Everingham

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Fanfiction
Title: Everingham
Author(s): Katharine T (katharhino)
Date(s): 2008
Length: ~46,000 words
Genre: het, alternate universe
Fandom: Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)
External Links: DWG; AO3; LJ

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Everingham is a Mansfield Park novella by Katharine T, published in 2008. The title comes from Crawford's country estate in the novel. Unrated by the author, the work is around PG. The author summary is:

A chance remark reminds Henry Crawford to do the right thing, and ride to Everingham instead of staying in London to flirt with Maria Rushworth. As a result, there is nothing to prevent Edmund from marrying Mary Crawford, or Henry from continuing his pursuit of Fanny with more determination than ever.

An AU which overturns the canonical pairings to pair Henry Crawford with Fanny Price, "Everingham" is perhaps the definitive work for that pairing, as well as for the redeemed-Henry trope. Mary Crawford and Edmund Bertram form the secondary pairing. Fanny's sister Susan has a prominent role as her confidante; Mrs Norris and Maria Rushworth also appear, together with other characters from the novel. In other changes from the original plot, Tom Bertram's illness is ignored and Julia Bertram doesn't elope.

"Everingham" was published at the Derbyshire Writers' Guild and is also archived at Archive of Our Own and the author's writing livejournal. The novella has 24 chapters. As of May 2013, an Edmund/Mary sequel is underway.[1]

Inspiration & Aims

Katharine wrote in 2005:

...here are some things I would love to read, and possibly to write myself if I were inspired enough: ...

(and this is close to my heart) A well-written MP "what if." I want to see what would happen if Fanny marries Henry, but his faults are not erased by HC fangirls. It's the logical fanfic, because it so almost happens in canon. But the characters would have to be dead-on. I want to write this one, but I'm intimidated by the amount of Regency research I'd have to do to satisfy myself. ...

...in reality I am a huge fan of Edmund/Fanny. Even though Edmund is annoyingly dense half the time, his life and principles are a better fit for Fanny. That's why it would be so interesting to have a realistic imperfect HC/Fanny.[2]

In November 2008, while "Everingham" was in the process of being posted, she wrote an essay comparing of Reformed and Redeemed Rakes, stating that:

So we're all familar with the cliche of the Reformed Rake, right? Charming bad boy, who having found Tru Luv, changes his ways and never looks at another woman again? And as everyone knows, while this trope is exceedingly common in movies and Georgette Heyer novels, it's unfortunately rare-to-nonexistent in real life. Sadly, Tru Luv is not magic and if a man treats women badly once, he's likely to do so again! Darn logic.
Anyway, I am against Reformed Rakes in general, and yet here I am writing a story about a reformed Henry Crawford. What is the matter with me?[3]

She went on to characterise the canonical Henry Crawford as a Reformed Rake, while hoping that her version was a Redeemed Rake.

Reception

"Everingham" is perhaps the most popular piece of Mansfield Park fanfiction, being enjoyed even by many who dislike the original novel. Jane Elliot calls it one of the best Jane Austen fanfics of all time.[4] As of June 2013, it has received 110 kudos on Archive of Our Own, the greatest of the non-crossover Mansfield Park works. "Everingham" is frequently recommended, including at Crack Van, Epic Recs, Fancake and TV Tropes.

The novella is particularly praised for its Austen-like prose, the slow, careful development of the romance, and the believable character evolution from a canonical starting point. Several reviewers draw attention to the way in which both Henry and Fanny change as the story unfolds. One criticism is the omission of Tom Bertram's canonical illness and subsequent reformation.

