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Review:Pookha says:
I'll be honest; the story was so gripping and moving that I didn't notice the two different times. You did a very good job of keeping the present tense in the main part with the past tense in the flashback parts. It was seamless and easy to read. I normally find present tense reading to be distracting, but you did it very well and it gives your story an immediateness (if I can coin a word).

I had figured it to be a Neville/Hannah before I was too far in and I loved your descriptions of the way he would potter (pun) in the garden and she would watch him. This is sort of the reverse of what I do with my wife; I watch her in the garden; of course she has roses, not a venomous tentacula (or whatever killed him, I suspect a hybrid he was creating, a la Hagrid).

You do a very good job of showing that Hannah's barely keeping her emotions in check. The reader gets the feeling that one more little thing and she could break. Wonderful emotion and great prose.

If this isn't a featured story for this challenge, I'll eat my hat.

It also seems like you write the part about sitting by a bedside waiting for a loved one to die from experience as it rings so true. I have experienced something like it, so I can say it with certainty.

Beautiful, heart-rending and it makes this old man a bit weepy.

Author's Response: I believe you are aware of my general distrust of flashbacks. Therefore, it was with reluctance that I used them in my own story, because I wasn't sure I'd be good enough to pull it off. I tried a few other ways of telling the story, but I kept running into the same problem: there were events I wanted to describe as happening now and events I wanted to describe as happening in the past.

I really wanted what is the beginning (the men at the door) to be the beginning, but I couldn't make it work without a flashback. So I figured I might as well embrace it and try to weave the two parts together. I'm gratified to hear it came across well to you. Present tense writing can be difficult to read, but I do like the sense of immediacy (though immediateness is a fine word too) it imparts.

I'm so glad you commented about Hannah barely keeping her emotions in check! That is precisely what I wished to convey. After all, the funeral was the day before yesterday, so her grief is still very raw.

Yes, Neville was breeding hybrids a la Hagrid, although we may never know if he bred this one on purpose or if it mixed itself while he was incapacitated. I actually pictured the Tentacula crossing with a fanged geranium, but I couldn't find an appropriate place to slip that in.

I'm relieved the bedside part rang true for you. I actually have never experienced it firsthand, so I was quite worried about it. I wanted to be honest, respectful, and realistic without being overly sentimental.

Thank you very much for such a detailed review. I respect your opinion a lot.

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