Title: Hope Floats Author: Femme Malheureuse
Source: Pride & Prejudice Genres: NA
Character(s): Caroline Bingley, Louisa Hurst, Darcy Rating: NA
Chapter(s): 1 Status: Complete
Synopsis: Her petticoat six inches deep in much, and the gown which had been let down to hide it not doing its office. Yet Mr. Darcy could only note the frowsy country chit’s ‘brightened eyes.’ What’s a girl to do to focus Mr. Darcy’s attention where it really belongs?
Welcome Readers, today I present to you a Pride & Prejudice fan fic of a different sort. Normally I tend to read the alternate universe or a retelling from Darcy or Bingley’s view, but this time I figured I’d give Caroline Bingley some love. I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.
This is not what I was expecting and I think the story kind of pulled a “psych!” on me about half way through. See, I thought this was going to be a one-shot tie-in to the novel where Caroline deludes herself into thinking that somehow she has a chance with Darcy. With how the story builds up I thought the author was going to make use of the scene from the novel where Caroline and Darcy are out walking and come upon Louisa and Elizabeth. It’s a small scene that closes chapter 10 of the novel and it’s ignored in every other iteration so I thought the story was going to use that set up and give it some sort of twist that gives Caroline hope that Darcy might be interested in her. Alas, that is not the case.
What the story entails is: Elizabeth comes to Netherfield to care for her ill sister. The Bingley sisters notice how Darcy’s attentions turn to the country girl and start to plan how to redirect his attention to Caroline. At Louisa’s urging, Caroline learns the walking path Elizabeth prefers to walk and follows Elizabeth the next morning. The plan was to avoid Elizabeth and Darcy meeting each other, alone, and to make Darcy notice Caroline’s eyes that would “brightened by the exercise.” However, the walk does not go as planned.
That’s the brief version of the story. I don’t want to give away the twist so I’m stopping here with the synopsis. However, there is more involved.
This story is less about how “Hope Floats” and more about how a series of unfortunate events builds bridges between two (three) families. It’s really a story where the original ending happens a lot sooner than in the original novel. That’s all.
I’m not a fan of stories likes this where things are altered just to bring about the ending sooner. I don’t mind it when the fan fic makes the original story longer, I just hate it when it cuts it short. This is a personal gripe and it comes from the fact that everything that happens in Pride & Prejudice needs that year; the character growth, the romance, etc. All of that needed that year to really grow and endure. So when a fan fic tries to shorten that journey and bring the ending around a lot closer, it feels hollow. After all, the characters don’t evolve since the situations that contributed to their evolution do not take place and the foundations for the romance are weakened.
I’m just saying in the original novel Bingley is still in love with Jane after being apart for 9 months, Darcy’s love for Elizabeth not only endures but evolves, Elizabeth recognizes her flaws and mistakes, Darcy is shown the error of his ways (no, he wasn’t just shy! Read the damn book.), and Mr. Bennet learns the results of taking the hands off approach to raising 5 girls. All these things get thrown out the window when a fan fic shortens the story and ends it prematurely.
Again, that is a personal gripe. For other people, this may not be an issue.
The meat of the story with Caroline trying to regain Darcy’s attention is fine in theory but it’s implemented poorly. She fails but it’s not in the way that Readers would think, and the twist ruins any future attempts to sway Darcy.
I would have liked this story better if it had been written differently. If it had been about “Hope Floats” – such a misleading title – and Caroline’s attempts to gain Darcy’s affections. As it is there is nothing wrong with the writing, just the story itself. It’s not even the story itself – at least not entirely – it’s how this story is paired with the title “Hope Floats” and the synopsis, because those two parts do not connect to what the story contains. A different title and synopsis that reflected the actual story would make it better; or, at least not make it feel like I just got swerved.
My recommendation is…I guess check it out. The story itself isn’t so bad other than my personal gripe and that it has nothing to do with the title or synopsis. Other than that, the story is fine. It’s written well and is entertaining (to an extent). So…yeah, if any Austen fan is interested in checking out the story they should.
On a personal level, I think a story about Caroline’s attempts to sway Darcy would be interesting to read, especially if it was written as a comedy. This story just isn’t what I was looking for in a Caroline-centric story.