One of the most fun and dramatic, if barely believable, tropes in Pride and Prejudice variations is the kidnapping. In these stories, the change in Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship is set in motion by one or the other, or both, of them being kidnapped—or, in the case of at least one story, one of them having done the kidnapping.
The situations can be harrowing, but the stress of the situation tends to bring out the best in each of them and often grants them time and space to come to a better understanding of each other and themselves.
Follies and Vices by Emily Russell
Summary: Lizzy accidentally sees Wickham and others in the act of stealing from Bingley during the Netherfield ball. The gang leader decides to kidnap her; Darcy happens to see what is happening and tries to stop it, but gets kidnapped, too. Darcy claims they are engaged so that they won’t harm Lizzy.
Review: An exciting story, full of adventure and intrigue and humor. Elizabeth was witty and brave. Darcy was warm and protective. Their understanding of one another changed in ways that felt natural. Interesting ending for Wickham. Good editing.
Darcy’s Journey by M. A. Sandiford
Summary: Post-Hunsford, disappointed at missing a trip to the Lakes, Lizzy has befriended the Italian wife of an English baronet and accompanied them to Venice. Now there is cholera in Italy, and no news has reached Longbourn for months, apart from a cryptic note handed to a stranger. Darcy sails for Venice, to find Elizabeth trapped in a romantic intrigue. She longs to return to England, but first he must pry her away from the Italian family and persuade her to join him on the long journey home. Meanwhile, Napoleon has escaped from Elba, throwing Europe into confusion as Britain and her allies prepare for another war with France.
Review: Wonderful use of history. Though the premise is a bit far fetched, the story is compelling, and I really liked the traveling they did, the characters they met and their growing attachment to each other.
The Letter of the Law by J. Dawn King
Summary: A codicil of elder Darcy’s will means if neither Darcy nor Colonel Fitzwilliam marry before Georgiana turns sixteen then Georgiana’s guardianship turns over to Lady Catherine. Now Darcy has 30 days to marry. He heads to Netherfield hoping to meet someone better than the ton—enter Lizzy. This version also has Lady Catherine as a smuggler, a kidnapping, and pirates. Different outcomes for a lot of the characters.
Review: A fun story that took an unexpectedly dramatic turn. Some scenes made me laugh out loud. Elizabeth seemed a little more hot tempered than in Austen’s original. Darcy was quite endearing. Different take on Bingley that I appreciated.
Darcy and Elizabeth—A Promise Kept by Brenda J. Webb
Summary: Five years after the events of P&P, but without P&P’s happy ending, Bingley is married to Jane, but he is ill. He asks Darcy to help. Lizzy has been working as a companion to a woman with an abusive husband. Lizzy kidnaps the child when the mother is killed and they’re all left for dead as the house is burned. Lizzy treats the child as her own, and goes to live with Bingley and Jane.
Review: There’s a lot to like in this story: misunderstandings, mystery, action, historical drama, murder plots, an evil villain, as well as new characters, romantic gestures and stolen kisses. The editing was excellent. My only complaints are that the end drags on too long, and some of the dialogue between Elizabeth and Darcy after they’ve declared their love is a little too mushy (for lack of a better descriptive word). But I still recommend it. It was a nice change to have Wickham no where in sight!
These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
Summary: Returning home from having secured the marriage of Lydia and Wickham, Darcy is kidnapped and sent overseas where he’s held captive and tortured. Meanwhile, the body of man of his same build is presented as his dead body, leaving everyone to believe he died. After being tortured, Darcy cries out in anguish for Elizabeth. He eventually escapes, but doesn’t know who to trust.
Review: Very dark—includes a scene of explicit torture.
High marks for the quality of writing (except for mistakenly calling the Atlantic Ocean the Pacific—oops!)
The mystery was involving and just convoluted enough to keep me guessing most of the time.
Interesting turn of events for Wickham.
To be honest I didn’t really enjoy this book—this is not what I come to Elizabeth and Darcy for—it was too dark. I’d rather read explicit sex scenes (though that’s not what I go to E & D for either) than explicit scenes of violence. I skimmed quite a lot of this book because I just wanted to see how things turned out, but it was too long and dark to read every word.