Story: As Fate Would Have It
Chapters 1-7: Story Link 1
Chapters 8-9, Epilogue: Story Link 2
Word count: 19,200
Summary: A fanciful short story where Elizabeth answers Darcy’s letter.
I’m not sure how I missed recommending this story previously. I’ve long considered this one of the best novellas I’ve read in the Jane Austen fandom. The story begins as the summary states, with Elizabeth answering Mr. Darcy’s letter shortly after Hunsford. From there the “what-if” plot diverges from canon in the best of ways, with a much earlier resolution to their romance as misunderstandings are swept away while they have the time for a slow, romantic courtship.
What really sets this story apart for me, though, is the beautifully fluid, lyrical love scenes. I’m not speaking solely of the scene which earned the fic its mature-rating, though that was one of the most gorgeous love scenes I’ve ever read. Peppered throughout this story are a few moments of unresolved sexual tension which, rather than being merely titillating, are so poetically written, and so absolutely saturated in a sense of cherished devotion, that those moments feel like a whisper of the divine. And when we finally reach that big scene – Oh! the beauty! There’s nothing gross or shallow or carnal about that moment. It’s so sacred, so gorgeously described, that I am reminded of the passionate, gentle love depicted in one of the most beautiful books of poetry in the Bible, Song of Solomon, particularly verse 2:16, in which that author says much as Elizabeth Bennet does in this fic: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”
My only critique: The link to the 2nd page of the story is broken, thus the secondary link up above.