Story Title: A Case of Some Delicacy
Author Name: KC Derby
Story Url: Story Link (Un-beta’d/edited version)
Alternate URL: Story Link 2 (Final version. Register at this site to access the password HERE to the MRR [Meryton Reading Room])
Content Rating: All Ages
Length: 155,100 words
Story Summary: In this what-if story, Mr. Collins’ visit begins about a month earlier than canon, and what a difference that month makes! Since the Bennets have not yet met Mr. Bingley, Mrs. Bennet is nothing but encouraging for a match between Mr. Collins and her eldest daughter. Elizabeth cannot sit by while the happiness of her most beloved sister is sacrificed for the good of the family, but keeping Jane away from the fawning parson is a full-time job. Elizabeth receives help from an unexpected ally. The other Bennet sisters all play roles in the altered events in Hertfordshire as well, some of them in surprising ways. Eavesdropping abounds, secret partnerships are formed, matchmakers and matchbreakers run rampant and general hijinks ensue …
I must confess that this is another example of a fantastic story which I was initially afraid to read, because I feared that the story would be more angsty than my delicate, female sensibilities (*cough*I’m a total wimp*cough*) could handle. I was quite wrong. This is a fantastic epic-length fic, and I’m just thrilled to pieces to have discovered it in its completed format.
The story opens up a month after Mr. Collins has been in Hertfordshire, and 10 days after the arrival of Mr. Bingley & co. arrive at Netherfield. During the preceding month, Mrs. Bennet has been pushing Jane and Mr. Collins together, with just as little regard for Jane’s feelings as she had for Elizabeth’s in canon, when Lizzy was the one being offered up on a platter to Mr. Collins for the sake of Mrs. Bennet’s security. After a month of observing Mrs. Bennet’s behavior and Jane’s demure acceptance of it, and fearing what Jane might do for the sake of her family, Elizabeth confronts her father at the Longbourn picnic, just as our story opens.
The results of this confrontation are very exciting to see. Elizabeth says things so many of us have thought in regards to Mr. Bennet’s behavior and indifference toward his daughters’ struggles. What Elizabeth never would say to him on her own behalf, she is willing to say on behalf of Jane. And thus the entire P&P world changes. Mr. Darcy ends up with his eyes opened far sooner than in canon, as does Elizabeth in regards to him and to her own sisters. The sisters of Longbourn have a very different relationship in this story than in canon, one which I greatly enjoyed observing. The progression of Darcy and Lizzy’s relationship from a friendship to a romance is very sweet to see, too.
Overall, I cannot praise this story too highly for its carefully planned plot, the inspired alterations to canon in just the right spots, the insightful characterizations of both Lizzy and Darcy as well as many other side-characters (I particularly loved Lydia and Mary in this story!), and the author’s obvious gift as an extremely proficient writer. I will not be surprised in the least if this ends up a published novel.
Please note: the two tags for violence are for a very brief, quickly resolved situation. I do not think that it will be too upsetting to anyone. Even as angst phobic as I am, this wasn’t anything that distressed me, and it did not involve Elizabeth.
My only critique: I think I might have caught a couple of typos where words were swapped around within a sentence, but that’s the only thing I can think of. However, it’s more probable that I am mistaken about those few cases, as the sentence structure used in Jane Austen’s dialogue can often sound awkward to my 21st century ears. I suspect these weren’t typos, but were instead further examples of how well this author mimics Miss Austen’s voice. And Brava! to KC Derby for a fantastic job in that department. It is obvious throughout both this and KC Derby’s other fics that the author has done her homework in writing very historically accurate Regency-era fics, both in terms of the accurate dialogue, as well as all other aspects, such as the etiquette and social structure. I’m quite jealous of this skill.