on 16 July 2013
When I first read the blurb for this story I thought it sounded very... improbable. The idea of Darcy being brought so low by Lizzy's rejection and abandoning all care for his personal appearance and to sprawl around London, rather drunk, and then to be mistaken for a pirate all seemed a little... far-fetched. However, once I got past that and thought `why not', I really rather enjoyed this story, much more than I was expecting to. It was a story full of fast-paced adventure, amusing comedy and passionate romance.
Having Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley mistaken as the infamous pirate Lockerley, with his long beard and curly hair, and consequently thrown into jail was funny in itself, but then to have Darcy agree to impersonate this pirate in the hopes to catch the real Lockerley was even funnier! Imagining Mr Darcy agreeing to something like that is difficult, I grant you (especially given that disguise of every sort is his abhorrence), but it soon seemed like a perfectly normal adventure for Darcy to get involved with! It was a lot of fun, once he had agreed to this impersonation, to see Darcy trying to `forget' how to be a gentleman (and his "gentleman-like manner"!), walk with a much less graceful posture and learn to talk like a commoner!
Once Darcy was able to drop the Lockerley act, he still couldn't reveal his true identity (well, didn't want to - it would be a little embarrassing wouldn't it?) he adopted the character of a rather heroic and dashing Captain Smith. And it falls to this Captain Smith to rescue a certain Miss Elizabeth Bennet who has been taken hostage by pirates (three guesses which pirate!) who very quickly falls for this mysterious captain, whom she seems to recognise (I wonder why?). I can easily see why Lizzy would fall for Captain Smith; Darcy makes a rather magnificent pirate and there are some rather impressive sword fights (where Darcy's fencing skills finally come in useful!)
There were many clever quotes and scenes which are recognisable from the original story but put into a completely different context (such as Lady Catherine's disapproval of Darcy's actions (and not because of his choice of bride this time!)). As Lizzy does not recognise Darcy straightway (understandably!) there are a few scenes where previous meetings and conversations are referred to (such as the conversations at Netherfield and their dance at the ball) which was rather amusing to read and very clever at times.
And never fear Wickham was still in the story but the way in which Darcy comes to the rescue of Lydia is in a completely different way to the original and was a clever way to bring Wickham into the story I thought. Georgiana also makes an appearance and her relationship with Lizzy was sweet, if little seen and explored in this variation.
Something which always annoyed me when I read Pride and Prejudice in my English class at school was the number of cynics among my class who said the only reason (and I emphasise only) Lizzy changed her mind and married Darcy was because of Pemberley, which is nonsense. (Yes she says `And of this place I might have been mistress' and yes she jokes that she first in love with Darcy after `my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley' but no, she was not being serious!) Anyway, in most other variations I have read (if not all other) Lizzy does see Pemberley before they marry. However, (I am finally coming to my point now!) Lizzy never actually sees Pemberley till after the marriage; so there, cynics in my class! It was quite nice to have a story where she fell for Darcy without seeing him in his own environment contributing at all, as it does play an important part in many variations as well as, of course, the original story.
As for the romance, you will not be disappointed. It was, without giving anything away, a perfect ending. For the story, the set up for the ending was ... well, perfect. It cleverly linked back to important scenes earlier in the story when Darcy was disguised as Captain Smith. In fact, throughout the final few chapters when Darcy was once again the clean-shaven, well dressed gentleman we all know, there were many links and references back to the pirating adventure. The ending was also not abrupt, as it sometimes can be, as we see some sweet little scenes of the wedding day and there is a short epilogue where we see what became of some of the characters we met earlier in the story, which is always a nice touch.
Although this is the most far-fetched variation I have read, it has easily been one of the most enjoyable Pride and Prejudice variations, without a doubt! It is such a lot of fun, full of adventure and breathtaking romance! I stayed up rather late into the night to finish this one, which has to be a good sign. Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy now has some stiff competition from Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy!