Fandom Category: Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)
Pairing: Fanny Price/Henry Crawford
Fic Title: Everingham
Author: Katharine T
Link: http://www.dwiggie.com/derby/old_2008/kathart1.htm (first part of three - link for next chapters at bottom of page)
Genre: AU, romance, drama, angst
Length: Long novella or short novel
Why This Must Be Read:
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.
(Mods: can I get tags? I'm really hoping other folks will be using them:)