Sarah's Story

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Fanfiction
Title: Sarah's Story
Author(s): Stacy B. (Kalina/Kalinalea)
Date(s): July 2004
Length: 12,750 words
Genre: het, sequel, established relationship, original character-centric, outsider POV
Fandom: Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
External Links: DWG; LJ

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Sarah's Story is a long single-chaptered story in the Pride and Prejudice fandom by Stacy B., first published in 2004. A canon-compliant sequel to the novel, it examines Elizabeth & Darcy's marriage through the eyes of an original character, a Longbourn maid who accompanies Elizabeth to Pemberley. The story is told in the first person.

Elizabeth & Darcy are very much the story's focus. Like most Elizabeth/Darcy stories, "Sarah's Story" assumes their marriage is happy & passionate, though not without its arguments, and that the couple soon start a family. The maid, Sarah, isn't well developed as an independent character. She develops a close relationship with Elizabeth & eventually also Darcy, but one that always remains within the bounds of historical plausibility for the relationship between a lady's maid and her employers. There is no overt criticism of the role of the Regency servant; Sarah feels fulfilled, even though she recognises that her life has been subsumed within her serving role.

Other canon characters who feature include Jane Bennet and Mr & Mrs Bennet; there are also brief cameos from Caroline Bingley & Louisa Hurst. There are minor roles for the Pemberley housekeeper, Mrs Reynolds, and the Bennets' housekeeper, Hill, who is envisioned as the point-of-view character's mother.

"Sarah's Story" is archived at the "Epilogue Abbey" section of the Derbyshire Writers' Guild and in the author's LiveJournal. The author's summary is The Bennets' ladies maid goes with Elizabeth to Pemberley and witnesses the grand love and life of Mrs. Darcy. There is no author rating; reviewers usually rate the story G or PG. It contains no explicit content.

Inspiration

The author's note states:

I owe a debt of inspiration to Alison, author of a story called "Forces of Passion" (archived at Firthness, perhaps among other places) who included in a footnote the information that it was customary for young women of means to take along a servant from home when they married. This story, which is my first attempt at a P&P fic, grew out of that idea.

Stacy wrote in 2007 Of the many stories I've written over the years, Sarah's Story is probably my own "favorite child", for various reasons.[1]

Reception

The story was well received; Slytherin Gypsy calls it a favorite through the fandom.[2] It is widely recommended, including at Crack Van, Epic Recs, Firthness and Multifandom Het Recs. Reviewers particularly praise the unusual outsider perspective, the unobtrusive OC and the historically accurate servant–employer relationship. The story's sweet tone and its tear-jerking end are also often highlighted.

Recs & Reviews

Following tradition, Sarah Hill (the Bennet girls' lady's maid) accompanies the newly married Mrs Darcy to Pemberley and chronicles the changes that the marriage brings to both their lives.
This story is a favorite through the fandom and there are plenty of good reasons for that: the narrator, a truly engaging OC (and how often do you get to say that?); the beautifully portrayed relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy; a perfect balance between the harsh realities of life and the strenght of love and loyalty. Well-written, original and moving, it is indeed a great fic. (Slytherin Gypsy at Epic Recs)[2]
When it comes to fic, I think I’m something of a voyeur. I enjoy examining events and relationships through the eyes of connected but peripheral characters. Sarah’s Story is a sequel told from the point of view of Sarah, who moves from Longbourn upon Lizzy’s marriage in order to be her lady’s maid. What follows is a relatively short but extremely poignant story of confidences, loyalty, and love of more than one sort. I’m not ashamed to say that the first time I read it, I cried a little. And with every subsequent reading it still leaves a small ache in my heart. (Tree at Crack Van)[3]
the Darcys' marriage as seen by Elizabeth's maid. Much better than I expected, and proof that you don't really have to agree with an author's interpretations if she presents them well enough. Also, it makes me cry and that ... very rarely happens. Canon-compliant! (Elizabeth Hoot)[4]
this is a really sweet story about darcy and lizzie's married life, told from the perspective of her maid. it's a pretty simple story, but told with a lot of honesty and a very nice OC that isn't annoying. (listen missy at Multifandom Het Recs)[5]
I love outsider POV pieces, and this is a perfect example of how one well a story can be told using that technique. When Elizabeth’s maid goes with her to Pemberley, she has little more understanding or awareness of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s love affair than anyone else at Longbourn. So being able to view the relationship of the newly married Darcys through her eyes is very entertaining as she tries to figure out the passionate ups and downs of my favorite fictional couple. The author does a fantastic job of keeping the characters true to canon and true to the time period. I’ve seen P&P fics in which the relationship between servant and master or mistress is written with a more modern, casual approach than would be appropriate during that era. So it is interesting seeing how the author of this story kept the relationship historically accurate while emphasizing the affectionate interactions and feelings one would expect when dealing with Elizabeth.
My only critique: I loved this so much I wish Stacy had written a sequel from the POV of Mr. Darcy’s man! (Gioia)[6]

References

  1. In response to a comment on Sarah's Story, Part 2/3 (accessed 31 January 2014)
  2. 2.0 2.1 epic_recs: Sarah's Story by Stacy B (PG) (accessed 31 January 2014)
  3. crack_van: Sarah's Story by Stacy B (G) (accessed 31 January 2014)
  4. elizabeth-hoot: I come bearing recs! [lots and lots of recs] (accessed 31 January 2014)
  5. het_reccers: sarah's story by sarah b. (accessed 31 January 2014)
  6. Gioia Recs...: Sarah’s Story by Stacy B. (Kalina, aka Kalina Lea) (accessed 31 January 2014)