Beloved by Pat M.

Story:  Beloved
Author: Pat M.
Rating: Adult
Story URL: Story Link
Word count: 79,900
Summary: Elizabeth Bennet is taken as a newborn to Staffordshire, and is raised as the true daughter of a very wealthy family. She knew the Darcy family all her life, and had a crush on Darcy as a child. Darcy was always fascinated with Elizabeth, even when she was is a baby (no folks, he is not a pedophile!). This is their love story and there is no angst between them (other characters, yes, but not them). There is lots of HMS. These two just wanted to do the deed all the time, and who am I to stop them?

Gioia’s Rec:
I’ve read this at least three or four times and enjoyed it greatly on each occassion. There is a lot of action and it is so completely AU that it is fun to see how Elizabeth’s canon-characterization was worked into such a radically different setting. The nature vs. nurture debate is illustrated well here.

I like the way that Darcy’s faults, which were addressed at Hunsford in canon, are not ignored. Instead, we see how Elizabeth is able to help Mr. Darcy want to be a better man in regards to those faults which she does not hesitate to alert him to, albeit in a more gentle manner.

And because this is a somewhat rare story element in the Jane Austen fandom, I must also bring attention to the fact that Darcy is a virgin until marriage in this fic.   I adore fics which do this.  As this Darcy has been in love with Elizabeth for years, it’s not surprising that he chose not to visit brothels when he was a young man,. I understand such loose behavior was common and expected of gentlemen in this era, but I despise stories in which that behavior is not merely acknowledged, but actually endorsed and justified.  I am able to enjoy their relationship far better when I am not wondering at the risk of STDs at Pemberley, to say nothing of how disgusting I think such behavior is and how I feel it represents a serious shade in his character.

At the same time, I should probably warn readers that this story most decidedly earned the Adult rating, as Mr. & Mrs. Darcy have a very active love life.

My only critique: The story is, at its heart, pure fluff, in spite of the significant number and length of the drama, action and suspense elements.  I love that about this story. However, be aware that the story is subsequently rather fanficish in its plot and writing style.  While I love P&P fics in which a driving goal is to work out or eliminate all the canon issues with the least amount of angst possible, I know that is not something everyone else enjoys.  Personally, I like to see the story’s conflicts come from outside of the couple’s relationship rather than from within.  (This is probably a hang-up left over from my days in the Roswell fandom, where that show’s creator famously quipped, “A happy couple is a boring couple.”) Also, Mrs. Bennet is very OOC, but that’s deliberate, and in this fandom, the characterization of Mrs. Bennet as “truly ghastly” is considered a sub-genre.

Please note: The tag for “Violence or Abuse-Sexual” is in reference to an “off-camera” situation which is referenced briefly in the first chapter.

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About Gioia

I'm a wife and mother and, when not tied up with responsibilities, I read non-stop. I love to share my favorite stories with others, thus the existence of my blog.
This entry was posted in Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Content Rating-P&P: Adult (NC-17), Conventional (Canon) Couple, Drama/Angst, Elizabeth is wealthy, titled, or connected, Era: Regency, Fluff, Ghastly Mrs. Bennet, Het: M/F, Hurt/Comfort, Lost or rediscovered family connections, Mystery/Suspense, Original Character featured, Original Character/Canon Character, Out-of-character behavior (Deliberate), Pride & Prejudice, Romance, Violence or Abuse-Non-sexual, Violence or Abuse-Sexual and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Beloved by Pat M.

  1. I hope you don’t mind my commenting on a super old post.

    Your comment about Darcy being a virgin as something you liked struck me, because it is generally something I like too, while at the same time the novel I’ve just about finished writing is about a Darcy raised by his rather disreputable Matlock relations trying to make an Elizabeth with no apparent chance of a respectable marriage his mistress (Mr. Bennet died, and Lydia married a very brawny blacksmith).

    The way I tried to approach this was by self consciously having Darcy think about his previous mistresses rather in the way someone today would think about a girlfriend, with the caveat that he does need to materially support her, because after all women didn’t have real jobs. He has this idea that he wants there to be strong mutual affection already present, and that it isn’t supposed to be primarily a financial transaction, while at the same time the money is present there in such an offer, even if he wishes it wasn’t.

    Of course some people might simply not like that, while others are perfectly fine with Darcy whoring about. I don’t think regularly visiting brothels, or even keeping a mistress, was actually universal then, just very common. One or the other would definitely be the substantial majority, of course.

    I do totally agree though on the brothels being always a no-no. They won’t be in a story I write due to the STDs.

    • Gioia says:

      You offer a very interesting discussion on this controversial topic. Excellent! 😉 I hope you will forgive my enthusiastic chatter in response.

