The Question that Starts it All: What if Darcy had been forced to stay at Rosings after giving Elizabeth his letter?
Review (with spoilers): I’m a big fan of Abigail Reynold’s Pemberley Variations, but By Force of Instinct lacked her usual flair. It was heavy on the “My loves” and “My hearts.” Give it to me in another language and it’s not so bad, but I felt there was room for better pet names and that the frequency needed to be turned way down. Through in a few more uses of their names and that would have been good too. As it was the conversations came across as overly mushy and sentimental (and cluttered with unnecessary poetry) distracting from the truly great pieces of dialogue about happiness and love.
Also Lizzy was out of character in a way that wasn’t explained satisfactorily. She was prone to crying and such, instead of meeting (confronting!) situations with confidence and wit we all know her to have.
There was too much misunderstanding between Lizzy and Darcy. Why be so elliptical/obtuse?
Mrs. Gardenier was the character with perfect understanding, who’s insightful commentary was too convenient, taking out the challenge right out from under Lizzy and Darcy, because Mrs. Gardenier gave them everything they needed, instead of letting them figure it out on their own.
A Fun Twist on the Perfect Sister: Georgiana was petulant and sullen over Wickham. She acts like a petty teenager and tells Lizzy that Darcy is actively with a mistress. All this is fine with me but it is all wrapped up in a big bow of understanding and forgiveness with little real contrition. Georgiana should have figured out how to bridge the emotional gap between Lizzy and Darcy. Especially considering...
Mr. Bennet’s intense dislike of Darcy. He refuses to bless their union/marriage until the day of it. His sudden change of heart and understanding is a little far fetched because he isn’t even grudgingly accepting Darcy even after others try to explain how great Darcy is and what Darcy’s done.