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31st-Jan-2012 07:26 pm The Color of Love by Jane Greensmith (PG-ish)
I have come to the end of my recommendations this month. There are so many more stories I could recommend, but I have run out of time, alas. Before I present my last recommendation, I must encourage you to seek out other Austen fanfic. I have found that the Austen fandom has a great deal of quality stories in it. You just have to find them.

If you are looking for a good story, you should definitely check out the Jane Austen Fanfiction Index. Login information for the site can be found at every major Austen fic site on the web. (Look at the author sites from my recent and not-so-recent recs and you will be able to track down login info on most of them.) Once you log in, hit the "Fanfiction Therapy" button. You will be presented with a random list of excellent fics, all finished and almost universally well-written. You can also search under specific categories. Looking for a fic wherein Wickham gets his just deserts? There's a whole list of them! How about fics in which Mr. Bingley has more of spine? Or in which Elizabeth learns the truth about Wickham before Darcy's first proposal? There are hundreds of categories to cater to every taste. The site is a veritable treasure trove of links to wonderful stories.

Anyway, on to my last rec:

Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 5,300 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: Jane Greensmith

Why this must be read:

In this excellent, excellent story, Fitzwilliam Darcy has a rare condition known as synesthesia. He sees letters and the written word in color. This affects how he thinks about people and everything around him. He inherited synesthesia from his father, and learned how to conceal it and yet use it from him.

This is a beautifully written story from Darcy's point of view. Colors are used to evoke emotion and understanding in the reader. We follow Darcy's journey in the colors he sees. I cannot explain better; I wish I could. Read it. You will not be disappointed. Highly, highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

The Color of Love
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31st-Jan-2012 06:40 pm A Hit, a Very Palpable Hit by Shem (General)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Kitty Bennet/OMC; other canon couples
Length: 149,300 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: None

Why this must be read:

Kitty Bennet takes center stage in this story all her own. It is presumed that Mr. Bennet does not have much family, especially since Mr. Collins is his heir. However, in this fic, the author creates a couple of sisters for Mr. Bennet, one of whom asks for a companion from among her nieces to accompany her for a time. The Bennets consider the matter and decide that Kitty is the child they could most easily do without. Of course, this is just as things are getting interesting at Longbourn. The militia has arrived in Meryton, and there are rumors of Mr. Bingley hosting a ball at Netherfield!

Kitty thus reluctantly embarks on her own adventure, learning a great deal about the world along the way. She travels with her aunt to London and enjoys a season and the attentions of several suitors. Meanwhile, the events of Pride and Prejudice are happening in the background, but they are affected by Kitty's storyline as well. Excellently written and a fun read, especially since it's about an oft-overlooked character.

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Excerpt )

A Hit, a Very Palpable Hit
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31st-Jan-2012 04:35 pm When Least Expected by Lucy (PG-ish)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 9,500 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: Austen Interlude

Why this must be read:

This short and sweet story details how Mr. Bennet puzzles out the riddle of Fitzwilliam Darcy. He attempts to talk to the man before his marriage to his beloved Lizzy, but still is unable to quite figure him out. Is he, as Elizabeth said, one of the best men she has ever known? It is only upon visiting Pemberley months later that he learns the true worth of his new son-in-law.

Written in Austenesque style, this delightful story from Mr. Bennet's point-of-view is well written and has spot-on character voices. It's a quick read, but one not to be missed.

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Excerpt )

When Least Expected
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30th-Jan-2012 09:13 pm A Mother's Favorite Wish by Linnea Eileen (PG-13-ish)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Anne de Bourgh ????/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 123,700 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: Desert Musings

Why this must be read:

Do not let the pairing deceive you! All is not as it appears! (I know I started the previous entry the same way, and it's for pretty much the same reason. Once you read the prologue and chapter one, you will understand.)

This particular story has a reverse kidnapped/switched-at-birth conceit. Instead of the wealthy Elizabeth growing up in more humble (but still gentry) circumstances with the Bennets, it is quite the opposite.

The story begins with Lady Catherine de Bourgh née Fitzwilliam newly married, and she finds her husband's attentions to her at night to be uncomfortable at best. Thus, she hatches a plot to make herself appear pregnant and then produce a child (by fair means or foul) at the appropriate time.

