Mr. Darcy is found unconscious. Elizabeth sprains her ankle. Mr. Gardiner is attacked by highwaymen. Because of these injuries, and similar ones, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are given an opportunity to learn to see each other, and themselves, in a new light, bringing them to their “happily ever after.”
Here is a list of some Pride and Prejudice variations where an injury proves crucial to the growth of the main characters and sets them on their course to future happiness (As some stories use multiple tropes, books on this list might also be found on previous and/or future lists):
Speechless by Jessie Lewis
Summary: Post Netherfield and Pre-Hunsford, Mr. Darcy is traveling in winter near-ish to Meryton and has an accident. He wakes up snowbound, with a severe neck injury that prevents him from speaking, in an inn with Elizabeth tending him.
Review: I liked that though it was told in third person limited, it didn’t jump around to other characters, but stayed with Darcy. I have rarely seen this done and it was an interesting element to the story—I really felt the suspense and frustration along with Darcy.
Characterizations were all well done, the editing was excellent, and dialogue between Darcy and Elizabeth could be serious and playful (sometimes at the same time).
The Journey Home to Pemberley by Joana Starnes
Summary: Elizabeth goes to Lakes District with the Gardiners as originally planned, but they meet Darcy, who gets injured. As Elizabeth helps him recover, they fall in love. Once Darcy is well enough, they all go to Pemberley. When Elizabeth learns about Lydia’s elopement she wants to protect Darcy, so she doesn’t tell him, and she leaves.
Review: I really liked this variation. I liked that Elizabeth and Darcy talked to each other—at least initially and eventually. I liked the new character Arabella. I liked that the time of angst was relatively short from the readers point of view. And it was impeccably edited. My only complaint is that the part after the resolution and before the epilogue feels a bit overlong.
Falling for Mr. Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory
Summary: Shortly after returning to Longbourne after Jane’s illness, Elizabeth falls while out on a walk, only to be found, and aided, by Mr. Darcy. This seemingly simple interaction leads to changing attitudes in both parties sooner than in Pride and Prejudice. However, villains and obstacles remain.
Review: This variation had a very sweet “courtship” between Darcy and Elizabeth. It was a believable transformation of their feelings and change in their circumstances based on a small change to their original story. Wickham and Lady Catherine were perhaps worse than the original, but within believable bounds. I really liked the change to Mr. Bennett’s character—I’d love to believe this was true, but unknown, in the original. Overall a very enjoyable read.
A Hard Lesson Learned by Wendi Sotis
Summary: Post Hunsford, Mr. Darcy goest to the United States to fetch a cousin. Meanwhile, his private journal is accidentally mailed to Elizabeth who ends up at Pemberley recuperating from an injury while on vacation in Derbyshire.
Review: The characterizations were all good. Just the right amount of angst. Sotis did a great job building up the tension in scenes of impending confrontation—as when the Bingley’s unexpectedly arrive. I don’t know if this is a compliment or a criticism because in some ways I liked it, but in others it disappointed me, but I felt as if some things were set up to cause great conflict that ended up being easily resolved. Overall, I really enjoyed this story—character interactions were charming and the editing was well done, too.
An Odd Situation by Sophie Lynbrook
Summary: On his way to Netherfield to join Bingley and his sisters, Mr. Darcy falls from his horse and is found comatose. With no knowledge of who he is or where he belongs, he’s taken to nearby Longbourn where the Bennets care for him. Though in a coma, Mr. Darcy can hear everything, and gains insight and understanding of those around him as they speak freely, thinking he can’t hear them.
Review: Enjoyable read. It’s fun to see Darcy’s transformation as he learns more about his friends and the Bennetts. I only wish there were more dialogue—too much is told rather than shown, especially between Darcy and Elizabeth. I do love their alternate form of communication.
Disruption at Pemberley by Emily Russell
Summary: Traveling through Pemberley Woods at night after exploring the Peak District, Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, are set upon by bandits: Mr. Gardiner is injured and Elizabeth is nearly kidnapped, but Mr. Darcy, returning home early, happens upon the scene and chases the bad guys away. Mr. Gardiner and family are taken to Pemberley, where they remain while Mr. Gardiner heals.
Review: Real danger for Elizabeth makes this an exciting version, but the issues she and Darcy need to deal with remain and are handled well.
The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes
Summary: Elizabeth gets engaged to Colonel Fitzwilliam, just before Mr. Darcy comes to make his own proposal. Mr. Darcy leaves in despair. Col. Fitzwilliam struggles to defend his choice to his family, who withdraw funds from him, making it impossible for him to resign his commission, so he must return to the front where he is injured. He’s taken to Mr. Darcy’s house to recover, and Mr. Darcy brings Elizabeth and her father to Col. Fitzwilliam’s side.
Review: High Angst. This is a really good version—the moral dilemma of Darcy works well. My only complaint is it gets a bit tiresome to read over and over of Darcy’s anguish. I find it a little hard to believe that he would be so unable to exert himself to behave better towards his family and friends. Still—I liked this one because how slowly and believably Elizabeth realizes her mistake, and because the story doesn’t shy away from the consequences this entails.
Found in the Snow by Jaeza Rayleigh
Summary: To escape a nefarious cousin, G runs away into the snowy P woods where she is discovered near death by E who takes her home with her to her Great Aunt by marriage’s estate. Unable to say much, E & her GA won’t release G to D until she knows more. D is furious, says Hunsford proposal-like insults. GA tells him he’s a lot like the nefarious cousin.
Review: I’m not really sure how to rate this story—I like the story of how Elizabeth finds Georgiana, the rocky start E&D get off to and how they slowly (and with little angst) get to know and love each other. I also like the resolutions for Lydia and Anne—however, since they were not at all connected to the first part of the story, they have a slightly tacked on feel, as if the author just wanted to make sure there was a happy ending for everyone. Having said that, I did appreciate those storylines, even getting a little emotional reading Anne’s story (interesting interpretation of Lady Catherine as suffering something like Munchausen syndrome by proxy).
The writing is a bit stiff, and a little heavy on exposition and saying more than needs to be said. Yet it was an enjoyable story.