Story: Up From the Ashes
Story URL: Story Link
Word count: 81,400
Summary: Elana Barnes needs to rebuild a greenhouse business that has fallen into disrepair so that she can start a new life for herself and her young son. Darien Stewart, owner of the neighbouring equestrian centre, is less than welcoming. He has wanted to buy her property for years, if only to rid the neighbourhood of the blight it is to the landscape. He is very insulting upon their first meeting but later finds himself irresistibly attracted, against his better judgement.
Great writing, interesting characters, and a believable story. I stayed up absurdly late (or early) reading this one night/morning and then did the same thing again a few months later! The first time I read this story, I fell in love with the author’s writing style and the creative way she brings canon-feeling characters into a modern setting. However, I was conflicted over a few angsty spots in the story. On my second read-through, I got over my angst phobia long enough to be struck with the realization of how brilliant those specific moments were. Sofie chose an extremely shrewd and inspired method of adapting the canon-story of Wickham’s involvement with the Darcy and Bennet families into a modern context. My epiphany moment in that realization was when it hit me that Darien (Darcy) and Elana (Elizabeth) were having extremely similar post-Lydia’s-elopement reactions at one point in Up From the Ashes, even though the scenario that provoked their reactions was quite different from canon.
My Only Critique: I was frustrated that the Darcy character never apologized directly for certain things he said to Elana in the Hunsford-ish scene. I know from other elements in the story that this isn’t the case, but it felt as if, by never having him specifically address how awful and hurtful his statements were, that he never truly overcame his pride. But I suppose Darcy never apologized any more directly to Elizabeth in canon.
Finally, I feel I should explain my reaction to angst lest those reading this review take my feelings as indicative of some fault in the story. I get so caught up in the emotions of a story that a good writer has the ability to turn me into a complete emotional basket-case. So while I’ll definitely say that there was slight angst and moderate frustration in this fic, I want to be clear that this isn’t a fault of the story; it’s just further proof that I’m pathetic in this regard!
As I always do with modern adaptations, this fic is marked as containing out-of-character (OOC) behavior. That is not a critique, but simply a tag to indicate purposeful changes in the characterizations due to the modern setting. E.g., fics in which Elizabeth as an independent, working woman or Mrs. Bennet is a former dancer, etc.