Story: A Most Civil Proposal
Story URL: Rated PG Version (Chapters 1-21) – Rated Mature Version (All chapters –
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Word Count: 141,100
Summary: A central point of Pride and Prejudice is the incredible arrogance of Darcy’s proposal in Kent and the despair and mortification that Darcy and, to a lesser degree, Elizabeth undergo as a result of that event and its aftermath. That resulting shock was crucial in inspiring Darcy to examine his own motivations and behavior and to resolve to amend his interactions with others. Similarly, it shook Elizabeth’s similar but lesser prejudice, based on her wrong assumptions regarding Darcy’s character and her own pride in her insight, leading her to regret what she had rejected with so little thought. This story is a look at what might have happened if Darcy’s proposal had been a more considered, thoughtful, and civil proposal. Without that catastrophic evening at the Parsonage to drive change in both characters, the story considers whether Darcy can reject his pride and arrogance and if Elizabeth will ever correct the mistake in her estimation of Darcy’s character.
“What-if” fics are my favorite type of fanfic. I particularly love how this fic takes a favorite fan complaint (“Why couldn’t Mr. Darcy have been more polite during his proposal at Hunsford?”) and shows us precisely why that would not have necessarily been a good thing. As painful as that proposal and its aftermath was for both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, it was very necessary in order for them both to embark on their journeys of self-discovery. Colin does a great job of writing a canon-like representation of what might’ve happened if Mr. Darcy had been more gentlemanly that day. But what I particularly love is how everything pans out after the marriage. The impact of their marriage on various members of their extended family is wonderfully portrayed. And there was one moment when the description of how much Mr. Darcy loved and respected Mr. Gardiner brought tears to my eyes.
My only critique: This is not a story critique exactly, but I really do not like the pdf versions posted at AHA, because they are in a two-column layout that I find annoying to read on screen, as I have to scroll down and then up and then down again on each page. So it is irritating to me that there is no other option for reading this fic. The Rated PG version only goes through chapter 21, so I just read the story over at that link until I reach Chapter 22, then switch to the pdf version for the balance of the story.