Story Title: Nature of the Beast
Author Name: Autumn D
Category: Pride & Prejudice
Story Url: Story Link (Excerpts posted HERE)
Content Rating: All Ages
Length: 180,857 words
Story Summary: Darcy has only had a few months to learn to control himself as a werewolf when he accompanies Bingley to Netherfield, where he meets Elizabeth who has strong magic with plants and animals, and Wickham, the werewolf who turned him.
I tend to use the JAFF (Jane Austen Fanfic) Index to find new stories, which means it is rare for me to find a completed story in this fandom unless it is listed there. Thus, I was delighted to stumble upon a completed story at DWG which is not yet listed at the JAFF Index, as it would have been easy, and a great shame, for me to have missed this story.
“Nature of the Beast” is set in a fantasy world of magic and werewolves which is blended seamlessly with Pride and Prejudice. (That organic blending reminds me a great deal of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, though there is no borrowing of any elements from Novik’s universe.) In this story, magic is such a natural, accepted part of the world, that it goes unhidden and there is no attempt to disguise its effects from those around. Elizabeth’s gifts, for example, give her the ability to connect with plants and animals, making her a huge asset to the local apothecary, who looks to her for the magically strengthened plants he uses in his concoctions. Werewolves, however, are not an accepted part of society, and are in fact ruthlessly hunted. And while Mr. Darcy may be accustomed to being hunted by mercenary women wishing for a wealthy husband, he is certainly not accustomed to being a second-class citizen, fearing for his very life should anyone discover his secret.
“Nature of the Beast” follows the plot of P&P very closely. I need to do a detailed comparison at some point, but at a glance it appears to be as close to a chapter-by-chapter match-up as is possible, given the obvious differences that are made in the plot by the existence of this magical world. (Elizabeth and Jane are at Netherfield in Chapter 8 of both stories, Elizabeth is at Hunsford in Chapter 15 of both stories, etc., etc.) I’m quite impressed by that synchronicity, particularly as the author manages to accomplish all of this without forcing a lot of unnecessary, repetitious information at us. This is not merely Pride & Prejudice & Werewolves, it is a wholly fresh, new story in the best of ways, while still remaining true to the structure and spirit of Jane Austen’s book.
I must again beg forgiveness from the author, as I’m not able to do a full story rec at this time. Suffice it to say that this story was riveting, beginning to end, deeply introspective and character-centric, and an absolute blast to read.
My Only Critique: It moves a tiny bit slow in the middle, but picks up pace pretty quickly. Since it is following the original P&P plot so closely, anyone who likes P&P shouldn’t have a problem with it. It certainly didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all, as I rather liked climbing inside the characters’ heads so thoroughly, thanks to the deep introspection that occurs in those middle portions.