My Five Pride and Prejudice Re-telling Guiding Principles

When it comes to reading, I enjoy Regency era stories more than anything, especially Pride and Prejudice variations. I have read hundreds and rarely have I been disappointed. As many stories as have been written, there remains an infinite supply of those yet untold. All writers bring something unique, something special, to their stories. This is one of the reasons why being a part of the Jane Austen fan fiction writers’ community is immensely rewarding. Listed below are my guiding principles whenever I set out to retell the story of Pride and Prejudice.

Mr. Darcy, upon first impression, must be perceived as arrogant and haughty and showing a selfish disdain for the feelings of others. How hard is that? Is that not how Elizabeth perceived the man throughout most of Pride and Prejudice? So it is in all my retellings. Readers have an opportunity to regard him with circumspect, initially that is; the one exception to-date being He Taught Me to Hope: Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest. At least one of the story’s characters recognizes his kind-heartedness from the start.

~*~

       “What is this I see? Do brave knights cry?” Darcy removed his crisp, white handkerchief and wiped the lad’s tears away.

     “I do not feel much like being brave,” cried Ben, broken-heartedly. “You are my best friend in the world. You cannot leave me.”

He Taught Me to Hope: Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest, Chapter 7

Elizabeth Bennet is always witty, always charming, and always prejudiced in every retelling. Even when Darcy does not utter those famous words, “… not handsome enough to tempt me …” Elizabeth manages to find reasons not to trust him, to challenge him, or dislike him. Elizabeth is fiercely independent, she is stubborn, and she shows a willingness to walk away from a situation, even after she acknowledges her love for Darcy, if her beliefs are called into question.

~ * ~

      Elizabeth removed her hands from his. Speaking the words destined to cause both of them enormous pain, she continued, “If you love me half as much as you profess, I beseech you to let go of this undeniable hold you have over me. If you love me, let me go.”

He Taught Me to Hope: Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest, Chapter 15

~ * ~

You have finally convinced me that you are the most self-absorbed person I have ever had the misfortune of knowing and that you are the last man in the world to whom I would wish to be indebted.

To Have His Cake (and Eat It Too): Mr. Darcy’s Tale, Chapter 11

Conflict-ridden journey is the rule. Whether best described as angst, suspicions, mistrust, or misunderstandings; conflict abounds in my retellings. Darcy loves Elizabeth, but why? Was it always love or did it start out as infatuation, maybe even lust? Elizabeth falls in love with Darcy. Why did she fall in love with him? How does he prove himself to be a man worthy of her esteem? What obstacles other than a determined Lady Catherine de Bourgh do the two have to overcome?

In What He Would Not Do: Mr. Darcy’s Tale Continues, even as honeymooners, they must deal with family strife, Society’s naysayers, and discoveries from the past that threaten to tear them apart. In He Taught Me to Hope, though Darcy and Elizabeth acknowledge a mutual attraction early on in the story, the road to happily ever after is potholed right up to the end.

Chemistry or in other words, Darcy cannot keep his hands off Elizabeth. Throughout each story, one way or another, he manages to touch her. Often times, he does so without thought.

~ * ~

Equally captured by the moment, Darcy leaned forward and placed his hand along the small of Elizabeth’s back while he pointed out another view of Pemberley Woods, but only for a moment before he remembered himself and resumed his former stance. For so long, Darcy had dreamed of the occasion when he would bring Elizabeth to that spot.

To Have His Cake (and Eat It Too): Mr. Darcy’s Tale, Chapter 5

Other times, his actions are entirely innocent. What could be more innocent than Elizabeth’s first riding lesson?

~ * ~

“Please do not be afraid. This first lesson … all of your lessons will go smoothly.” Continuing to stroke the back of her hands with his fingertips, he said softly, “I will take my time with you. We will go as fast or as slowly as you wish. If at any time, you feel we are moving too fast … that I am rushing you … tell me to stop. And I will. I will stop. I want you to enjoy this.”

To Have His Cake (and Eat It Too): Mr. Darcy’s Tale, Chapter 5

Then there are times like these …

~ * ~

Darcy gingerly placed a light kiss along the corner of her mouth. He paused momentarily to take in her beautiful face. Her eyes closed, Elizabeth’s lush eyelashes and soft features mesmerised him. Her slightly parted lips were his undoing.

      He was utterly tempted to brush his lips affectionately against hers, when he remembered himself. He felt as if he were dreaming, being so close to the woman he loved. Beyond question, it was no dream. He adored her. He promised himself to protect her. I should not hold her in this way.

To Have His Cake (and Eat It Too): Mr. Darcy’s Tale, Chapter 9

~ * ~

     Darcy removed the pins from Elizabeth’s hair, freeing it to cascade down her back. He wove his fingers through her long, dark tresses and took in the delightful scent of lavender, before gently brushing her locks aside to find a most enticing spot behind her ear. “A se’ennight,” he whispered. The soft music of his voice sent tremors through her body.

He Taught Me to Hope: Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest, Chapter 22

Happily Ever After Conclusion …  Darcy and Elizabeth must always find their way to each other. The two belong together. End of story.

 

Originally posted February 4, 2012 – http://podixon.blogspot.com