Wow! My hat is off to you. Very few writers have the skill -- or the courage -- to write stories for HPFF that pack real heat. It's such a tricky balancing act, keeping your writing ToS-compliant while conveying passion and realism. I thought you did a great job of dancing that fine, red line. The first section of this would make a great tutorial on how to write love scenes for HPFF.
I liked the mix of satisfaction and "oh, crap, maybe I shouldn't have" that you mixed into Rose's thoughts. She's obviously put herself in a very dicey position. Professional ethics would doubtless tend to frown upon biographers sleeping with the subjects of their books. At the same time, it seemed like she truly wanted this, in spite of the consequences.
At first I thought Krum's words and actions on the morning after seemed a bit odd. He worked pretty hard to land Rose, after all. He opened up a bit of himself that very few people probably ever get to see. But once I heard Libby's warning to Rose at the end, it cast Krum's actions in a whole new light. He seems like the sort of man whose mood can change at the drop of a hat. He also seems to have the ability to turn his feelings off and on like a light. Doubtless a very helpful defense mechanism when you're famous and surrounded by many people who pretend to care about you. I pity him, in a way. Compared to somebody like Rose, who's rapidly losing herself in her desire for him, he's missing an awful lot of the experience.
And now we have another mysterious stranger who has some interest in Krum. For a guy who hasn't been famous in a really long time, he sure seems to attract quite an entourage of shadowy characters.
I loved the entire conversation between Rose and Libby. You managed to add a lot of depth to Krum's character and introduce a whole slew of new questions at the same time. I'm starting to feel like I need an organizational diagram of some sort to keep track of who has what sort of past history with who. Krum is now tied into Brooks by marriage, Heart by way of his ex-sister-in-law and, oh, by the way, to Rose based on his very brief relationship with Hermione. I feel like you're twisting the different threads of your plot tighter and tighter together and something has to pop sooner or later.
This was my favorite line in the whole chapter: “Viktor is... like a flame. He burns bright and hot – drawing you in, filling the darkness. And then suddenly, it’s gone...the warmth, the heat. And you’re left in the black, cold and alone.”
At the same time, it isn't easy to put the things that Libby said into a black-and-white context. There seems to be little doubt that she's a social climber. For her to be so warm and gracious -- not to mention very happy to spill -- toward Rose when her housekeeper clearly viewed Rose as a lesser entity, it made me question her sincerity just a bit. She was also so blase about their divorce. For the moment, I'm taking her warning with a grain of salt. I doubt that I'm going to find Regina McFey's observations much more credible, for some reason.
I was kind of impressed that Krum would give up his cigarettes for Rose. Then again, the man is a former pro athlete. He's used to sacrificing physical comfort to achieve a goal. You are doing quite an amazing job of keeping me guessing. Rose is the one person where I never feel the need to guess. For better or worse, she's found something that makes her happy. So she's going to enjoy that for as long as it lasts.
So I'm not even sure whether I'm allowed to point out the first typo I noticed in a 12+ review. I think I'm safe enough if I just say that it should have read "in the air" instead of "in there air". PM me if you need clarification. ;)
“All rightt,” she said, grabbing her purse up off the counter - not sure whether that extra t in rightt was meant for emphasis.
The spins of the books were perfectly aligned - spines
“I wouldn’t say the too are close now, but back then...” - two instead of too
This was another chapter that started off kind of slow and then once it got rolling I couldn't look away from the screen. You grab my attention and then pull me along for the ride. It feels like big things are about to happen and I'm really looking forward to it!
Author's Response: Thanks for the hat tip! I've been telling members for years there is a lot of room to play in the site rules. We just don't need an anatomy lesson ;)
I'm glad you liked Rose's mixed reaction. I tried very hard to keep the emotions here grounded. I mean, these aren't teenagers the morning after a party in the common room. Still, these things can be tricky at any age. Not to mention the added issue of the book. I hadn't thought of Krum's reaction as odd in light of how hard he had pursued Rose, but it's a good point. I guess I just saw him as keeping things close to his chest. Plus, it's been a while since he's spent the night with a woman he actually WANTS to see the next morning. Hopefully Krum's less than stellar ability to effectively convey his emotions will be a continuing theme.
I'm glad you liked the chat between Liddy and Rose. I thought it was important to let Rose and the reader see Krum in as many lights as possible, and Liddy was just a lot of fun to write. Krum keeps so much to himself, it was fun to have a character who just sort of lays it all on the table. I don't think she was lying here -- maybe a bit self-delusional about her own innocence, but she means well. And hopefully all the family connections aren't too over the top.
I love what you said about the story keeping you guessing but Rose being relatively constant. That makes me super happy. I want the change in her to be slow and gradual. If her character doesn't feel consistent, that would definitely not be good!
Thanks for the review -- and the typo spotting. I got the non-12+ one just fine ;) Thanks again!