So begins this story, which covers around thirty to forty years of time. We begin with Lady Catherine's plot, then the story switches to Anne's (??) point of view. This Anne butts heads with her mother over almost everything, and is unafraid to speak her mind. She is also witty and lively and growing into a beautiful young woman. Add to that her immense fortune and Rosings Park as her inheritance, and she is the most eligible young lady for her first (and probably only) season in London. It could go to her head. Waiting in the wings is her serious-minded cousin Darcy, whom she had declared, at the tender age of twelve, she would never marry!

Of course, the truth must come out eventually....

The premise of this story is quite improbable, but that does not take away from the quality of the writing or the just plain fun to be had in reading it. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

A Mother's Favorite Wish
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30th-Jan-2012 08:18 pm The Fortune He Ought to Have by Victoria Cl (PG-13-ish)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/George Wickham ????
Length: 84,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: Roads Not Taken

Why this must be read:

Do not let the pairing deceive you! All is not as it appears! Let me explain: Within the Austen fandom, there is a sub-genre of kidnapping or switched at birth stories. Usually, Elizabeth and possibly Jane are discovered to be daughters of Lady Catherine or some other wealthy relative of Darcy's. By some nefarious plot, they are kidnapped from their true family and raised by the Bennets. There is usually a fifty-fifty chance that the Bennets themselves are complicit in the plot. I am not recommending one of those stories this time around, although they can be quite well done.

It is much rarer to find a story in which possible spoiler ) is switched! And yet that is the case with this story. Do not worry, I am not really spoiling anything. It is very apparent who is whom within a few paragraphs of reading the prologue.

Young George Wickham, supported by his wealthy godfather, old Mr. Darcy of Pemberley, makes his way in the world. He is appointed to be the curate of the Meryton parish and so comes to the village a few years before Mr. Bingley takes possession of Netherfield. Already humble because of his lowly upbringing, he and Elizabeth soon form a fast friendship that eventually turns into more. But that is only the beginning of the tale, and all contained within the prologue. What happens when Mr. Bingley comes? And Mr. Collins? And when possible spoiler ) Mr. Darcy finally makes his appearance?

This is a delightful story, full of twists and turns. The story is not about how the two main characters fall in love, though it does have that, but about how they endure together through all that life may throw at them, both good and bad. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

The Fortune He Ought to Have
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21st-Jan-2012 08:25 pm The True Adventures of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Time Traveler by Kathy (PG-ish)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 93,600 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

A middle-aged Darcy is surprised in his study one day by the sudden appearance of an old man. This old man claims to have changed the past, and thus Darcy's future. Darcy was supposed to marry Elizabeth Bennet, but instead he married a rich heiress, and is now miserable. His wife is constantly and publicly unfaithful, and Darcy's estate is verging on bankruptcy. The old man offers him a chance to fix everything. But, the old man cautions, it will not be easy, for time is resilient and resists change.

Thus, Fitzwilliam Darcy embarks on a strange journey through time. His first companion is the old man, but he disappears when they set the first thing right. He then gains help from two others, but I will not spoil you as to who they are.

I stumbled across this wonderful story only recently, and I am so glad I did. It's sort of like a semi-steampunk Pride and Prejudice, with a time machine and everything! (For those of you who do not favor the genre, the steampunk is mostly limited to the time machine itself.) The reader knows how the story is supposed to end, but it's the getting there that is all the fun. Ultimately, Darcy must go through the same humbling changes in every incarnation of himself, whether as a young gentleman or as a middle-aged man who seeks to set right what once went wrong. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

The True Adventures of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Time Traveler
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18th-Jan-2012 05:00 pm A Taste for the Country by Sandy W (PG-ish)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy (background)
Length: 5,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: Netherfield's Library

Why this must be read:

Mr. Hurst is at best a minor character in Pride and Prejudice, easily overlooked. All we know about him is that he is married to Louisa Hurst née Bingley, that he drinks and eats to excess, and that he falls asleep on the couch on occasion. He has hardly any lines of dialogue in the novel at all. Naturally, he is an irresistible character to fanfic authors!

