommend this book ... I read it thinking all the while it was a newly discovered memoir of the famous writer. That is how good the writing is... It is a love affair equal to anything Jane Austen wrote in "Pride and Prejudice," "Emma," "Persuasion" or "Sense and Sensibility... Thank you, Syrie James."

News Review

"Suspense builds, and it's a tribute to the world James creates that readers will anxiously root for Jane to find true love and wealth even though we know it never happened. Deserves front-runner status in the field of Austen fan-fiction and film."

—Kirkus Reviews

Most interesting is the way James creates a life story for Austen that illuminates how her themes and plots may have developed... the reader blindly pulls for the heroine and her dreams of love, hoping against history that Austen might yet enjoy the satisfactions of romance... offers a deeper understanding of what Austen's life might have been like."

The Los Angeles Times

"... there are ... no fewer than five new books with Austen as muse ... the best of these is The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James ... James's book imagines a Mr. Ashford for Jane, a man with whom she shares a good deal of passion in the two years preceding the publication of Sense and Sensibility ... And if she didn't she should have, as it makes for a compelling read even if you're not someone who lives and breathes Austen."

News Observer

"Austen and Mr. Ashford seem a perfect match in matters of head and heart ... though she hews closely to the historic record, [James] creates ... will-they-or-won't-they suspense that culminates with a proposal and an "intensely" kissed Austen. It's a pleasant addition to the ever-expanding Austen-revisited genre."

Publishers Weekly

... and filled with surprises... one of the best additions to the current spate of books featuring Jane Austen."

Santa Barbara Independent

"Syrie James has extensively researched Austen’s life and Regency times blending what we know as fact with the mysterious lore created by the gaps unknown to her public, creating a beautiful, fictional what if... Although knowing from the beginning that this was entirely a tale of fancy, and knowing in my head that Jane never married, the story filled my heart with an impossible hope.   Moreover, I was surprised when I when I found myself weeping when the happy event never came to be. Like many, I would like to imagine this brilliant, opinionated, witty woman had met the great love of her life and that she did in fact experience some of the magic she so keenly wrote of.  Syrie James successfully creates a world of Jane Austen we can only wonder."


"The writing style was so effortlessly Austen that I almost felt as if I truly was reading a memoir penned by her own hand. And while these lost memoirs were just a fabrication, Ms. James did a terrific job of melding the historical details from Ms. Austen's life... While reading Jane's story, I read a review from Barrie Summy's Book Review Club for The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte. Naturally, this book had to come next. I pushed aside all the books I already had out from the library to get started on this one, and oh, was it worth it... It was Charlotte's mostly true life story. And so fascinating! ... And next by Ms. James (Dracula, My Love) ... you can bet I'll be reading this one too!"

The Writer's Road Less Traveled

... spot on research and writing style... When it comes to Jane fiction I expect the story to be written well, the dates to be accurate, and the "feel" of the piece to echo Jane's style of writing... it is unusual for me to gush like an excited tweeny about a Jane spin-off. But here you have it... If you were wondering which book to read in front of a fire during a cold snap, or what gift to purchase a fellow Janeite, this book is that perfect item."

Jane Austen Today

"I have to say that I enjoyed this story immensely.  This book is so well written that I felt I was reading Austen's real words.  Even though I knew this was not a true story, I couldn't help but get caught up in this beautiful love story. I really wanted it to be true for Jane. I loved how Ms. James incorporated Jane's writing into the story; her relationship with Mr. Ashford inspired many of her stories.  This novel was brilliantly written and beautiful.  If you are a lover of Jane Austen, then you must read this book."

Happily Lost in Books

"The concept is a creative way to write a fictional biography of Jane Austen. One that was written so naturally I kept having to remind myself the experiences Jane was living through in the book didn't actually occur. I found my self thinking, 'This is how she wrote scenes full of scorn, from this right here!'... The story itself was imaginative but realistic, full of hopes and romance. I fell in love with the scenery described on the many walks around the country and coast. Heartbreak tends to find Jane Austen and it is how she overcomes or manages her emotions that helped in making this such a delightful story."

Life is Short: Read Fast

"Syrie James has taken on an enormous task--channel Austen and bring her back to life-- and in The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen she has pretty much done just that ... Yes, we get to watch her fall madly in love with a man who "gets" her and appreciates her even with all her quirks... The greatest part of the plot/history, though, for this reader at least, is the story of Jane Austen, author, who struggled with her creativity, desire to write, and the gigantic brick walls she had to scale in order to succeed... I honestly wept when she started writing again, reworking her original manuscript of Sense and Sensibility, overcoming her own self-doubts and inner critic...

