Pairing: Margaret Hale/John Thornton
Fic Title: Sick of Shadows
Genre: Angst, Romance, AU
Special Rec: 16 of 34
Why This Must Be Read: This long, chapter-length story takes a basic AU premise (with Margaret forced to wed Mr. Thornton after she defends him during the strike) and develops into a wonderful slow burn. There's oodles of character development and intelligent dialogue where John and Margaret discuss and debate their opinions and get to know each other better. It's so satisfying to read a story where the characters are capable of having an interesting discussion about the world around them, and many threads of debate and themes from the novel are picked up and woven into this fanfic. The supporting cast of characters (particularly Fanny, who is not my favorite in the source material but is charming yet still recognizably herself here) are well-developed and sympathetically written as well.
But, really, let's talk the romance, shall we? The author does an amazing job of capturing the dark sort of captivated want that we see in Thornton in the mini-series and book. The sexual tension here is just crackling, and yet there's a nervousness and uncertainty in their relationship that rings so true. The fact that we get to watch the two characters slowly come to respect and care for each other alongside their growing sexual awareness just makes it that much more satisfying. This story is still unfinished at this time, but should only have a few chapters left (and already has a bonus porn outtake!). Highly recommended.