Story: A Little More Practice
Author: Sandy W
Story URL: Story Link
Word count: 57,600
Summary: The day after Lady Catherine critiques her musical performance, Elizabeth Bennet follows her Ladyship’s advice and commences practice on the piano in Mrs. Jenkinson’s room.
Another great story by this author! This is a sweet, novel-length fic which starts at Rosings before Darcy’s proposal. He and Lizzy get to know each other, and know what each thinks of the other, sooner than in P&P. Events progress a bit quicker as a result.
There are so many lovely aspects to this story which are deserving of praise, I hardly know where to start. I adore the bright moments of humor, such as when Miss Darcy relates to Miss Elizabeth the appellation by which Mr. Darcy has unconsciously, unknowingly, and quite publicly been referring to his Beloved, long before they met again at Rosings. Oh, how I laughed at the amusing picture Miss Darcy painted of the scene!
Another favorite element is the very tender, heart-warming, truly rich love which we get to see bloom between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. The author has a gift for describing these ardent emotions in tummy-tingling, shiver-inducing terms. That is not to imply, though, that the author took shortcuts through the natural angst that comes with resolving the differences between these two. Quite the contrary; those difficult emotions are described just as tangibly, and with real sincerity, as the happier feelings. In short, Sandy W. writes the romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth in such a realistic way that I fall completely in love with him all over again each time (and there have been numerous times) that I read this story.
Aside from the touching characterizations and emotions in this story, there are also some very interesting plot points which go beyond the alterations at Hunsford when Elizabeth chooses to practice piano in Mrs. Jenkinson’s rooms. Both Mr. & Mrs. Collins as well as all of the residents at Longbourn have interesting reactions to the prospect of Elizabeth becoming Mrs. Darcy. Mr. Darcy’s interactions with the younger three Bennet sisters were very well depicted and extremely satisfying. The sense of responsibility which Mr. Darcy feels for those who are even peripherally a part of his life is depicted in a way that would meet with Mrs. Reynolds’ warm approval. And I am particularly fond of how the Wickham situation is resolved in this story.
This story is tagged both as deviating from canon at Hunsford as well as deviating from canon pre-Hunsford. The reason for that is that the bulk of the plot alters most obviously at Hunsford, as stated in the story summary. Later in the plot, we discover that the author also diverged from canon in regards to a minor accepted fact (or at least assumption) about actions taken or not taken just prior to Hunsford. I greatly appreciate this additional alteration, as I think it helps add to the complexity of the story’s plot in the very best of ways.
My only critique: This complaint comes, perhaps, as no surprise given how picky I tend to be about what I rec. But I can’t help whining about how difficult it is at times to produce a critical element for my recs of stories such as this. When a fic has been very carefully edited and concisely written by an author well acquainted with the era, the characters, Jane Austen’s canon, and the art of story-telling and character-development, I am often left scrambling for something which I might critique! Oh, wait – I think that counts as criticism. There. I’m done.
Dec. 22, 2010 post was edited, greatly expanded, and reposted on May 03, 2011 after another read-through.