Story Title: Gardiner for America
Author Name: Rosie J.
Category: Pride & Prejudice
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Teen
Length: 82,670 words
Story Summary: Seeking a shakeup in Governor Gardiner’s troubled Presidential campaign, Will Darcy goes looking for a new spokesperson and finds Elizabeth Bennet.
“Gardiner for America” is such a fun story, I read it through twice before the story was finished. I had dreams about the characters. And thanks to this story, I’ve been re-watching The West Wing and re-reading certain passages from Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders. Since I enjoy the Jack Ryan plots, but detest Clancy’s bloviating writing style, that should offer proof of how much my imagination has been sparked by Rosie J.’s story, and the lengths to which I’ve been driven.
Comparing this story to The West Wing is probably the most accurate in terms of the general topic, the behind-the-scenes focus, and the chemistry and rapid-fire wit displayed by the protagonists. However, this story is focusing on the relationship that develops between William Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet during the presidential campaign of Margaret Gardiner. The West Wing tended to be focused on numerous characters at once while they were working in the White House. The heart of “Gardiner for America” is the relationship between two people; you won’t have to follow numerous plot threads at once. That approach is perfect for this story-telling medium.
The author does a marvelous job of naturally weaving in details that explain the process of a presidential campaign in America. That she can do this without subjecting us to a massive info dump is excellent. That she can do this without boring us to tears is even better. That she can imbibe it all with a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat sense of excitement is simply amazing. It’s far harder than she makes it look.
I’ve been debating with myself whether it’s the personal elements – the romance, dialogue, friendships – or the exciting setting and rapidly changing environment which make this story such a success. I honestly can’t say which. The story wouldn’t work without both sides being so solidly written. As it is, this is an amazing finished product. I suspect I’ll be returning to this story many times in order to re-read my favorite quips and scenes.
My only critique: The editing is superb. I only found one typo in the entire story. The only thing I can think of that may detract from one’s enjoyment of this story is the politics. The campaign featured in this story is that of a Democrat, so of course all the politics are discussed from that angle. However, the author does a great job of not focusing on the nitty-gritty of the politics. Honestly, I was periodically annoyed by remarks on The West Wing (particularly by Amy Gardiner’s character). I don’t appreciate certain representations of my beliefs. But Rosie J. never goes that route. The political issues aren’t hashed out, because there’s really no need to do so, as the characters already agree on their party’s platform. There’s criticism of fictional, conservative individuals (Will has a crotchety relative who is a conservative and a jerk), but I never felt that I, as a conservative, would be perceived as an ignorant monster by these characters. Let me emphasize again what a difficult job that must’ve been for the author. When one is trying to realistically depict a story set in the political arena, the truth is that everyone bashes the other side from behind the scenes. The fact that she could write a story set in just one political camp, make it feel natural and factual, while omitting anything that would offend a conservative, is quite remarkable. So, to sum that up, if you’re like many of my relatives who can’t enjoy The American President or The West Wing, it’s possible this story won’t be your cup of tea. If you care more about the plot and the characters than their politics, you’ll be just as in love with this story as I am.