This fun little story from Hurst's point-of-view depicts what would have happened had the Netherfield party dined at Longbourn some time before the Netherfield Ball but after Elizabeth met Wickham. Hurst is in raptures over Mrs. Bennet's food, and events spiral out from there. Truly, the way to another man's heart is through Mr. Hurst's stomach!

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Excerpt )

A Taste for the Country
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18th-Jan-2012 12:07 am Given Good Principles by GraceCS (PG-ish)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 219,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

In the closing pages of Pride and Prejudice, Darcy tells Elizabeth that he was given good principles as a child, but that he was taught to follow them in pride and conceit. What if there had been someone to teach him better? In this story, Mr. Darcy has a mentor in a Mr. Bradley, the curate of the local parish to Pemberley. Mr. Bradley has humbly served his flock for years, and Darcy comes to him for advice, comfort, and spiritual guidance, as did his father before him. This guidance and help softens Darcy's manners and aids him when dealing with stressful relations, scoundrels, and everything else in his life.

Elizabeth, meanwhile, has to deal with ill-behaving family members, gossiping neighbors, a nerve-stricken mother, and an absent father. The initial meeting between Darcy and Elizabeth goes much better than in the novel, but there are still obstacles in the way, as is so in any good story. Some characters are so altered that they are hardly recognizable--Mr. Collins is truly evil, while the reader gains much sympathy for Mrs. Bennet--but overall, everyone stays true to themselves as Jane Austen wrote them. There is a great deal of backstory before Darcy and Elizabeth first meet, so we really get to know them well individually.

This work may not be to everyone's taste, as there are clear and direct religious references throughout. (But do not let that scare you off, as this is a wonderful fic!) Mr. Bradley makes no apology for his profession and quotes scripture liberally. It was refreshing, really, to see an overtly religious character portrayed as righteous--not perfect, but righteous--while not being self-righteous or hypocritical. All the main characters, but especially Darcy and Elizabeth, grapple with moral issues and treat religion as a way to address those issues. It is not jarring at all, but fascinating how seamlessly the author has woven everything together. She also provides citations to not only any scriptures referenced, but also to Regency-era language the reader may be unfamiliar with.

The excerpt below that I have chosen is part of a larger conversation between Bradley and Darcy. They have several such conversations throughout the story, with Darcy wrestling with issues and Bradley challenging him to think beyond himself.

This is an excellent story. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

Given Good Principles
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16th-Jan-2012 01:44 pm Crossing Paths by Cheryl K (PG-ish)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Darcy/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 25,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

The premise of this story is intriguing and fantastical. It adds a wonderful bit of the supernatural to the world Jane Austen created. There is a maze at Pemberley. One year into her marriage to Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth goes walking, as is her wont, through the maze, but she emerges into a world not her own, a world in which Mr. Darcy did not arrive in time to stop Georgiana's elopement with George Wickham, and a world in which she and her husband have never met. Not only is this inconvenient and distressing to her and to her erstwhile husband, but she is obviously pregnant. So, what is a grieving and bitter Darcy to do with a pregnant woman who claims to be his wife but whom he has never met?

I do not want to spoil too much of this wonderful story, but suffice it to say that it is wonderfully written and crafted. The reader comes to care about both worlds, and wants a happy ending for both sets of characters. The original Elizabeth's appearance is the catalyst needed for everything to change for the second sad and lonely Darcy, who desperately needs his own Elizabeth, though he does not know it yet. I dare not say more for fearing of giving too much away. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

Crossing Paths
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15th-Jan-2012 04:20 pm A Fortuitous Meeting by Alicia M (PG-ish)
I know, I know this is such a late start on my recs this month, and I do apologize for it. However, I hope that the recs I offer will ameliorate the situation. For behold, I bring Jane Austen fiction recommendations!

Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy; Charles Bingley/Jane Bennet
Length: 94,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Bennet Girls

Why this must be read:

I start with this lovely fic. It is a great example of a simple divergence in the plot of Pride and Prejudice, a "what if," if you will. What if Charles Bingley had encountered Jane Bennet while she stayed in London the winter after the Netherfield Ball? (Recall that she went to London to try to raise her spirits at Bingley's apparent desertion of her.) This story is the answer to that question.

Bingley meeting Jane neatly solves half of the romantic problems of Pride and Prejudice, but Elizabeth still despises Darcy, and he still has not learnt that his pride is a real problem for him. They must go through the learning process, but the setting and the pace of said process is quite different this time around, and quite delightful, too. No one can match Jane Austen's skill and wit, of course, but it's still fun to read others' attempts.

Alicia has been a prodigious writer of P&P fiction, and I think this story is a good representation of her overall writing. She has also thrown in a couple of Austen crossovers. Look for some characters from Northanger Abbey as well as a sly cameo of a character from Emma.

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Excerpt )

A Fortuitous Meeting
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27th-Feb-2009 03:38 pm Perfect by Peradan (PG)
Fandom: JANE AUSTEN (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 530 words
Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] elizabeth_hoot
Author Website: Peradan at ff.net.
Why this must be read:

With this one I wanted to include two things; one, a modern, because my omission there made me feel guilty (there are lots of good moderns out there!) and two, a genderswap, because not only the genre is a personal weakness of mine, but I think that in this fandom that type of fic can lend an insight into canon that other fics can't, for the simple reason of dealing with the personalities without the added burden of the sex. These two (The Bycicle is a sequel to the other) very well written fics are glimpses into a completely changed universe, which nevertheless make a surprising amount of canon sense.

If your tastes run more towards the regency side of the fandom, this same author has lots of very good, long fics, both canon compliant and AUs.

Perfect and The Bicycle
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25th-Feb-2009 12:15 am A More Prosperous Trial of the State by Victoria Cl (R)
Fandom: JANE AUSTEN (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE/MANSFIELD PARK)
Pairing: Mary Crawford/Colonel Fitzwilliam, Caroline Bingley/Mr. Rushworth
Length: 299,000 words
Author on LJ: unknown.
Author Website: Roads Not Taken (Jane Austen fanfiction by Victoria Cl)
Why this must be read:

This is one of the best Jane Austen crossovers out there. A sequel to both stories, it takes on the work of entwining the lives of the characters of the two novels seamlessly. Its delightful characterization is a real treat.

Excerpt )

A More Prosperous Trial of the State
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22nd-Feb-2009 06:31 pm Indiscretions in the Life of an Heiress by Alison (R)
Fandom: JANE AUSTEN (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)
Pairing: Georgiana Darcy/George Wickham
Length: 26400 words
Author on LJ: unkown
Author Website: Alison's page at Firthness.
Why this must be read:

First, let me apologize for recommending a fic that is posted in a closed archive. I know registering to read is a hassle if you're not in the fandom, but I cannot really help it.

Not only Alison is one of the best authors in the fandom, and one of the most period accurate (with amazingly detailed footnotes) but this is one of the best stories. This fic--if [livejournal.com profile] tree will forgive me for adopting her terminology--is the best kind of interstitial fic there is. Not only takes a deep, interesting look at a part of a known and loved book that we barely pay attention to, but it does so with a care and canon love that I guarantee you will want to adopt it into your personal canon.

For Elizabeth fans, I regret to say she does not make an appearance, but if you want another canon-like look a Wickham, Darcy, Georgiana and even Bingley, this is the fic for you. It is also told by letters, in an style reminiscent of Austen times.

Excerpt )

Indiscretions in the Life of an Heiress
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19th-Feb-2009 11:10 pm Profanation of our joys by Malini (PG)
Fandom: JANE AUSTEN (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)
Pairing: George Wickham/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 3000 words
Author on LJ: unkown
Author Website: Malini's stories at DWG.
Why this must be read:

So now we come back from the typical to the atypical.

There's precious few slash stories in this fandom; so when I say this is the best slash story out there, it appears to mean little. That is not so. This is an excellent, wholly disturbing story, which effortlessly makes us see canon in whole new light without changing anything of it but the pov. This is also a believable Wickham's pov--for that alone an unique story worth a read.

Malini's body of work is big, varied, and almost uniformly good, but this is without a doubt one of my favourites stories from her.

Profanation of our joys
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18th-Feb-2009 03:52 pm A Most Convenient Mishap by Rebecca E (R)
Fandom: JANE AUSTEN (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 84,100 words
Author on LJ: unknown.
Author Website: Lavender Girls fanfic
Why this must be read:

This is a good example of another typical what-if scenario. Rebecca's other fic (A Shade in His Character) is more famous--and even begun its own kind of fics--but this one is a perfect example of a FMS fic. (And besides, ASIHC is a wip.)

FMS means Forced Marriage Scenario, and where Harry Potter ff writers use magic and soul bonds and the Minister of Magic, where sci-fi ff writers use aliens, the Jane Austen fandom uses social pressure. This fic is also a delightful comedy of errors, which is hard enough to come by, and Rebecca is a wonderful writer. The story takes over when Jane is sick at Netherfield, and Elizabeth has just been invited to stay with her.

Exerpt )

A Most Convenient Mishap
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15th-Feb-2009 11:12 pm Pride and Prejudice/Buffy The Vampire Slayer (PG)
Title: Lizzy, The Vampire Slayer by Genette
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Author on LJ: unknown
Author Website: Author's page in DWG.
Why this must be read:

Because they're two great tastes that taste great together?

I suppose that's true for all crossover recs. OK, then. This is a fun, light-hearted story, with the flavour of firsts seasons' Buffy in a Regency garb. You don't actually need to know Buffy's canon, tho, because the story uses Buffy's universe, and not Buffy's story. (And the author did a Buffy FAQ.) You get Lizzy as a Slayer, and Darcy as her Watcher, what more could you want?


Lizzy, The Vampire Slayer
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13th-Feb-2009 04:32 pm A Singular Proposition by Tanya (R)
Fandom: JANE AUSTEN (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 189,200 words
Author on LJ: not to my knowledge.
Author Website: Tanya's fic at Mrs. Darcy.
Why this must be read:

This rec and the next couple are not personal favourites per se, but they are very well written examples of the typical crack of this fandom: Brotë-resque plots. The first example for today, kids, will be Elizabeth as a governess companion.

If you're a stickler for canon-ness (is that a word?) this probably isn't the fic for you, but if you can let that go, I can promise you will enjoy it. It is great fun while being at the same time a very strong reflection in the disparity of the gentlewomen's powerlessness when (almost) stripped of their social class.

I was deeply impressed the first time I read Emma at Jane Fairfax's comment about the governess' work: "(...) offices for the sale, not quite of human flesh, but of human intellect." That, if nothing else, relates Jane Austen with the Brontës, and puts this story in a good context.

An excerpt. )

(post edited by the OP for initial lack of tact.)

A Singular Proposition.
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10th-Feb-2009 05:58 pm It Hardly Signifies by Kent (PG-13)
Fandom: JANE AUSTEN (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 18,200
Author on LJ: not to my knowledge.
Author Website: Kent's stories at DWG and at 50 Miles.
Why this must be read:

And now, for something completely different.

I've read from Kent that he likes P&P for being 'too bright and sparkling,'* and his stories certainly show so. His characters laugh and joke a great deal oftener than it's usual to find in the fandom, and though his humour is nothing like Austen's--rather more modern--it's delightful in its own right. Kent's prose is easy to read and its simplicity serves him well, letting the characterization and dialogue shine through undiluted.

I read Kent for his humour, but don't let that deceive you: the characters' emotional arcs are not ignored, and this story has one of my favourites variations in Elizabeth's realization. Kent always writes what-ifs: this one in particular entails the lack of the Hunsford proposal due to the changed circumstances, taking over the story during Chapter 33.

She finally resolved not to think on him any more---after all, she would probably never see the man again, so her opinion of Mr. Darcy hardly signified.

*Jane Austen's own words about the novel.

It Hardly Signifies
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31st-Oct-2008 06:48 pm The End of the Honeymoon by Jane Elliot (PG)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Darcy née Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 1,600 words
Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] jane_elliot
Author Website: Fiction by Jane Elliot

Why this must be read:

I come to the end of my fic recs this month and so bid adieu once again to [livejournal.com profile] crack_van. I have decided to close out my recs with this gem of a fic. I originally found it through Yuletide, and I am very glad I did. The portrait of the Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy painted in this story is very true to the characters themselves.