Talk about a love story. We of course know the ending, but it's the getting there that Ms. James relates so well for readers who may or may not be familiar with the history of Jane Austen. She introduces us to the real characters of Austen's life, brothers, mother, various relatives and acquaintances who inspired the immortal characters of the novels... James has done a superb job of entwining these characters... in such a manner that it is... often hard to distinguish where the fictional elements blend in, which is why the love story works too... Whether or not it happened, James has created the possibility in an intelligent, historical romance novel. I do believe that Jane would approve."

Writer's Flow

You will find yourself caught and enchanted and praying for an ending that will not come. For die-hard Austenites, this is the book you've been waiting for; for those of you who do not mind a bittersweet ending, this one is sure to entrance; and for those of you wishing for knowledge of how to be a writer like Austen, well, you can find that, too."

Romance Vagabonds.com

"5 OUT OF 5 STARS...
Syrie James does a wonderful job of impersonating Jane Austen and her writing. At some points, I forgot that I was reading a novel and thought that I was actually reading Jane Austen's diary... This book rekindled my desire to read more of Jane Austen once more. I stayed up until nearly midnight last night to finish this book because I simply could not put it down, and after I had closed the book and smiled in satisfaction, I picked up my Kindle to begin reading Pride and Prejudice once more. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen is a beautiful memoir, told as a heart-breaking love story."

101 BOOKS IN 1001 DAYS

"A delicious novel, echoing Austen's voice . . . [which] stays very much faithful to the facts of Austen's life and times and also to her language and writing style: delightful, vivid images of [the] English country side, comic scenes of hilarity together with love scenes of great emotion, witty dialogue and well-drawn characters. Jane Austen comes alive and from the first page to the last, you truly believe that you are reading her long-lost memoirs, not a historical fiction novel.

The book is irresistible to all Austenites, like myself. In the same time, it's a great story about writing and how the writer's personal experiences and feelings transformed to literature. And just for the record, although Mr. Darcy will always be first in my heart (with the looks of Colin Firth of course, in 1995's BBC series), Mr. Ashford is by far a better man and a real gentleman."

Angela Gavrili, diavasame.gr (Athens, Greece)

"Readers of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen may find themselves forgetting that the book is fiction. James bases her book on facts from Austen's life and uses a correct time frame for the novel's setting. James clearly depicts Austen's witty imagination and keen intelligence. Austen's sister, best friend, and confidante, Cassandra, is realistically portrayed in the book along with other family members who recognized Austen's talent and encouraged her work. . . Austen manages to remain true to herself in an age where false pretenses and social standards blurred the line between a marriage of convenience and a marriage based on love. Readers may want to pour themselves a cup of tea before settling in with this novel, which accurately describes English homes, lifestyles and customs during Austen's lifetime. It's a delightful read for anyone interested in English culture during that time period."

—The Montgomery Advertiser

"Does a great job at making you feel like it's a real memoir. I really love this. It almost read like an Austen novel. And even though this was fiction, I felt like it was entirely plausible. I highly recommend this to Jane fans. I found it to be a highly refreshing novel."

Readin' and Dreamin'

"Ms. James novel was just beautiful... I absolutely relished in (Jane Austen's) independent and strong spirit at a time when women were not celebrated or renowned for such traits. The characters were all at once colorful and interesting and I was riveted until the very last page. What I found most apropos was the entire idea of the 'young spinster'... I tried to imagine what it would be like for Ms. Austen to encounter such a situation as a bright, vivacious, talented woman, during a time when single hood was very much frowned upon... I would urge any person with a romantic spirit to read this charming book, as the possibly speculative nature does not at all detract from its undeniable lure and keen sense of wit."

A Year of Reading

"Meticulously researched and written in a style so like that of Jane Austen I was totally captivated from the beginning with this entrancing story despite the fact I'm not keen on spin-offs. I would wholeheartedly recommend it not only to Austen lovers but for those who may think Jane Austen is not for them as an ideal introduction to her world."

Royal Reviews

"If you thought you'd had enough of Austen spin-offs--sweep off the shelves and make room for one more. Witty, deft, and impeccably researched, "The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen" will pique the most jaded Austen palette. Syrie James's "Lost Memoirs" are so deftly done that it's hard to tell where the history ends and invention begins. "Lost Memoirs" should be required reading for high school English classes. Informing even as she entertains, James deftly weaves history and imagination to create an entirely plausible romance for the immortal Jane."

—Author Lauren Willig

Truly, this is one of the most heartfelt stories I've had the pleasure to read in a really long, long time. This is not only the story of a secret romance, but of a writer who overcomes her doubts and her daily concerns for financial security to fully embrace the need to put pen to paper and write the stories from her heart and head ... the story was over too soon and I look forward to many more stories from Ms. James."

