Story Title: Mrs. Reynolds Remembers
Author Name: Cheryl K
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: All Ages
Length: Short Story
Story Summary: Mrs. Reynolds updates her sister on the happenings at Pemberley.
I normally try not to recommend two stories in a row by the same author, but this was too sweet not to pimp.
I love stories which are told from an outsider or side character’s point of view. Watching my favorite canon protagonists through someone else’s eyes can be great fun, as the narrator attempts to muddle through the whys and wherefores of what was going on in canon. Mrs. Reynolds is a much beloved character among the Jane Austen fandom, and I’m as much of a sucker for her as everyone else seems to be. Thus, this story told through her eyes was immediately appealing to me.
Even so, I half expected the format (Mrs. Reynolds is writing a letter to her sister about how Mrs. Darcy entered their lives) to be so dry as to take away from the charm and excitement of those events. I was delighted to see that wasn’t the case. Mrs. Reynolds has so much of her own emotions invested into the Darcy family that it feels as if I’m watching the events of P&P with a particularly enthusiastic Darcy cheerleader at my side, rooting for Mr. Darcy throughout the highs and lows of his life. For example, upon hearing that Elizabeth Bennet had accepted Mr. Darcy’s proposal, Mrs. Reynolds writes:
“Miss Georgiana was so pleased she played the “Hallelujah” chorus on the pianoforte, and I very nearly sang along.”
Can’t you just picture that? Georgiana in her music room, enthusiastically pounding out the “Hallelujah chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, as Mrs. Reynolds joyfully slips through the halls, attempting to repress a huge grin? Cheryl’s writing style, even when filtered through the staid and composed Mrs. Reynolds, is so vivid and image-evoking that I certainly could see and hear that victorious moment! And I suppose that sums up why I love this story: Cheryl and Mrs. Reynolds make the romance of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth come alive.
My Only Critique: As a general rule, I try to come up with some form of critique for all of my P&P posts, that one may better trust the impartiality of my often effusive recommendations. However, it’s hard to stick to that rule when dealing with an excellent writer and a short story. At least with a novel-length story I can hope for the occasional typo to slip past even the most eagle-eyed editing process, thus giving me something to point to as proof of my detached objectivity. In cases like this, though, I’m left with only one thing to whine about: Please, ma’am, may I have another?