I've been trying to make my way over here all weekend! Rawr!
I love this chapter even more than I did before. I think you made the perfect choice in where to start the story, and seeing the kind of pain Penelope underwent, both emotionally and physically, was a really powerful way to begin your tale.
I still found myself wishing by some tiny ray of hope that Penelope would survive. Obviously I knew how this chapter ends, but I really found myself rooting for her. Stinking optimistic side of me, haha.
The fact that Ursula hurts for Penelope, but also for herself at the idea of raising another child is more than perfect. A lot of people would have taken a different route and had her more than willing to raise the boy, ready to throw everything aside and delve into motherhood again. That's sweet, but for Ursula it's not realistic. She's old, she's tired, and she was ready to be done with this. She's a good woman, kind enough to take in a newborn, but you kept an astonishing balance of 'good' and 'realistic' for her. I thought that on my very first read through then decided I'd wait until I reviewed to mention it ;)
I love seeing you put your talent for descriptions into a story like this. There are much less of them, as it should be because no one wants to swift through a zillion prose to get to what's happening. We want to feel your characters. But you still don't neglect them, and the things you choose to describe as well as the way you describe them is, to me, what really makes your talent shine. Obviously it takes a lot of skill to describe everything in numerous beautiful way, but I think it takes *more* to know what to describe and to paint a picture of it without pulling your reader out. You do that so, so perfectly.
Okay, this is quickly turning into a Jami squee on Shelby fest. Haha. But before I go I just have to say how honored I am to get to go on this FIRST NOVEL journey with you ♥
Author's Response: Hi darling! I'm sorry for such a late response - it's been crazy, as you know!
You know you didn't have to review, right? You are just too sweet, I can't handle it! I'm so glad you liked it even more than before - that means I'm doing something right! Oh, I was the same way. I was hoping that I could figure out some way for Penelope to live. I really wanted that for her, but as you know, it just couldn't happen. And you, always the optimist - it's a good thing!
Yay! I don't know if mentioned it, but I wanted that struggle for Ursula. It's not fair at her age to be saddled with a newborn. She's worked for the right to die with a little peace and no worries. Despite that, she takes in this child. I love it because it's so human, you know? So realistic. And I'm glad you approve!
Thank you, thank you! I tried really hard not to pour every ounce of my soul into each description, but knew I couldn't. I have to keep readers interested and engaged. Perfectly? Oh, you're too much of a doll. Absolutely too sweet to me! I'm all mushy-gushy and OMG, all the feels right now!
I'm okay with a Jami sqee - it makes me happy! No, you have no idea how thankful and honored I AM to have you on this journey with me. I know you'll always be honest and will help me make this the best novel it can be! Thank you, thank you!