I'm finally here for that review you requested. I'm so sorry for the long wait! I am incredibly mortified for how long it's taken but it's just been a really hectic month. Plus, your story forces a person to stew about it for a while. If this is you coming back into writing after a bit than I'm extremely impressed! You're writing is so lovely and smooth and feels like everything good in this world ;D
I was very confused with a lot of this but a good sort of confused. The sort of confused where you mull things over and it leaves you thinking about it for days afterwards. Honestly, i got chills as i was reading this. I don't even know where to start with my thoughts, they are everywhere.
When i first read this, I wasn't quite sure what was going on and had so many theories running through my head. I knew from the very beginning that there had been some sort of tragedy, something that was driving the family apart. To me, it also had this haunting feeling to it and i knew that i was going to be shocked at the end or that everything was not what it seems.
I think i first thought it was Lysander who had died and i think i even toyed with Victoire for a bit. I didn't even think of Dominique at all even though there are those hints all over the place! It just didn't make sense that she was there dancing and she would be dead. So when that came out it was surprising but i really liked it. My first thought after i figured out who it was was that it was two stories combined into this one. Which is a cool idea showing how Dominique died and then having, at the same time, how her family was dealing with it.
Something about that initial thought didn't seem right though, to simple, and the pieces just didn't fit well with me and i don't think it would be an afterlife either, although that thought occurred to me as well, that she became everything she couldn't be in life.
It seems almost like she wasn't really ever there to begin with. Which is my final conclusion. Is it that Lysander was just imagining her in his head and it was from his perspective as he watched her or watched the world in which she became after her death?
If that's it then it's absolutely glorious! I really do love this piece of work and i've just read it the second time through and it gets better each time as you realize the little hints that you litter throughout the story that don't make tangible tense the first time around. But it's perfect that way really, sometimes i was a little confused with some of the wording and your colourful descriptions but i think you might have meant for it to be that way.
There is some really lovely lines here and i really loved the ending
He promised her the world, once.
He never expected her to become it.
Reality has broken with the dawn and he must now wake up from the dream that keeps her with him.
I think that this is just a really great closure and wrapping up of the whole story of how she's just this image in his mind, this thing that seems so real yet just a shadow of her former self. It was a bit haunting of a read, at least, to me. I could really feel with this story, it was emotionally tangible and heart-wrenching. Now that i've read it, what effect were you going for? Anyway, before i ramble on some more i'll just end with that this is a really great piece and i hope you continue to post stories because you writing is such a joy to read.
Author's Response: Oh my gosh, this is so long it won't even fit on the page if I take the toolbars out. I think you've just won some kind of award! Firstly, then, thank you for taking the time to leave something as wonderful as this. I can't even comprehend how perfectly you've pinpointed my exact train of thought when writing this.
Don't even worry about the wait. I requested before this story got featured (thank you, lovely staff) and there's been a review boost since then so I'd forgotten about requests, to be perfectly honest! I'm glad you think this takes time to get your head around because I think that's exactly the attitude it needs. I'm still not sure this is my very best but it's certainly one of my current favourites.
Haha, I've been hearing a lot about this good sort of confused lately. I think that's what I wanted. Chills are always a huge plus for any writer, I think!
You really have hit the nail on the head with everything here so I'll go through it bit by bit. I'm really happy you picked up on the tragedy early on because I wasn't sure that was going to come across. I definitely wanted haunting and I was pretty confident that that was coming across because I knew that death was involved in this somehow and that comes quite naturally when you're aware of a theme like that in your story.
Initially, it was Lysander that I'd killed off. I wanted Dominique to be grieving and imagining him but I've actually already written that so I gave up on that idea after I'd written Bill's section of the story. It was tweaked as necessary.
I never really intended it as two stories but I can definitely see how it could be interpreted like that. I adore reader interpretation so I love writing things with some (/lots of) ambiguity!
Too simple indeed. I don't like simple. I'm also not keen on afterlife stories (I'd only read one when I wrote this which is very dear to me so I steer well clear) so although I considered that, it was never really an option.
Your final conclusion is bang on, or at least in line with what I had intended. She's a figment of his imagination, as far as I'm concerned. She's not there, nothing more than air (which is why there's a bit of weather imagery thrown into the story in places), and I was aiming for something quite ethereal which I hope came across.
I'm so glad you picked up on the hints! It's definitely something that needs to be read twice, if not three times, because all the information you need is there. It's just well hidden!
That last line that you quoted was actually something I added in very quickly after the first few reviews and I realised that people weren't quite getting the right impression. I definitely didn't want it to be seen as her actual death so I placed in the line about reality and imagination to try and clear that up.
I really wanted something haunting (as you said) and a little unbalanced to reflect this imagined Dominique and an obviously grieving Lysander. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this, thank you so much for such a lengthy and wonderful review. I have no intention to stop writing any time soon!