      One reason Queen Victoria’s reign was so associated with conservative behaviors & morality was because, in spite of her affection for her father’s family, she was horrified & embarrassed by their open, unabashed immortality. So, you make a very good point about such relationships being fairly common, though not universal, during the regency era.

      I’m reminded of Prince Charles’ famously petulant defiance when Princess Diana confronted him about Camilla (who received supplemental financial support from Charles, even 170 years after Darcy’s era): “Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?” (YES. Every wife has the right, and indeed the obligation, to such a simple expectation, that her husband would keep the vows he made.)

      As you noted, this issue is a major hang-up for me. I don’t believe one’s morals ought to be dictated by their culture or societal expectations and allowances, though of course I acknowledge their tempting influence upon all of us. In other words, just because society allowed men of that era to get away with such destructive behavior doesn’t make it right. God is very clear about His expectations of each of us, and those expectations are for Our own good, not for the sake of ruining our enjoyment of life. Thetefore, my opinion is that just because a person is a bachelor who hasn’t made any vows to a woman yet, doesn’t mean he is off the hook about his tomcat behavior. Moreover, my experience is that men who are womanizers before marriage, with firmly ingrained self-centered behaviors and sense of entitlement, will be womanizers after marriage. Once such flesh patterns are deeeply imbedded in one’s psyche, one will have no problem coming up with excuses to continue such behaviors after marriage, as Prince Charles demonstrated so well.

      And I do view the mistress setup to be an extraordinarily selfish institution. To take from a woman her affection and chastity, virtually the only coin possessed by an impoverished gentlewoman, without repaying her with protection and respect is a stunningly self-centered act. How can a man claim to love a woman while displaying so little regard for her reputation and future? When children are brought into the equation, it is even more monstrously cruel, particularly in a culture such as that of the regency era. Even King William IV’s illegitimate children (the FitzClarences) suffered for their parents’ lack of marriage. For someone of Elizabeth’s station in life, the moment their paramour lost interest (or the funds to support a second family), the mistress would likely find herself downgraded to a common prostitute, with her children begging in the streets. A woman of the 19th century could only secure a good future for herself and her children while in the full bloom of her youth. As age sets in, and her chastity, reputation and connections disappear, upgrading her situation would never be a possibility, now that she had even less to offer. Things could only go downhill for her from there, if her youth and beauty had only managed to buy herself the role of a mistress. I see no praise in any man who would choose such a path for a woman he claimed to love, to say nothing of their children.

      • Glad you liked my comment. I hope you don’t mind a bit more chatter going towards you again.

        I hadn’t heard about that line from Prince Charles. Perhaps not the most comforting argument for his behavior. What is interesting is there seems to be an extent of behavioral patterns skipping generations in the royal family, George III was famously strict in his personal behavior. And then passing laws that required all of his relatives to get his permission before marrying, because he didn’t like the people they tended to marry.

        Past behavior does strongly predict future behavior, though obviously there are cases where people actually change enormously and permanently. With the novel I just finished I went to a great deal of effort so that it was very clear that Darcy would be very likely to be faithful, despite his sexual past. Basically dishonesty is deeply repugnant to him, while having completely consensual sex outside of marriage with one person at a time who he likes and who he knows actually likes him isn’t. In other words he thinks what a majority of people think today.

        Which makes me uncomfortable for a different reason, I worry when I start making the character somewhat too modern and have him behave and think in a way that is too easy to approve of. And while I like what I call protagonist blobs who just do everything right, I kind of disapprove of that preference. I think I’m a lot closer to that Roswell writer for whom a happy couple is a boring couple.

        I generally lose interest in books that go on for a long time after the romantic resolution. Once the couple is happy and know they are in love, I want a bit of watching them have fun for maybe 20-40 minutes of reading, and then done. Exceptions exist, of course.

        This is perhaps slightly defensive, but you might find how I’ve thought about making Darcy have past mistresses interesting.

        The religious aspect of it was something of a real problem for me in writing this novel. I’m an atheist, but I grew up as an evangelical Christian and my attitude towards religion has always been an important part of my identity and about how I think about sex and other issues.

        For obvious reasons, given that about a third of my potential audience is like you, I don’t want to bring my nonbelief into the story as a major plot element, but at the same time because of how I think, if keeping a mistress is a major plot point I need to figure out what Darcy thinks about the religious aspect of the question, and because he will need to have something to say about it when he tries to talk Elizabeth into accepting his dishonorable offer. Which doesn’t work, of course.

        I really think it is possible for having a mistress to be consistent with a sincere concern for the woman’s well being. Darcy believes the idea there is nothing fundamentally bad about having sex outside of marriage. Which again is the modern point of view, but also something which had plenty of intellectual defenders then. I did research on that.

