Story: Mr. Darcy’s Angel of Mercy
Author: Mary Simonsen
Story URL: Story Link 1
Alternate URL: Story Link 2
Word count: 27,224
Summary: Darcy and Elizabeth have a brief romantic interlude in 1918 during the last year of WWI, but neither knows the other party. They meet again, but will they recognize each other? – Historical Short Story
WWI stories are particularly meaningful to me due to the impact that Great War had in my family. I have my great-grandfather’s letters, photos, and other items from his time in Europe, but it’s stories like this which really make it real for me. Of course, that could be Papa’s fault, since the war stories he told me in my childhood turned out to largely be M*A*S*H episodes. But in spite of his levity, the war had an enormous impact on our family, both among the doughboys and those who stayed at home.
Mary Simonsen’s story is a marvelous depiction of that era and how the war impacted everyone it touched. From the PTSD suffered by all involved, to the lack of marriageable men in England after the war, to society’s general behavior and often contradictory set of morals and expectations, the author manages to capture it all. Darcy and Elizabeth are both among the walking wounded in this story, just trying to keep breathing, while privately holding on to a brief moment of peace they each found during one of the blackest days of the war. I love the way they interact here. So much of canon is present in this story’s plot and characterizations, but there’s more to it than that. It’s a beautifully healing tale and it moved me to tears, even while leaving me grinning.
My only critique: Geez, I’m struggling to come up with something here. …Nope. I’ve got nothing.