Story Title: It Started with a Kiss
Author Name: BethW
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: All Ages
Length: 32,600 words
Story Summary: How things might have progressed differently had Mr. Darcy left Elizabeth with no doubt about his continued affection upon finding her touring his beloved Pemberley.
Oh, how I enjoyed this story! It’s perfectly sweet and delightful, with enough dramatic tension and excitement to keep the story riveting, but not so much as to cause me to reach for the antacids due to angst overload. In fact, due to both the lack of angst and the lack of vapid blather, I think this story can best be described as character-driven fluff with a well-crafted plot.
When Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy at Pemberley, he is so caught up in his usual fantasy of seeing her at his home, that he forgets himself and greets her with a kiss. Although that premise may seem distantly similar to the opening of Kathy Taylor’s dramatic story, “His Wife,” Mr. Darcy is not suffering from hallucinations here, and he quickly comes to himself. Thus, all similarities between the two stories end there.
“It Started With A Kiss” continues with the courtship and growing friendship of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I loved the chance to see the couple come to know one another better as friends and confidants in addition to lovers. There is one scene, in particular, which stayed with me long afterwards. When Mr. Wickham is being his typical self, and Lydia is being her typical self, Mr. Bennet observes that Darcy is frowning unhappily. However, this time, Elizabeth is standing beside him, frowning as well. And while the oblivious Mr. Bennet doesn’t interpret their expressions and feelings accurately, it emphasized to me the idea that Darcy and Elizabeth now stood shoulder-to-shoulder in dealing with the ups and downs of their shared family. Rather than directing their irritation at one another, they stood united.
BethW does a marvelous job of writing an impetuous, passionate Mr. Darcy, while still keeping true to the era in which her story is based. A big help in that regard is how well she does in writing both the dialogue and narration using a Regency-esque speech pattern. I’m quite jealous of this skill.
I particularly enjoyed how the author addressed the issue of Mr. Bingley and Jane’s romance. In the end, the couple’s story is both more complicated and yet more straightforward than one usually sees. While Jane and Mr. Bingley’s situation is not the primary focus of this story, it is elaborated upon here enough so that it really fleshes out the entire story very nicely. The reasons for Mr. Bingley’s absence are revealed to be more than Elizabeth or Jane had realized, and Jane’s reaction to his return is fantastic. I love seeing Jane portrayed as something more than a vapid porcelain doll. Here, she displays a mind of her own and has some very logical expectations which need to be addressed.
My Only Critique: There are a few typos, but nothing significant, frequent, or such as would hinder one’s enjoyment. Having edited this short post several times since it was first posted, I can guarantee you that there are far more typos within this post than within all of “It Started With A Kiss.”