        So Darcy thinks that if he leaves a mistress in a better social, material and personal situation, he did not harm her. His idea is that he always needs to treat others as he would wish to be treated himself, and that if he follows the golden rule he has fulfilled his true moral obligations. With enough money given to a poor enough woman it is easy to permanently improve her material position, and my reading of the actual historical period says that some sort of respectability was much more broadly defined and easily recovered than a lot of Regency fiction suggests. The story of Mrs. Armistead and Charles Fox was rather present in my mind while writing this.

        The way Darcy saw the situation in this was that neither he, nor anyone else worth marrying would marry Elizabeth, because of the sister married to a blacksmith, and hence he was offering her something which would lead her to having a better, ie more fun, secure and fulfilling, life than she would have as a penniless dependent of an uncle (Mr. Phillips) who is a quite unpleasant character. It is one of the possible defects of how I think personally that I conceive of security to a large extent in terms of having enough money to not worry about having the culturally defined necessities of life.

        As for children, I really see the obligation as ensuring that they are well established in life, not that they are established as well as a legitimate child would be. Just like I don’t think someone in system with primogeniture did something wrong by having a second son, even though the first one will have a much easier life. So long as the second son has provision made to let him live a fulfilling life, the moral obligation is fulfilled.

      • Gioia says:

        I love all the thought and research you have put into this! I do absolutely agree with you that in romance stories, once the couple is together, the story can grow tedious when it goes on and on with nothing new to further the plot, and therefore justify a long extension of the story. (Although, much to my frustration, I ran across the flip side of that dillema yesterday. The book I was reading had a happy ending almost entirely resolved for the characters, only for it to all fall apart in the last few pages. I feel quite victimized by that abrupt reversal of fortunes. Woe is me! I was betrayed by a novel! 😉 )

        It’s very interesting to hear your thoughts on the character motivations, and even the influence of your own background. One aspect of pre-20th century, western civilization literature and culture which drives me batty is the assumption that any good Englishman/American/Anglo is automatically a Christian. It’s not the hindsight perspective (I.e., when I, as a 21st century gal study that era of western civilization) which is most annoying to me; it is the fact that our forefathers seemed to equate being a gentleman or lady with being a Christian. I’d like to blame that assumption on the failure to separate church and state in Europe, such as in England, where the head of state is the head of the church, and therefore being a good subject of the King/Queen also meant being a follower of the monarch’s faith. However, we all know that, even to this day, many people believe that being an American = being a Christian. So, I can’t blame Europe’s governmental relationship with organized religion for those assumptions. Did all that make sense?

        My point being, you make some very good, logical observations in explaining the thought process and beliefs you bestowed upon your Darcy. Just because your story is set in the early 19th century, I ought not to assume that Darcy is going to have a religously conservative opinion on this topic. In fact, it has often struck me that in spite of Jane Austen’s own faith and family background, there is no evidence that Darcy or the Bennets were any more religious than the standard cultural expectations dictated. With all that in mind, I can see how your Darcy would not view the mistress scenario as I do, nor have the selfish motivations I referenced, even if it still is terribly bothersome to me, personally.

        I’ve enjoyed our discussion! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me, and especially to broaden my mind with a POV I hadn’t considered. Grazie mille!

      • If my saying something else gets tiresome, do tell me. I really have been meaning to start a blog to regularly post stuff about writing and JAFF so I have a place to talk about it, but my urge to write something usually comes in response to something someone else said, rather than popping out naturally, and I’ve been a bit too focused on my current books.

        I also find it really, really annoying when a book ends too abruptly. When I was finishing my first book I literally took out Emma and counted how many pages were between when Knightly and Emma became engaged and the end. It was about 10% of the text, usually I end up with my ends being a little bit shorter, but 7-8% of the book should be the warm and fuzzy afterglow.

        It is also weird what stories need an afterglow and which don’t, I’ve been reading a bunch of Georgette Heyer novels lately (a huge number of them with audiobooks are in Kindle Unlimited because Amazon has the digital rights, if you are a subscriber and interested in her fiction). Despite being the ‘inventor of the regency romance’ her books really are comedies with no real creation of the sort of warm romance glow you get from excellent proposal scenes. They are very funny though.

        So your comment made me realize it doesn’t bother me at all that about half of them end right when the characters resolve their romantic problems, since the main power of the story wasn’t the warm and fuzzy feeling, but a hilarious joke sequence. Also as a writer I find it interesting that I can really enjoy her books despite there being thin overarching plots, a strong preference for the first 5-10% of the book to be a long ‘as you already know’ discussion to set up the situation, and half the scenes usually being pretty flat. But as a reader I tend to remember how funny the best joke was, and judge the book based on that.

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