My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A very nice story with two major variations from canon: Darcy must travel to America to retrieve his cousin Bianca who has just become widowed. As the Earl is very ill and possibly dying, Colonel Fitzwilliam and his brother the Viscount cannot leave him to go for their sister, so Darcy is called upon to assist. While traveling in Derbyshire, Elizabeth falls and is injured at Matlock. Although unable to travel, Elizabeth and the Gardiners wish to leave due to the Earl's illness and his family's need to focus on him. Georgiana and the Colonel invite Elizabeth to stay at Pemberley until she can travel home to Longbourn.
So, while Darcy is on this very long voyage to America, Elizabeth is laid up at Pemberley and becoming very good friends with Georgiana. Her uncle must travel immediately to London for business, but her aunt stays with her. Darcy had sent a note to Bingley regarding his absence and requesting the Bingley and Hurst families postpone their visit. Unfortunately, the letter is mislaid and the Bingleys arrive. Hearing Elizabeth is injured, Mr. Bennet and Jane make the trip to Pemberley not knowing the Bingleys will be present.
Meanwhile, Darcy has found Bianca and discovers she has already set her cap for him as a replacement for her late husband. In his rush to leave the country before war breaks out with the British, the two must travel with their servants on a less than desirable ship, and in very close quarters.
Both of these stories have a ton of little intrigues, misunderstandings and slip ups. Georgie and Lizzy are very soon on nickname basis, and Georgiana is certain Elizabeth means much to her brother. The Bingley sisters are their usual nasty selves while Bingley and Jane are overjoyed to renew their relationship. Darcy is figuratively batting away Bianca while the ship, whose crew does a bit of smuggling on the side, is heading to England while hoping to avoid both the British navy and pirates, as well as storms, rats, bad food and questionable sailors. Everyone and their brother, including Mr. Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Lady Matlock, Bianca, Ann de bourgh, etal have their suspicions about Darcy and Elizabeth. It seems our dear couple are the only ones who are not anticipating a proposal. Oh, and of course, Lady Catherine makes her appearance.
I knocked the story rating down one star because, all in all, it was a fairly predictable, however, entertaining and well-done variation. There is certainly enough here to keep one interested in seeing how this original story line plays out, although the resolutions are not too surprising. Definitely worth a read.
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