Hey, it's simplelullaby over at the forums here with your review!
Wow to the chapter image by the way. Lady Malfoy's amazing! I was a little surprised when reading your chapter actually - it's a little like my Marauder-fic in that they've both got horrible families and are both neighbours of Sirius - but pleasantly so, trust me.
I like your mini-prologue at the beginning of the story. It adds to the mystery, and sets up a good place for you to actually begin your story. It's really great! :)
"Its classic Victorian look and feel still breathed as if one had walked into the past through our front doors" - This sentence is a little clumsy, I wasn't too sure what you were getting at and had to read it again. Maybe split this into two sentences, or rearrange the words? "Its look was classically Victorian. If a person walked through our front doors, they stepped into the living, breathing past." Or something along those lines.
I'm liking your setting - it's really quite nice how you manage to blend setting and character together so it doesnít seem like you're switching at all. It's almost like you personify the house to reflect your protag's mother, and I think that's pretty amazing. ;P
I noticed in the first few paragraphs that you use commas quite a lot. ("My family was a rather odd family, ten again my whole neighbourhood was") Mix it up a little with dashes or split sentences to add variation.
"God forbid any boys should read" - my favourite line! Made me laugh out loud (rather, snort rather unlike a lady).
The characterisation of your Protag's mother is especially brilliant. I hate her almost immediately, and she doesnít even speak! It's pretty brilliant, the way you set her up, and Aunt Agatha is only slightly mentioned (am I wrong or was the 'boarding school' Hogwarts?) here. Also throughout the building characterisation of the mother you're also building up your Protag (who I already like).
BRITPICK - We don't do school in "grades." I'm not too sure (I don't know the American school system), but I think you mean "Primary Four."
I would've liked to hear more about Governess Elliot, though I loved the "she was a total witch!" line. It'd be nice to see how she had gained your protag's bad opinion in another way other than her showing off, if you know what I mean?
Loved the canary's name - Sonnet!
I loved you describing your protag's love of books. The way they're depicted...you can just tell how much she loves them. They're her only escape from her boring life, and I just love that. You've already built her up so much from her describing other things - hearing something specifically relating to her is the most natural step, and you take it well.
"You must be wondering.cousins for sure." This paragraph is all a little clumsy. You elongate sentences when they should be stopped, and put commas in really strange places. I'd suggest looking it over. :)
I loved your use of the word "contraband" to describe items like chocolate.
BRITPICK - We say "chewing gum" instead of just "gum." And instead of saying "cookies" we say "biscuits."
Your end line was fantastic. It just makes me want to click onto the next chapter just to see where this new plot development goes!
So, to the overalls.
Overall Plot Development: As an opener, which are always tricky, this chapter created enough intriguing threads to make me want to click onto the next chapter and see what happens. There's not anything substantial, but it's enough to create a good opener!
Overall Characterisation: I think this suffered from the lack of dialogue, but altogether we have a brilliant idea of the mother and what she's like, to your protag at least. This is more about what your protag thinks, so I'd say it's more about introducing her than anything. Not that that's a bad thing - actually it's quite a lovely, unique approach. I loved it!
Overall Description: Although this chapter was all description, I think that some of your descriptions would do better being added-upon so that the flow isn't constantly interrupted with new descriptions. Bulk it up a little you know? ;)
Overall Grammar and Spelling: I think you could do with a little bit work here. Too many commas are used, and you could do with getting a little more familiar with the full stop and dash...and don't forget the semi-colon. Your spelling was brilliant, no faults there!
So, overall I loved it. You could do with recruiting a beta to help you with grammar, but honestly this chapter is so good even I, a convicted grammar-Nazi, am willing to overlook it.
I hope I helped you. Please, please respond!
Author's Response: Hey Aimee, thank you so much for reviewing my story. I'm very very sorry for the long wait getting back to you but I've had an impossibly hectic few months! Anyway thank you so much.
I havent read a single Marauder fic (and I've read many) where Sirius and the Oc are neighbours, I've read one where James is her neighbour so Sirius inadvertently becomes her neighbour later in the story when he runs away. Anyway it'll be interesting to read your story sometime too:)
Thank you for all the great advice I assure you they are all helpful and will be considered during my next major edit. Also thanks for the britpicking advice. I'm glad you liked some aspects of the story and of course there is much room for improvement.
Thank you so much for taking the time to review!