Recs & Reviews

Like great part of the Jane Austen fandom, I usually don't enjoy reading stories that break up canon pairings. However, since "Mansfield Park" fics are so rare (and epic MP fics even more so), I decided to give "Everingham" a chance.
Katharine T pairs Fanny Price with Henry Crawford, a character I disliked quite a bit in the original novel. However, she makes the story work very well because she held fast to one thing: characterization. Jane Austen herself wrote that Henry might have eventually won Fanny's heart if he hadn't strayed. This is the Henry we meet: one that did not elope with Maria Rushworth, but that is still deeply flawed and has much to learn. His willingness to recognize that and to change for Fanny’s sake makes him a much more sympathetic character and I found myself cheering for him half-way through the story, something that surprised me greatly. Fanny too, grows as the story progresses and learns to see good in others even when there are faults and to reflect about her own conduct and pride. (slytherin gypsy)[5]
This is an excellent take on this particular pairing, maintaining the characters IC as much as possible while still making them grow up enough to make it realistic. It's written in an easy, pleasant prose, and despite the length is a quick read. It manages to abstain from character bashing, for the most part, which is refreshing, and it doesn't ignore canon facts. A very good, amusing and romantic what-if fic. (hele at Crack Van)[6]
When Henry decides to skip the dinner party that, in canon, was the first step in the path that led to his elopement with Maria, it changes the entire course of his relationship with Fanny. An extremely clever what-if that takes a tiny decision on Henry's part and shows how it could have a far-reaching impact on the entire cast of Mansfield Park.

I have to be honest: for a long time, I really, really didn't like Henry Crawford, which meant this fic was a very tough sell. However, I'm one of those rare folks who doesn't care for canon pairings in Austen fanfic and this fic came highly recommended, so I decided to give it a shot.

Man am I glad I did. Everingham completely sold me on the pairing of Henry/Fanny (to the point that I don't really ship Edmund and Fanny anymore) and has become one of my absolute favorite and most reread fanfics of all time. Both Fanny and Henry grow enormously as people in this fic (far more so than they did in canon, in fact), resulting in a very slow-burn romance that somehow manages to take the antagonistic relationship Henry and Fanny shared in canon and realistically turn it into affection and romance. There are no shortcuts, either, and definitely no "hate turns into lust" moments. Every step of the romance is hard-earned and plausible, resulting in a very powerful story.

