Last year, I read a short Jane Austen F/F story, Her Particular Friend by JL Merrow (and wrote about it here). I was surprised by the ship: I could never imagine Mary Crawford and Susan Price from Mansfield Park ending up together, but it worked really well.
So when I stumbled upon Lucas by Elna Holst, also a F/F Jane Austen fanfic, I thought Why not? I downloaded a sample and liked what I read, so I bought the whole thing, and I’m really glad I did. Lucas is Pride and Prejudice fanfic, and it’s about Elizabeth Bennet’s friend, Charlotte Lucas, who’s been married to the dreadful Mr. Collins for three years at the start of the book. Then a new lady, Ailsa Reed, moves to the neighborhood, and the connection between Charlotte and Ailsa is instant.
Lucas is written in epistolary format, as letters Charlotte addresses to Lizzy but never sends (if you read the story, you’ll understand why) and I love epistolary novels. There’s cheating in the story (which didn’t come as a surprise considering Charlotte is married at the start of the book) but although I usually don’t like cheating, I didn’t mind it here, because let’s face it: Mr. Collins is awful! But it is a romance after all, so there’s a HEA. A very interesting, unexpected HEA.
The story was very well written and I enjoyed it immensely. I warmly recommend it.
Her Particular Friend | Lucas
After I finished Lucas, I was in the mood for more Jane Austen fan fic, so I went on Goodreads and searched. (Also, I’ve learned the very useful acronym JAFF, meaning Jane Austen Fan Fiction. Much quicker and easier to write 🙂 )
And OMG, there are a lot of JAFF out there. A lot of it isn’t so great, but there are good stories to find if you have the patience to look, which I had.
I found two Pride and Prejudice variations, retelling Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s story, that I read and liked. Through a Different Lens by Riana Everly and Mr. Darcy’s Vice by Lin Mei Wei.
Mr. Darcy in Through a Different Lens is on the autism spectrum which explains his behavior. Lizzy recognizes it because she has a cousin (one of the Gardiner children) with the same problem, and she teaches him techniques that are meant to help him, that she learned by being around her cousin. The story is not a modern version, it’s still set in the regency era, so the words autism or Asperger aren’t used in the story itself, instead they are described as “different.” Through a Different Lens starts during Lizzy’s visit to Charlotte and Mr. Collins, before the disastrous first marriage proposal, and it follows all the plot points in the original novel, but altered to fit the idea of Darcy on the autism spectrum. It’s a lovely story and an interesting way to look at Darcy.
Mr. Darcy’s Vice tells the story of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Elias Bennet, because I had to read a M/M adaptation, didn’t I? It follows the plot points of the original novels pretty faithfully, but adapts it so the story fits a male Bennet. The story is told from Mr. Darcy’s POV, and I loved following his thought processes and his character development after this version of the disastrous marriage proposal (which isn’t a proposal ofc, because gay and regency). Elias Bennet is a delightful character and I thought the author had done a good job at adapting Elizabeth Bennet to Elias. I loved how the whole Lydia-Wickham situation was handled considering Elias being a man instead of a female without agency like Lizzy in the original. This, too, is a romance with a HEA, and a clever and believable one at that. I was very happy when I finished the story.
THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS | MR. DARCY’S VICE
Finally, I read a couple short, free fanfics over at AO3 that I wanted to share. They are both Sense and Sensibility variations, one M/F and one M/M, and neither of them were about a canon couple.
An Unexpected Attachment by umbrafix is the story of Elinor Dashwood and Colonel Brandon falling in love, which in my mind makes much more sense than Marianne and Brandon. Besides, I’ve always found Edward Ferrars a bit boring, so I’m definitely shipping Elinor and Brandon. It starts when Marianne is ill after having her heart broken, and tells a lovely story about their connection, about Colonel Brandon being attentive toward Elinor, and they live happily-ever-after, of course, since this is a romance after all. And yes, I imagined Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman as Elinor and Brandon from the 1995 movie the entire time I read the story, hence the picture above. Because, hello, Alan Rickman!! 😍
The last story is about an even more unexpected ship than the one that got me started on this whole journey; Mr. Willoughby and Edward Ferrars. It’s called Heart of Stone and is written by user Lessandra. The story starts after Mr. Willoughby has broken Marianne’s heart, and I never expected I’d like to see him redeemed because he really is an ass to Marianne, but this was a great little story about him and Edward Ferrars connecting and falling for each other. I found the way the story progressed very believable, and how being around Edward made Willoughby better himself. If you like redeemed scoundrels, this is definitely the story for you.
Phew. That was a long blog post. And I admit to having lots of more JAFF samples in my Kindle app, so who know, maybe there’ll be a part 2 of this blog post one day.
Tell me: have you read any JAFF? If yes, anything you’d like to recommend? 🙂
Oh, and of course I had to watch Pride and Prejudice on Netflix, too.