Story Title: Tact: A Pride and Prejudice Variation
Author Name: Jeannie Peneaux (PersephonePenguin)
Category: Pride & Prejudice
Story Url: Story Link (Tactful Series sequels on AO3)
Content Rating: All Ages
Series Status: Open. Includes 1 novel-length story (Tact), 2 one-shots (Turned Out Well and Undercurrents), and 1 novel-length WIP, Tacked.)
Length: 83,869 words
Story Summary: Elizabeth Bennet is blessed with tact.
I’m crazy for this series. There are too few authors in the Jane Austen fanfic (JAFF) community as it is. There are fewer still who have such a creative mind, entrancing plots and characterizations, and the skill with which to wield such gifts.
To give you an example of how invigoratingly creative this author is, make note of the fact that the character of Mr. Collins is not actually repulsive. I think this may be a first for me. I can’t recall ever seeing any authors attempt such a feat, much less pull it off believable without totally re-writing Mr. Collins’ characterization and/or background. But PersephonePenguin manages to stick to canon’s foundation while creating circumstances in which we can see Mr. Collins grow into a more likable character of worth (although still not actually someone with whom I’d want to hang out).
I had originally expected this story to be similar to “An Endeavour at Civility” by Jennifer Ray, an MIA story I’ve long admired. However, I was very wrong. This is quite different. In Jennifer Rey’s story, Elizabeth is making a one-time attempt to be courteous during Mr. Darcy’s disastrous proposal. In this story, Elizabeth has, from a young age, striven to be kind and tactful with her words. As Elizabeth has never been a purposefully cruel or caustic person in canon, this change is far more nuanced than I originally expected. Lizzy doesn’t lose her sharp wit. She simply makes it a goal in all of her interactions to give thought to the other person’s feelings, and tries to use her words to not merely amuse herself, but to uplift the other individual. So, while much of canon remains the same, the biggest difference is in the relationships Lizzy has with those around her, not with the basic facts of the canon P&P.
This author is deserving of far more honor and accolades than either I or the small JAFF community can provide. Do consider diving in, regardless of your previous awareness of Pride & Prejudice. This series requires no such knowledge in order for one to thoroughly enjoy the tale.
My Only Critique: There are a handful of minor typos; very minor, and very few. They should not interfere with one’s ability to enjoy the story, as they are typically errors of punctuation, not of grammar, which I, personally, find more distracting than something as little as a missed apostrophe.