The fic is told from Elizabeth's point of view. When Jane despairs that Charles does not love her any more because he neglected to tell her so before departing for a trip, this causes Elizabeth to consider her own relationship with her husband. She muses on how different Darcy is from Bingley and how different their relationship is from Jane and Bingley's. Darcy has only told her he loved her a handful of times, but she does not doubt that he does.

The fic is a quick read, but a lovely one too. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

The End of the Honeymoon
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31st-Oct-2008 11:16 am Treasures Lost Then Found Again by Michele V. (G)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Darcy née Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 2,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

This short and sweet story tells the tale of an old cottage that sits on the grounds of Pemberley. Shortly after her marriage, Elizabeth discovers it on one of her walks. She and Darcy--together and separately--begin to enjoy the quiet and solitude to be found there. Darcy fondly remembers how he found it as a boy and played within it.

The story goes on to tell how both adults and children of previous (and future) generations treasure the cottage, and how each generation turns it over to the next. Elizabeth and Darcy are both in character, and their voices and humor ring true. This fic is quite fluffy, but it is also an excellent short story. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

Treasures Lost Then Found Again
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30th-Oct-2008 02:29 pm Favors Returned by Michele V. (PG)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: OMC/OFC, Jane Bennet/Charles Bingley, Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy
Length: 55,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

This story is a bit different from the usual Austen fic. The point-of-view character is one John Barrow, alias John Blevins. The illegitimate son of a duke, Barrow meets Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy at Eton, and the three become friends. Because Barrow is not of the same class as Darcy and Bingley--his father never acknowledged him--he has to find a trade to support himself. He eventually becomes a solver of problems and a fixer of sorts for the very wealthy. Living and working in the shadows, Barrow keeps track of his old friends, but rarely actually sees them. Unbeknowst to them, he assists in unseen ways as the two men attempt to woo and win the eldest two Bennet sisters.

Some might say that Barrow borders on a Gary Stu, but I disagree. Barrow is a well-rounded character, whose shortcomings are clear. It is fun to read his exploits and how he flits in and out of the story of Pride and Prejudice without being noticed by the principal characters thereof.

The author, Michele V., invented Barrow and introduced him in this story, but he proved so popular that a few other authors at The Derbyshire Writers' Guild used him in their stories. If you wish to read more of the elusive Mr. Barrow, you can read Resurrecting Mary by Kathlyn, A Time To Every Purpose by Stephanie R., The Murderer's Bible, also by Kathlyn, and the unfinished sequel to "Favors Returned," By Trial and Error. Please keep in mind that the latter three are incomplete and unlikely to be finished. Do not fear, however; "Favors Returned" is complete in and of itself.

Overall, the author tells a good tale in "Favors Returned." Her original characters are well-depicted and are nearly as interesting as the ones with whom we are familiar. The story is engrossing, the dialogue is well done, and at the end, the reader is almost sad that it is over. This is an excellent fic. Highly recommended.

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Excerpt )

Favors Returned
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22nd-Oct-2008 12:24 am One Has All The Goodness by James (PG)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy; Lydia Bennet/George Wickham
Length: 18,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

This delightful story is completely canon-based, which is not as common as one would think in Austen fandom. The author tells his tale completely from Fitzwilliam Darcy's point of view, and does so very well. Indeed, much of the dialogue is almost, dare I say, Austen-esque, while the descriptions paint a vivid picture of early 19th Century London.

The story begins shortly after Fitzwilliam Darcy arrives in London to search for the eloped (but unmarried) Lydia Bennet and George Wickham. He is determined to find them and separate them if possible. If not, Wickham must be convinced to marry Lydia.

The author depicts Darcy as being a man of great passion and feeling, but a man who does not show such feelings in his expression or demenour, which is consistent with how Jane Austen wrote him. Some readers might be startled at how intensely the author describes Darcy's inner thoughts and tumult of emotions. Considering that Darcy just had his hopes dashed (yet again!) in securing Elizabeth's hand and that he considers himself at fault for the mess Lydia is in, I do not think he is out of character.