—Author Mary Castillo

"If I hadn't seen the word novel on its cover, I would have sworn this enchanting "memoir" was the real thing. At last, the designated spinster wins an earthmoving kiss and all Jane-ites everywhere (and who isn't?) get a delicious book."

—Author Mameve Medwed

"Rarely have I read a book that I have enjoyed as much as THE LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN. I honestly believe even Jane herself would have loved this book. It's almost impossible not to take this as truth ... It is written so well, and stays so true to form for the historical period, that it feels uncannily like a real memoir ... THE LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN by Syrie James is witty and wonderful, and fans of Jane Austen will find this book utterly delightful. I've read it twice already, and I'm sure I'll read it again and again. I loved it!"

Romance Reader At Heart.Com

Many of the facts we know about Jane's life are peppered throughout the book, but the crux of the novel for me was the way in which James easily winds in bits of Austen's novel, Sense and Sensibility. Like Elinor, Jane falls in love with a gentleman who matches her wit and humor--Mr. Frederick Ashford. . . Tragically, Jane does not get the happy endings her readers so desire or that she provides to her readers without a second thought. However, she does get the passion, love, and kisses she deserves for her brilliance, her humor, her love of life, and her devotion.

I don't say this often, but this is one of those books that must go into the pile that I will read again and again in the coming years . . . James does a beautiful job weaving together elements of fact, fiction, and imagination, which made this reader believe in the truth of her fiction."

Savvy Verse & Wit.com

I was hooked right from the first page. . . Even knowing that this is fictional, it gave me a little glimpse into Jane Austen's life and her love for a man that sounds a lot like Colin Firth (just saying!) I love the way the author writes, it flows and it's easy to follow, and she paints a pretty picture too. Did I mention Colin Firth?"

Wandeca Reads

"James stays in perfect pitch as Jane Austen in this vivacious fiction. Fans of romance will love it."

—Author T. Jefferson Parker

it was hard to remember that it was fiction."

Book Escape

"The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen is all about meeting the right person... the author is well-versed in Austenology. The whole thing whisps along like a great Austen-based MOVIE (I've seen them all!)... It's about the perseverance of true love... a fine, enjoyable read."


This book is nothing short of brilliant. Syrie James is a literary genii who fulfilled one of my most cherished fantasies. I felt as if she'd cozied me up to a tea table with the real Jane Austen for a heart-felt chat. I look forward to giving this book to every reader I know as a gift."

—Author Kimberly Cates

"I am scrambling now to read a Jane Austen biography, to remind myself that this tale of her life is fictional. . . I loved this book, and after returning it to the library will be purchasing a copy for my Austen collection. Blending real facts with the imagined gives this book a feeling of truth and you will have to keep reminding yourself that it is a story only. Syrie James . . . was true to the woman who shared so much of herself through her books."


"A new and provocative look at one of the world's most beloved authors. This compelling novel should delight Austen fans far and wide."

—Author John Shors

"Syrie James uses Jane's real life travels, letters, and interactions to tell us a story that not only leaves you believing 'it could have happened,' but wishing 'oh, if she couldn't have it all, I hope she had this' ... we are introduced to not only my dear Mr. Ashford, but her large and loving family, as well as fictitious characters who are incorporated into Miss Austen's work. We learn so much about Jane; from her love of country life to her struggles with her inner demons. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen is a very easy read ... I was wholly engaged from beginning to end ... when I closed the cover (the very tactilely pleasing cover) of this book, I felt as though I'd made a friend."

—Dear Author.Com

Jane Austen lives again in the pages of Ms. James's novel... I have never read another author who so skillfully speaks with Jane Austen's voice and wit... Ms. James writes so convincingly, that I forgot I was reading fiction, and felt as if I truly had stumbled across the lost memoir of Jane Austen, a story sure to delight all Austen fans and make them wish it was true."

—Author Susan Carroll

... and remarkably authentic in creating Jane Austen's voice, Syrie James's The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen made me want to pull out all my Jane Austen novels and read them again."

—Author Deborah Crombie

"The Lost Memories of Jane Austen is such a rich, enchanting tale, it almost leaves the reader breathless... I love the way the elegance of the voice carries the reader immediately into this page-turner... Everything is so vivid, so alive, and wonderfully depicted... it captures the heart with every turn... Frederick Ashford is absolutely amazing. Syrie James compiles a great masterpiece."

—Coffee Time Romance

And even if you're not, it's a very good story. I highly recommend it!"

Terry's Treasures

Even though I’ve heard Jane Austen’s life story many times, I found this work of fiction by Austen scholar Syrie James to be authentic and fun. She assumes Jane’s novel-writing voice extremely well. I hope that most readers also feel for the characters and their challenges–-hoping for the best, even though we may already know how it will all turn out. James’ imagination is charming and respectful as she re-creates how Austen told her stories and wrote them down."

Carrie's Bookshelf