My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The title "A Remedy Against Sin" must have been selected with great care by the author, Christina Morland, as the title is very appropriate to the story. The general theme appears to be how lust caught up several of the major characters in the story and how marriage was the remedy.
As others have pointed out, the reader should be aware the sexual relationship of Darcy and Elizabeth is a critical factor in their relationship from the beginning. Chapter one is their wedding night and it is quite pivotal to the story - lusty and passionate with feelings of guilt and shame.
You see, lust is what has brought them into marriage, not love. Having been caught out in a minor compromise, Elizabeth and Darcy choose marriage as a remedy for the scandal affecting the Bennet family. However, within the marriage each continues to feel a sense of disgust with themselves that they are unable to communicate effectively with each other during the daylight hours, yet are able to passionately express themselves at night. Elizabeth continues to choose to misunderstand her husband's motives, while Darcy continues to withdraw when facing strong emotion. But, at night their physical attraction for each other is strong enough to bring them together, and each feels they are taking advantage of the other. They sense, but are unable to fully recognize the physical relationship is the true reflection of their feelings for each other.
What I found fascinating in this variation was how the physical passion of the women plays such a critical role in the story. Elizabeth and Georgiana keep secrets from each other because of the shame they experience connected to their "wanton" feelings. It is many months after their marriage that Georgiana is made aware of the compromise that brought about her brother's marriage to Elizabeth, and it is only after Lydia's scandal that Georgiana is capable of explaining what happened at Ramsgate to Elizabeth. A critical conversation has Elizabeth expressing her belief that women experience similar physical desires to that of men, but are not prepared in the same way to expect or recognize them.
Another factor in my enjoyment of this variation was a Darcy that changed, somewhat, due to his love for Elizabeth, but who stayed true to his character. He continues, right up to the end of the book, to be the stoic, taciturn Master of Pemberley. Yet, we have come to love him as Elizabeth has, for the man that he is and not that she wishes him to be.
I am puzzled that other reviewers felt the story petered out at the end, when from my perspective we were able to see how the lust of Darcy and Elizabeth has now fully blossomed into a love and friendship that allows them to laugh and joke about their compromise. What has happened to Georgiana and Lydia is very revealing to Elizabeth, especially. This seems to me to be the whole point of the story, and the ending chapters showing their relationship through their conversations resolves the book in a revealing and satisfactory manner. What they share together is not revealed to others. It is the same passion they share for each other privately at night that they now express in their laughter and love during the day. The marriage is whole once they realize they have nothing to be ashamed of and no longer need to feel guilt. The marriage has indeed become the remedy against sin.
I have to say I found this to be a massively satisfactory variation with a unique outlook towards marriage. It was beautifully written and contained just enough stress and angst to make the story complete. It could use just a bit more proof reading, but this was not enough of a factor for me to mark down the stars. This relationship is believable and beautiful. I highly recommend "A Remedy Against Sin" to all JAFF lovers. Those who do not like to read of the physical relationship of these characters may just come away with a new perspective. This is one case where the sex is not gratuitous - it is a major factor in the storyline.
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