Story Title: Claims of Duty
Author Name: Rosie J.
Category: Pride & Prejudice
Story Url: Story Link (last few chapters HERE temporarily)
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: All Ages
Length: 43,700 words
Story Summary: A chance meeting in Ramsgate changes everything for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
During this dark and difficult time of my life, I find myself clinging to the books and stories with which I’m already familiar, or which I know will be “light and pleasing,” if I might purloin the phrase and misuse it a bit. Thus it is a rare thing for me to attempt a new story. I’m so glad I took the chance with “Claims of Duty.”
I’ve seen other arranged/forced marriage stories in which the author explores what Elizabeth would’ve been like at a much younger age. This is the first story I’ve encountered that truly explores what it would’ve been like for both Elizabeth and Darcy to have been married at a younger age. It isn’t just Elizabeth whose personality and behaviors are affected by her youth; Darcy, too, is impacted. He’s only been master of Pemberley for a year at this point. The burdens upon him are still great, and his fears and worries are still visible. Moreover, he hasn’t yet been out in society enough to have built up quite the same walls, though that doesn’t mean he’s Mr. Exuberance. Far from it! He’s still very much our Mr. Darcy. But his sense of reserve is based more on the burdens he carries and his fears about stepping into his father’s shoes than his hatred of society’s mercenary eye upon him.
I love the fact that the author managed to write a fluffy, low-angst story, while still honestly showing both the journey Elizabeth and Darcy must travel as well as the hurdles that their reduced experiences and maturity levels must bring. The way Elizabeth handles Lady Catherine, for example, is very much an in-character, accurate-feeling reflection of her youth.
I cannot praise this story highly enough for the author’s creativity and ability to take a new spin on this old, familiar tale. Her characters seemed so very true to canon, even though they are uniquely her’s.
My Only Critique: This is another story in which it’s hard to find anything to criticize. Either the author had a great beta, or she has a great talent for self-editing. I think I caught one possible verb tense agreement issue. Maybe. There’s definitely not anything here that would hinder anyone’s enjoyment. “Claims of Duty” is beautifully written.