A conversation now is not complete without a quote that is almost guaranteed to make me twitch for poor Jane, who probably had no idea that one day, a host of fangirls would variate the eternal love of Elizabeth and Darcy in ways that would make both author and characters blush exceeding.
I'm still waiting for Prostitute!Elizabeth and Whoremaster!Darcy living on the wild streets of Drury Lane. I hope.
But that does lead to my last book purchases, which is kind of half-embarrassing, half-amusing, where wandering through the A-B section, I picked up Linda Berdoll's Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife and Darcy and Elizabeth: Days and Nights at Pemberley.
Basically, I paid for my heroin this time. But the covers were seriously *awesome*. And so I grabbed both, as well as the new Anne Bishop novel Sebastian (for those who liked the Black Jewels series, there's a new one in that series as well, of shorter fic covering different aspects of the lives of the witches and warlord princes).
Bawdy. I will not argue this is great literature. I won't argue that it's the finest use of the language since Shakespeare. I won't even argue it's anywhere true to character as established by Jane Austen. I won't state that her grammar is impeccable or the style flawless.
But Christ, that was fun. That was just *fun*. The prose is extremely--formal? I don't have the words, but her sentences are a wonder to behold. Luckily, you get used to having to slow down and pick your way through it in less than a hundred pages. It's just--I keep going back to giggle myself into incoherence at how *well* she's able to make me forget that the most dramatic expression of love in Pride and Prejudice was a touch of the hand, because Darcy and Elizabeth are just painfully chaste right up until their wedding night. The sex is not explicit, but it sure as hell isn't hidden behind draperies. It cavorts itself on desks, walls, floors, bed, carriages, chairs, stables, and the park of Pemberley.
Yes, the word tumescence does appear, but I forgive, because I had a blast. I can work with this; most Austen sequels make me twitch, but I just--I loved this. I wallowed in it. I loved Darcy's cool formality and utter mindblowing adoration of Elizabeth and I love how the author trips us down the path to the bawdy--that's really the only word I can use here, bawdy--side of the English countryside, in which we will see Darcy gather his greatcoat close and hop out a whorehouse window in pursuit of Wickham, with utter aplomb, where Elizabeth can meet Darcy's former mistress, Lydia faithfully continuing to amaze all with her lack of even *basic* rules of conduct and still accidentally find herself a decent husband, Fitzwilliam go to war and Georgiana run after him, and and and I am *ashamed* but I just fell in rapture with the sheer shameless take on post Pride and Prejudice. The author totally had me. I did not *care* that Jane Austen twitched in her grave; I did not care that the density of the prose was mindboggling.
The thing that actually kind of both annoyed and intrigued me was the OCs and secondary characters and how they entwined together. It's hard to explain, but if you've ever wanted what a French courtesan, her associate, Darcy's French relatives, Wickham, a Drury street prostitute, and a workhouse girl had to connect them, you'd be really surprised.
I feel good about the world. Seriously so.
Next up, Sebastian. From Anne Bishop, I have learned more about male castration than I ever wished to know. I am curious what she will do with an incubus who is bored with sex. For an author whose first three books were rife with sexual politics, sensuality, and lust, there was precious little actual sex. No, really, think back on the trilogy--how many times did anyone actually get naked and sweaty? Penises were around a lot, but not so much what they were used for other than torture of a male, which has to say something, though I'm not sure what. I'm wondering what she can make of an incubus. Reminds me of LKH's Narcissus in Chains, where two hundred pages of foreplay managed to produce barely one good sexual encounter, except Anne is, you know, *a better writer* and her Mary Sue is at least supposed to be one by virtue of how she was created, which was a novel way to go about it and still keeps the books at the top of my rotation for re-reading.
Um, yeah, stopping now. I'm kind of on a post Darcy and Elizabeth high. That was *fun*.