Of course, none of the above would be possible without superlative writing. Katharine does a brilliant job in that regard with the same light but formal language that Austen herself used and the same fluid POV (though, despite the summary, the story is most often told in Fanny's POV). Her dialogue is especially impressive; she has the same knack Austen did for taking formal language and occasional monologues and somehow making it sound like something people would naturally say. Mix in spot-on characterizations for absolutely everyone and a surprising (and, it must be said, brilliant) bit of character byplay in the final chapters of the fic and you have one of the best Jane Austen fanfics of all time. Very highly recommended. (Jane Elliot)[4]
On the face of it, this is the exact reverse of Love and Marriage -- a long, careful, essentially optimistic take on Henry/Fanny. Mary/Edmund doesn't work out nearly so well, contrary to what canon tells us wowe're told in canon, but Katharine writes them all so well that she manages to sell it. And I don't even like Henry/Fanny. (anghraine)[7]
Like P&P, the long fanfic in this fandom tends to center around AUs, and those AUs tend to revolve around Fanny pairing up with Henry Crawford, who is the rakish villain of the piece. He's a lot less villainous than Wickham, more thoughtless and vain than actively malicious, so it's not that big a stretch. Except I usually can't buy it, because I can't see Fanny changing her mind from her dislike of him in the novel. She's seen him lead her cousins along, seen how carelessly he treats the reputations and the feelings of the women around him, and Fanny may be pale and quiet but she's also got a core of steel, which mostly revolves around the principles she will not break, ever, and can't stand to see others break. Most of which Henry does, at one point or another in the book. From our modern point of view, those principles seem fairly silly, at times, but they are nonetheless typical of the day and deeply held by Fanny.
So a novel that can make me believe Fanny would ever agree to marry Henry Crawford, and fall in love with him? Has got to be very, very good. This fic does, and is. Katherine T. pics the fork-in-the-road very carefully, and shows us all the good things (and the bad) that come of it. (Beatrice Otter in Fancake)[8]
...a long, well-written redeemed!Henry AU. (Minerva McTabby)[9]
This is perhaps my favourite Austen fic of all time, which is odd, given that Mansfield Park is not my favourite of her novels. However, the detail and characterisation of this fic, the uncertainty and the emotional faultlines it explores bring me back to it over and over again.
This author does not feel the need to make Fanny a different person in order to make her more appealing to readers (as so many others do), she does it my telling her emotions and thoughts so well that the reader can't help but feel with her. She does the same with Henry - not effecting a sudden change of character, but rather allowing the reader to see his motivations and to see as they change. (luce_e_collect)[10]
A fic that gives both Henry Crawford and Fanny the room to grow. The characters are remarkably true to the novel, which is what really makes it work. Henry is flawed but is willing to change for Fanny, and Fanny learns not to judge people so harshly and realizes her own pride, which make them both much more likeable as characters. (Pthalo in TV Tropes)[11]
I, uh, actually finally got around to reading Mansfield Park just so I could read this fic. What can I say, the summary intrigued me. I ended up liking the potential Henry had in the novel a lot, and I loved seeing that potential used in this fic. Fanny's falling for him was believable by the time that it occurred, and I also liked the bit about the problems Edmund and Mary were having in their relationship, because that's something that really would have happened if they had managed to get together. (kitsuneasika)[12]
I'm re-reading Everingham again. Well, my favorite parts of it, anyway. It's one of the few Mansfield Park fics I've found where Fanny is allowed to stay Fanny rather than being turned into something else entirely. ...
So, I like Mansfield Park a lot, and one of the reasons that I like it is that the love of a good woman is not enough to change a selfish man into a good one. It's such a subversion, and plenty of people have said that Fanny and Henry should end up together, but I love that Austen went with the unexpected, understated Fanny and Edmund instead. (Even if Edmund is a jackass at times.) So, I pretty much resisted anything Henry and Fanny until I decided to just try this story and ended up falling in love with it. I still don't quite like the idea of Henry and Fanny, but I absolutely root for them throughout the space of this story. (sixbeforelunch)[13][14]
Long satisfying AU in which, rather than meet Maria Rushworth at a dinner party, Crawford returns to Everingham and courts Fanny in earnest. The pastiche isn't quite as accomplished as some Austenfics I've recommended, but solid characterisations make up for any flaws. Perfect comfort reading if you like to be convinced that rakes are capable of reform (Espresso Addict)[15]

References

  1. Derbyshire Writers' Guild: Funny thing... (accessed 30 June 2013)
  2. katharhino: Austen wishlist (accessed 30 June 2013)
  3. katharhino: A Field Guide to Rakes: Or, Reformation vs. Redemption (accessed 30 June 2013)
  4. 4.0 4.1 het-reccers: Everingham by Katharine (PG) (accessed 30 June 2013)
  5. epic-recs: Everingham by Katharine T (PG) (accessed 29 June 2013)
  6. crack_van: Everingham by Katharine T (G) (accessed 29 June 2013)
  7. anghraine: I come bearing recs! (lots and lots of recs) (accessed 29 June 2013)
  8. fancake: Mansfield Park: Everingham by Katherine T (accessed 30 June 2013)
  9. mctabby: Yuletide fic, outed! Secret Fandom = Mansfield Park (accessed 30 June 2013)
  10. Archive of Our Own: Everingham by katharhino: Bookmarks (accessed 30 June 2013)
  11. TV Tropes: Fanfic Recs: Jane Austen (accessed 30 June 2013)
  12. greenteadreams: fanfiction, post eight (accessed 30 June 2013)
  13. sixbeforelunch: mansfield park fandom and writing (accessed 25 January 2014)
  14. sixbeforelunch: snowflake challenge: day 9 (accessed 25 January 2014)
  15. Espresso Recommendations: Jane Austen – Mansfield Park (accessed 26 August 2013)