How would you explain this if it happened to you?
Darcy By Any Other Name, a Pride and Prejudice variation by Laura Hile, begins at the Netherfield ball. Proud Mr. Darcy is determined not to fall in love with Elizabeth Bennet, who in the one dance they shared seemed to deliberately misunderstand everything he said. He watches her dancing with a bumbling man who is clothed like a parson. Darcy realizes the man is infatuated with Elizabeth and that the fool is the type of man she’s likely to wind up marrying, which Darcy sees as a shame, but unfortunately the way of the world. Then the parson approaches Darcy and introduces himself as Lady Catherine’s rector. He seems intent on insinuating himself on Darcy for longer than Darcy can bear. The supper interlude only irks Darcy more, with the Bennet family seeming intent on committing one impropriety after another, all but Elizabeth and Jane. Jane is oblivious, her attention all on Bingley, but Elizabeth is clearly embarrassed.
A Stone Folly and Inclement Weather
After Collins’ little speech about music, Darcy walks outside, to the old stone folly on the Netherfield grounds. He has had as much of the Bennets and their cousin as he can bear.
But Collins follows him out. Hoping that the cold and the threat of rain will soon drive Collins back indoors, Darcy holds his ground. But even with a cold wind blowing and lightning flashing, the obsequious Collins won’t leave. He stays, even after Darcy insults him, and when Darcy also seems to insult his own aunt, Collins chastises him, even while the rain begins to fall. They argue, and then lightning strikes the stone folly.
The two men waken in the wrong bodies.
A Profound Study of Love
This story could have been written in many different ways. The premise might seem so absurd as to beg for comedy. There is some humor. And yet, the author manages to make it a rather profound romance, illustrating how true love sees beyond appearances, fortune, position. We fall in love with a person’s heart, with their character, even perhaps with their soul. At the same time, the story illustrates how the lack of appearance, fortune and position can make some people absurd, but others truly humble and able to show their strengths by other means.
But one wonders almost throughout the story how things will ever come right again.
It’s a long story, but well worth the journey, and the author does an excellent job of keeping straight whose point of view in which body we’re reading at any given moment. That aspect alone cannot have made it easy to write. I realized as I finished that I’ve enjoyed two other books by this author quite a lot as well. Well crafted, and highly recommended for anyone who enjoys Jane Austen variation fiction (also known as Jane Austen Fan Fiction, or JAFF).