‘Oxford Cottage’ by Leenie Brown

Witty Elizabeth and Darcy being set up by their match-making fathers and uncles? A new idea that works.

Leenie Brown sets our beloved characters in a whole new setting  and plot. What if Mr. Bennet was friends with Mr. George Darcy, Fitzwilliams father, and they along with Mr. Gardiner and Lord Matlock, Colonel Fitzwilliams father, arranged for them to meet and form an attachment? When Lizzy was in Pemberley at a very young age she surprised Lord Matlock with her wit and he saw her as a potential bride for his nephew Fitzwilliam, evaluating their characters and situations. But not until they had time to become their own person. It ought to be their choice. So the plan was set in motion by the four above mentioned gentlemen. Elizabeth grows up visiting the Fitzwilliams, who fear her wit and anger should they try to tease her. There are hilarious scenes that show you not to mess with her. Yet she and her intended never meet.

Years later Fitzwilliam Darcy arrives in Hertfortshire to assist his friend Mr. Bingley at his estate Netherfield Park. He is directed to Oxford Cottage where Elizabeth, Jane and Mary learn the way of managing a household. Mr. Bennet arranged their training and the meeting.

They connect at once and there is sweet banter and Lizzy and Darcy forming an attachment is steady and not under Meryton’s observation. It was nice to see no drama there as much as I like misunderstandings adding to their story.

But there is drama. Georgiana and Mrs Young join Oxford Cottage to take part in the training. So no soujourn in Ramsgate but Mr. Wickham appears nonetheless. He and Mrs Young are behind duboius occurances and Colonel Fitzwilliam is investigating the case of missing girls.

Lizzy and Georgiana get taken hostage to blackmail Darcy for a fortune. But they didn’t know who they are taking. Lizzy is no easy hostage and makes it difficult for them to reach their goal. Don’t mess with Lizzy!

All in all a refreshing Pride and Prejudice variation with widely unexplored plot ideas, at least as far as my Jane Austen Fanfiction experience goes. Thank you Miss Brown for a nice summer read.

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