The other two characters who have the most page time are Lydia and Wickham, and their characterizations are absolutely spot-on. In fact, I have never read a better depiction of Lydia. She is thoughtlessly loyal to Wickham, who is charmingly two-faced. One almost despairs along with Darcy at his attempts to negotiate with Wickham and to convince Lydia to remove herself from her poorly chosen situation.

I cannot really give away the plot, as we all know how it turns out. The purpose of the tale is not to surprise the reader, but to show what Darcy did and why he did it from his viewpoint. There are many Darcy POV fics out there, but this one is particularly well done.

This is an excellent story, and I highly recommend it.

* * *

Excerpt )

One Has All The Goodness
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16th-Oct-2008 12:25 am Pride and Prejudice/Horatio Hornblower (PG)
Title: Lost in the Deep by Gaby A.
Pairing: Horatio Hornblower/Georgiana Darcy
Length: 92,000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

Yes, indeed, I do actually have a Jane Austen crossover rec this month! Austen crossovers are rare, but not unheard of. And this one is particularly good.

The story opens with Darcy and Elizabeth married for several years, with their fourth child on the way. Georgiana is at the age where she must seriously consider marriage. Being young, beautiful, and rich, her possible choices are legion. Darcy happens to take her to visit a ship of his that has come in early, and there she meets a very interesting sailor. Darcy reacts badly, and well, things progress naturally from there.

There is more to this story than just the thwarted infatuations of two young people. There are a daring sea rescue, a scheming prince, a plotting ambassador, kind friends, humor, delightful original characters, and a genuinely good story. The Austen characters are mostly in character, though Elizabeth seemed a little too complacent at times. I cannot vouch for the characterization of Horatio Hornblower, so obviously one does not have to have read the books nor seen the mini-series to understand this story. I especially enjoyed the Darcy family scenes. Their family life is not painted as perfect, but Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam are shown to be good parents to their children, which one would expect.

All in all, this is an excellent tale, one that I highly recommend.

* * *

Excerpt )

Lost in the Deep
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7th-Oct-2008 03:19 pm The Lesson of a Lifetime by Alicia M. (PG)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Gen
Length: 3000 words
Author on LJ: Unknown
Author Website: The Derbyshire Writers' Guild

Why this must be read:

This short story details the regrets of a certain Lady Mendelson regarding her choices and attitudes when she was younger. While Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet (or Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, depending on one's interpretation of the tale) are only peripheral characters in this story, their influence pervades it. Indeed, they are central to the character growth of Lady Mendelson. Although this story is bittersweet, it holds out the hope of a happy ending. Also, you may or may not be surprised to discover the original identity of Lady Mendelson.

I enjoyed this story for its original twist on the fate of a certain canon character. Some Austen sequels and rewrites tell essentially the same story, just in different ways. This tells a unique story that I have not seen before in Austen fic.

* * *

Excerpt )

The Lesson of a Lifetime
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1st-Sep-2008 09:15 am Season of Courtship by Elizabeth (PG)
One of the difficulties in recommending Jane Austen Fanfiction is that much of it is posted to communities that require membership. This month I've focussed on stories that are readily available to anyone, but if I've piqued your interest in reading more, you might like to investigate the following sites:

Hyacinth Gardens
A Happy Alternative
Firthness
Austen Underground
50 Miles of Good Road
All Love Austen

And last, but not least, the Jane Austen Fanfiction Index, which requires a username and password. If you are under 18, you can obtain one from the Derbyshire Writers Guild; or from the Hyacinth Gardens if you're over 18.


Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth/Darcy
Length: 40K
Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] elizabethfanfic
Author Website: see above
Why this must be read:

For my final rec this month, I bring you one of my favourite JAFF authors. Elizabeth has a remarkable insight both into the Regency period and the characters of Pride and Prejudice. In Season of Courtship, she populates the story landscape with Darcy’s extended family. The dialogue is so sparkling and witty, and the characters so richly textured, that we are given a new understanding of Darcy’s character – not so much through him, as through his family. The scenes between Lizzy and Jane are no less illuminating than the ones between Lizzy and Darcy. All in all, this is a wonderful amalgamation of novel canon and Elizabeth's own original canon.

