Story: No Finer County
Author: Heather F (Quill)
Story URL: Story Link 1
Alternate URL: Story Link 2
Word count: 13,900
Summary: Charles Bingley did not lease a house in the country and Fitzwilliam Darcy was unable to visit Lady Catherine the following Easter. Therefore, when the Master of Pemberley arrives home to find a young woman visiting with her Aunt and Uncle, he knows that they have never met before, yet she leaves an indelible impression upon him.
This fic is a beautifully paced and not too overly-optimistic depiction of what might have happened had Darcy and Elizabeth not met till she toured Pemberley. I liked the ending, in particular, because the author didn’t try to resolve the entire story. It’s merely an example of how the story as a whole might’ve had a different prologue. Very nicely written.
My only critique: It’s somewhat implausible to me that Darcy would be so nice to strangers on his property without the Hunsford heads-up. But then, most AU fics require willing suspension of disbelief.