Story URL: Story Link 1
Story URL: Story Link 2
Word count: 84,640
Summary: How might things have been different if Mrs Bennet had died when she miscarried Lydia?
When Sharni was unable to finish this fic (last updated May 2009), Harvey S. asked and received permission to do a re-write and complete it. That version of this story, “Connections Redux,” is also recommended here on my blog. However, the re-write and original are sufficiently different from one another, that each deserves a separate rec based on its own merits.
The premise of “Connections” is that when Mrs. Bennet and Lydia do not live, Mr. Bennet is forced to take responsibility for his four girls and subsequently becomes a far more estimable man. We learn in the first chapter that he has re-married, this time choosing a wiser, more sensible woman of the first circles who bears him a son. As a result of the changes in his character and circumstances, the Bennet girls’ prospects are substantially increased. Thus the story asks the question: what if Elizabeth & Jane were just a bit wealthier (7,000 pound dowries per girl, and a brother as heir for Longbourn) and had connections as great as those of Mr. Darcy? How would that impact the perceptions of Mr. Darcy and the Bingley sisters?
The story is an intriguing mix of canon and very logical AU aspects. It was easy to become captivated by the plot, as the author merely follows these changed circumstances to their logical conclusions, keeping in mind the same basic personalities of all of the protagonists. The timing is altered in some areas, behaviors are altered in others, and the overall result is a story which is completely Austen-ish, and yet quite unique.
Although the story is considered MIA, it ends at a very natural spot. I actually would not have known it was incomplete if it had not been so marked. So there is no need to avoid reading this fic for fear of it ending on a cliffhanger.
“Connections Redux” is quite different from this fic, in that a third member of the Bennet household is missing (in addition to Mrs. Bennet and Lydia), another is added, and that OC (original character) has an involved history of her own which comes into play in the fic. But the primary difference is that the Mr. Bennet of Harvey’s story has used his talents as well as those of Elizabeth and Mr. Gardner to amass an enormous fortune. So enormous, in fact, that it makes the fic a tad crackish in that regard, even though I still greatly enjoyed it (as I’ve a fondness for crack!fic, and found the basis for that fortune to be intriguing). So if you prefer a fic that is closer to the world Jane Austen created, you might prefer this version of the story. Or, like me, you may find both fics are very enjoyable for very different reasons.
My only critique: At times, Sharni has a tendency to quote a bit too much of the canon text verbatim for my tastes. However, that may be a plus for many Austen-admirers, as it is an effective way of keeping the fic rooted in the original canon, rather than growing so AU that it is less a what-if approach to the original story and more a complete re-imagining of Pride & Prejudice.