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In the latter part of the 19th century, a peculiar solitary man and an ex-army doctor disfigured at war live in a small village, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. When they first meet, they have no idea their lives are about to change forever and, over the months, they will form an unusual friendship, discover more about each other and themselves, and maybe fall a little in love along the way.
“This Man’s Heart” is a Sherlock BBC fanfiction that hits on several of my favorites: it is set in a historical alternative universe and is a new take on the well-known story of Beauty and the Beast. This alternate universe takes place somewhere in the in the Province of Quebec, CA sometime in the late 1800s. In this retelling of this classic, Sherlock is the orphan nephew of Mrs Hudson who lives in a small village. John Watson is the wealthy brother of Harry Watson who moves from London to Canada to start a private and secluded life after being injured in battle.
One of the main reasons this story is one of my favorite Sherlock FF is because it is a very “gentle” and romantic story. That is not to say that is boring, but if you are looking for a “smutfest” well you won’t find it in this story. The development of John and Sherlock’s relationship starts slowly and the courtship is actually very romantic. What we have here is a slow burn friends-to-lovers story.
Even though this is a new take on the classic Beauty and the Beast story, you will find the normal traits from our TV series heroes. Sherlock grows up to be aloof, loner and antisocial. John is his regular nurturer and gentle self that provides Sherlock with the sense of humanity he lacks. You will also find the rest of the supporting cast in different roles: Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, Molly, Sarah. Even Moriarty and Sebastian Moran play a significant role albeit not their usually antagonistic ones.
Initially there’s a lot of “telling” in this story. The author takes around the first three chapters to set up the story before beginning to show how it develops. I came across only a handful typographical errors which I found admirable in a story of this length. My very only niggle with this FF has to do with an “event” that happens on the last 20% or so of the story. It is a plot device that is used to create drama but that I felt the consequences of it where swept under the rug too conveniently. Under any other circumstances this action would have probably made me DNF or rate this story very lowly. But Johnlock is my OTP (and the very reason I started reading MM fiction) which makes me willing to overlook this.
In the end, if you love historicals and enjoy the retelling of classic fairy tales give this story a chance. If you love gentle and romantic tales this FF will leave you with warm fuzzies all around.
RATING: 4 STARS
Title: This Man’s Heart
Fandom: BBC’s Sherlock (TV)
Relationship: Sherlock Holmes & John Watson
Word Count: 72,991
Completed On: March 17, 2012
Fanfic Link: AO3