I stumbled upon a book the other day, another Jane Austen "Pride and Prejudice" fan-fiction novel, to be exact, that just really made my blood boil. This one, like many others, is nothing but a glorified bodice-ripper featuring Jane Austen's beloved characters (it's main question was "what if Darcy and Elizabeth decided not to wait for marriage to consummate their relationship?"). What really grated on my nerves was their claim that it mimics Jane's style and characters. Really. Really?! Hmm. I don't remember her characters having sex in the books (well, except for naughty Lydia, but we certainly didn't have to read about it in detail). For crying out loud, Jane Austen was a minister's daughter! Why should I be surprised, however? It seems people want to sexualize or make sexual relationships where there was never intended to be one. Like between Frodo and Sam in "The Lord of the Rings", for example. Or even with Jesus and Mary Magdalene! Good grief, people. There is more to life than sex, and not everything in life is about sex.
Darcy and Elizabeth would never have considered a premature roll in the hay because morally upright people in those days--like our two characters--would never have done such a thing. Fast women were looked down upon. One of the things about Darcy that everyone loves is his devotion and commitment to Elizabeth. As a man devoted to the woman he loved, he never would've put her in a compromising position. Never would've even considered it. Writing stories that detail their sexual acts--married or unmarried--really detracts from the romantic story. As a man, would Darcy have had an improper thought or two of his bride-to-be? Probably. But he was too much the gentleman to ever act upon it. And as passionately as this couple loved each other, we don't need someone to draw us a picture to know they enjoyed a fulfilling sex life after their marriage. Writing about it is really nothing more than glorified porn.
I honestly don't mind the continuations and the "what ifs". But making the characters do and say things they would never do or say is a desecration of the beautiful story Jane Austen wrote and that many of us cherish.
If authors insist upon incorporating such trash into their novels, I heartily wish they'd choose other characters. Show some respect for the classy, tasteful, timeless romance that "Pride and Prejudice" is.