Feb. 18th, 2013

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I fell down a hole of Pride and Prejudice fanfic recently, especially genderswapped Pride and Prejudice fanfic, after not really reading any fic since Yuletide (and doing a pretty poor job of reading Yuletide stuff too). I told [personal profile] caminante I would post some recs, so without further ado, here they are:

Genderswap

First Impressions by [archiveofourown.org profile] anghraine

A pretty straightforward AU where Elizabeth is a man, Darcy is a woman, and the plot otherwise runs along fairly familiar grounds. Enjoyable mostly because Henry Bennet and Catherine Darcy are both delightful to spend time reading about.
The young Miss Darcy did not deign to associate with anyone beyond a coterie of her own connections, bound together by ties so incomprehensibly convoluted that no outsider could hope to decipher them. Even the Bingley sisters, ambitious and often impudent with it, had not quite aspired to acceptance by the likes of Diana Howard and Catherine Darcy.


A Long Engagement, or the Improvement of Human Reason, as illustrated in the long and tortuous courtship of Edward Bennet, squire, and Philadelphia, Lady Darcy by [archiveofourown.org profile] hele and [archiveofourown.org profile] Tulina

The one where everybody is genderswapped--Elizabeth, Darcy, Bingley, Jane, their parents, their siblings, EVERYONE (except for Kitty and Lydia, who don't exist; the authors figured that if Mr. and Mrs. Bennet had three sons, they would likely not have so many children). As a result, this is very AU, and it takes a while to get into the flow of things (it was especially difficult for me to get my head around the switched Mr. and Mrs. Bennet). But the result was a delightful story, a long luxurious one where the relationship develops much more slowly; in the meantime it is made clear both that P&P is a difficult story to turn happy if all the affection is on the lady's side, and that your Regency England can be rather more expansive if your protagonist is male--both facts that made me a little sad, but were put to good narrative use.
Mrs Bennet was reading in the drawing room when they arrived, but she laid down her book. She was, Edward could tell, curious about their impressions of the newcomers, and seemed particularly eager to know what Mr Bennet had thought.

His enthusiasm knew no bounds. Miss Bingley! Her 20000 pounds! A lady of certain rank! Who was, indeed, a very handsome and young widow, if very proud and above her company; still, it lend the assembly a certain charm. Noble charm, no doubt.


Five Sons Mr and Mrs Bennet Never Had by [archiveofourown.org profile] biichan

What it says on the tin! A very fun little set of vignettes that genderswaps each of the Bennet daughters, one by one.
In fact, Bingley seemed to be quite enthusiastic at the prospect of introducing Darcy to John Bennet, having confided in him that Bennet was, in fact, "the best man I have ever had the experience to know." (He then reassured Darcy that he was a close second.)


Not Every Gentleman by [archiveofourown.org profile] hele

This one is hard to summarize. Longbourn is home to Mr. Bennet, his daughter Jane, and his son Edward, who strikes up a friendship with the new residents at Netherfield. Long and deliberate and careful, and it surprises you. The author warns that it's "problematic gender-wise," and while I found this a frustratingly vague warning to have hanging out there, I don't know how to improve it without spoiling things. It's a fascinating and ambitious piece of work, one that really stuck with me.
Edward shared an amused look with his father before continuing thus--
'Mr Darcy is very tall, very serious and very proud, and I am afraid that he disproves of me for some reason.'

'And, patently, you of him!' Mr Bennet cried. He observed Edward over the fingers of his crossed hands, and appeared to be excessively diverted. 'You have not even granted him half his friend's agreeableness, my son. Is he so very handsome that you begrudge him already the ladies' attention?'

Also, shout-out to this LJ post about a hypothetical different genderswap by [personal profile] lettered, though I don't remember how I found it.

Non-Genderswap
I think the above may in fact be all the genderswapped P&P fic there is to find, but here are a couple everyone-is-the-same-gender ones that I also liked:

In Essentials (much as it ever was) by Vangie (who has apparently gone on to a successful career writing romance novels under the name Tessa Dare)

AU in which everyone has had a slightly different summer before Netherfield is let: Elizabeth has already been to Pemberley, and Georgiana didn't make it to Ramsgate and never tried to elope with Wickham. Fun watching the relationships develop along different lines, while hitting most of the novel's major beats.
"Mr. Darcy of Pemberley in Derbyshire, allow me to present Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn, and her daughters."


Elizabeth could not retrieve the gasp of "Pemberley!" that escaped her lips, and she curtsied deeply in an attempt to hide both her blunder and her resulting blush. Unfortunately, even had Mr. Darcy himself been inclined to overlook her exclamation, Sir William was determined to pursue the topic.


Season of Courtship by [archiveofourown.org profile] anghraine

The only one of these which is entirely canon-compliant! It's set immediately post-canon and covers the span of Elizabeth and Darcy's engagement. There's not much plot but it's remarkably perceptive character-wise, and it gets more mileage and sensuality out of a Teen & Up rating than I've seen in some time. Also, it does a really good job of thinking about what marriage meant in that period (e.g. that the wife would give up her legal identity and seldom see her family) and portraying characters who have always known that's what marriage is and are lucky to have found a partner they trust. And it sketches in more of the Bennets' neighbors in Meryton. Quite a fair set of accomplishments for something billed as fluff.
“He may be a good master,” decreed Mrs Long, “but that doesn’t mean he will be a good husband. Say what you like about Eliza Bennet, but I pity her.”

The other ladies were fully prepared to follow her lead, but soon found themselves in a peculiar sort of quandary. It was difficult to pity someone who had no idea of her own misfortune. On the contrary - she seemed quite delighted with her situation in general, and with her betrothed in particular. She was absorbed in him almost to the point of incivility, talking to him when he was near, and inattentive when he was not. Her eyes often followed him wherever he went, with a peculiar intent expression that Mrs Long in particular found almost indecent.

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