Story: Chance Encounters
Author: Linda (booknut)
Story URL: Story Link 1
Story URL: Story Link 2
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Story URL: Story Link 3
Word count: 245,800
Summary: After Ramsgate, Darcy is unwilling to leave Georgiana. Bingley decides that he will wait for Darcy to join him before moving into Netherfield. Darcy and Elizabeth first encounter each other in February, when she visits her aunt and uncle.
I had to re-write this review after reading Chance Encounters for the umpteenth time, as this is one of my absolute favorite novels based off of Pride & Prejudice. Plus, my original review was crap. 😉 (Actually, many of my initial reviews on this blog prior to February 2011 are similarly rushed, as mentioned on the FYI. I am so sorry about that!)
Chance Encounters is based in part upon the premise that Ramsgate was much more traumatic of an experience for Darcy than was reflected in Pride & Prejudice. Thus, at the time that this Darcy meets Elizabeth, he’s a much humbler, more grief-stricken man, and he does not at all behave with the haughty disdain that he displayed in canon upon their first introduction. Here, that initial introduction takes place in the theater in London, five months after it occurred in canon, where they are each accompanied by far better companions than they were at the Meryton Assembly. Swapping out the encouraging Colonel for Darcy’s canon arm-barnacle, Caroline Bingley, and the more modest Gardiners for the thoughtless Bennets goes a long way toward giving both Elizabeth and Darcy a more accurate understanding of the other’s character, while ridding them each of the distractions of frustrating companions and allowing them to focus upon their initial, positive impressions of one another in an unforgettable scene.
The story extends far beyond the initial meeting and very different road to romance. Chance Encounters is absolutely lovely. I must have read this story at least half a dozen times by the time of this posting, as it has quickly become one of those stories I refer to as the literary equivalent of comfort food. My attachment to this story isn’t due solely to the AU take on Elizabeth & Darcy’s meeting, introduction, and eventual courtship, though that certainly does help make this story great fun to return to time and again. However, beyond that it is the extremely well-plotted, very rich, detailed, adventurous, romantic, heart-wrenching, heart-warming, side-splittingly-funny elements of this story which make it such a favorite of mine.
I adore this published P&P story. If you like any of the above elements and don’t mind a tiny bit of a tooth-ache from the sweetness (Heaven knows my recs should make it clear that I’m quite the a fan of such stories!), then I’m positive you’ll love this as much as I do.
My only critique: Some may feel that there is some OOC (Out-of-character) behavior by the protagonists, particularly Darcy. However, I would point out that the circumstances in which Darcy and Elizabeth meet, as well as the circumstances of the preceding eight months, are all different enough to account for these changes, in my opinion. (And it’s quite obvious to me that those changes are deliberately written in to the story precisely because of those alterations in the characters’ recent history and circumstances, and so I’m tagging it that way since that’s something I love in stories – deliberate alterations in characterizations for the purpose of asking “What if..?”) However, if you really prefer stories that stick to the same, exact characterizations as in canon, this may not be the best story for you. Personally, I adore it because, beginning with Chapter One, we are treated to a Darcy who recognizes the kindness and lack of avarice in Elizabeth, who in turn recognizes in him a man who is suffering from both shyness and a deep hurt. That knowledge goes a long ways towards avoiding the kind of frustrating misunderstandings which were in their canon storyline (not that I’m critiquing canon, of course, lol!).