Season of Courtship
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31st-Aug-2008 07:53 am A Little More Practice by Sandy W (PG)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth/Darcy
Length: novel-length
Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Derbyshire Writers Guild
Why this must be read:

Like Vangie’s In Essentials, A Little More Practice takes its twist from one of Austen’s lines. What if Elizabeth had acquiesced to Lady Catherine’s suggestion that she practice on the pianoforte in Mrs Jenkinson’s room? As you can imagine, the time in Hunsford passes somewhat differently. The relationships between Jane and Bingley, and Lizzy and Darcy, develop rather more quickly than they do in the original, and several unpleasant events are avoided. And it’s all Lady Catherine’s doing. She does so love to be useful.

A Little More Practice
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28th-Aug-2008 08:29 pm Mr Darcy Steals a Kiss by Kerry (PG)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth/Darcy
Length: 35K
Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Firthness (scroll down the alphabetical author list)
Why this must be read:

I tend to think of stories like this one as sequels, even though technically they aren’t. Engagement fics actually occur within the bounds of the novel, which makes them more like ‘missing scene’ fics in film or television fandoms. Mr Darcy Steals a Kiss is a playful look at Lizzy and Darcy’s pre-wedding courtship. Kerry writes witty banter between our hero and heroine, as Darcy devises a cheeky plot in order to finally kiss his fiancée, with some unfortunate (though amusing) consequences for himself and Lizzy. There’s a wedding and a wedding breakfast and then a wedding night. Well, you get the idea. Hijinks ensue. All I will say is: poor Jane.


Mr Darcy Steals a Kiss
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26th-Aug-2008 11:01 am The Muse by Jesse (R)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth/Darcy
Length: novel-length
Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: N/A
Why this must be read:

The Muse combines two of my favourite things: Pride and Prejudice and ballet. Lizzy is a corps de ballet member and Darcy is the hotshot ex-principal dancer turned renowned choreographer. The tension and passion of the original novel take a more visceral, physical form in this retelling. Rather than a comedy of manners, or a social critique, Jesse writes an elemental story about the link between creativity and desire amidst the often-petty politics of professional dance. Darcy is haughty and brilliant, Lizzy is stubborn and talented, and they definitely take the long, winding, and thorn-ridden road through romance. Jesse’s ability to both describe dance and infuse it with eroticism is enviable.

There is one element of this fic that's often viewed as its main flaw: the characterisation of Georgiana. It’s not my favourite thing ever, I’ll be honest, but neither is it enough for me to disregard the rest of the work. You’ll have to judge for yourself.

This is the only modern I’m recing this month because – I’m sad to say – the other I had planned to offer has been removed at the author’s request. So I hope you'll enjoy this one enough for two.


The Muse
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24th-Aug-2008 07:14 pm Disenchanted by Kara (G)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth/Darcy
Length: novel-length
Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Derbyshire Writers Guild
Why this must be read:

Magic! Mages! Shakespearian Codes! Disenchanted offers us a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in an England ruled by wizards and enchantment. Mystery and intrigue abound. There are magic forests, pixies, and dragons (oh my!). And I can't say much more without ruining the plot. Unfortunately, there are numerous errors in this story. But don’t let that deter you. It’s a lot of fun.

Disenchanted
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19th-Aug-2008 02:31 pm In Essentials (Much As It Ever Was) by Vangie (G)
Fandom: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pairing: Elizabeth/Darcy
Length: novel-length
Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Derbyshire Writer's Guild
Why this must be read:

This ‘what if’ story takes one of Miss Austen’s lines and cleverly twists it to fashion an entirely new scenario. In this parallel tale, when the Netherfield party meets the populace at the Meryton Assembly, not all of its members are strangers to one of the Bennet sisters. The story follows the same progression as the original novel, with slight but profound differences. Elizabeth is still impertinent and vivacious, but she’s also a little less sure of herself. Darcy is as inscrutable and smitten as ever. Prepare yourself for love! misunderstandings! heartache! mad carriage rides to London! events entirely out of order and inside out! and, finally, the happy dénouement.

In Essentials (Much As It Ever Was)
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