Jane Austen Fanfiction with a Supernatural Twist
I am a big fan of Jane Austen fanfiction. In fact, when I was in nursing school a few years ago, I rewarded myself with a Kindle at Christmas, for which Amazon rewarded me with one month’s access to Kindle Unlimited. For whatever reason, I filled my subscription with Jane Austen fanfiction and read through books as often as I could (which isn’t easy when you are in nursing school!). So I have read many, many Jane Austen fan fiction books, from the absolute worst to some pretty amazing ones. And I am always on the lookout for a new book or a new author to satisfy that craving for Miss Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
This author is new to me, but I am delighted that I have found her. This book lived up to my expectations of what good Jane Austen fanfiction should be. It is just a little off from canon, which I always like. The language is elevated; I could hear some of the actors from the 1995 BBC production as well as the 2005 movie in my head as I was reading the dialogue. I always consider that a good sign. I liked the paranormal aspect of this one. One of my absolute favorite pieces of Jane Austen fanfiction is actually “Haunting Mr. Darcy,” by Karalynne Mackrory, which is unfortunately only available in paperback at this time. While this book by Ms. Vézelay is not humorous like that one, the paranormal aspect is still enjoyable. Mr. Darcy is a bit more forward in this one, and I found that refreshing. Imagine him asking Elizabeth for the first two dances at the Netherfield Ball right after the Bennet sisters meet Mr. Wickham in town; loved it! The book was refreshingly free from issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. I am a professional copyeditor, so these types of errors can really distract me and keep me from enjoying a story. I’m so glad this wasn’t an issue here.
I do have two quibbles with the author. One is that she refers to Lady Catherine as Lady de Burgh. She is the daughter of an earl, so her correct address would be Lady Catherine, I believe. Second, I would not call this novel Gothic. In fact in the blurb, she called it “sweet Gothic.” If you understand the term, no Gothic novel could be called sweet. For me, when I think of gothic fiction, I think of Wuthering Heights, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Frankenstein—and perhaps even Northanger Abbey by Miss Austen herself. This book is supernatural or paranormal, but I wouldn’t call it gothic.
But this minor categorization issue did not detract from the story, of course. I highly recommend it.