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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
The Unexpected Visitor: A Retelling of a Scene from Pride and Prejudice is a Jane Austen fan fiction short story by Margaret Lynette Sharp, part of her extensive collection of works inspired by the classic novel which follows the relationships between Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and their families and friends. The scene which is retold here is an iconic one in the story: Mr. Darcy’s proposal of marriage to Elizabeth while she visits at Hunsford and he visits nearby at Rosings. The first crossing of their paths had produced anything but love at first sight between the young couple. This second encounter results in Mr. Darcy admitting his attraction to Elizabeth and visiting her unexpectedly one day to offer her his hand in marriage. Of course, he expects she will accept. Unfortunately, her dislike of him has increased since she saw him last by things she’s heard about him.
In The Unexpected Visitor, Sharp provides fans of all things Darcy and Elizabeth with an entertaining twist to an iconic scene which is critical to the broader storyline and a milestone in the changing nature of the relationship between these two protagonists. While short in length, Sharp’s narrative flows smoothly and is utterly Austenian in tone, vocabulary, and structure. The characters are clearly recognizable to Pride and Prejudice fans but their intensity of feeling is altered in a turning of the tables. Mr. Darcy is more restrained in expressing his pride in the superiority of his family over hers while Elizabeth is less restrained in expressing her prejudices against him.