I kept going back and forth over a couple of your stories for the review tag, but there was something about this story being about Alice and the references to Alice in Wonderland that really drew me in.
That first line was perfect. It's funny how such a short, simple sentence can be so revealing about a story and yet be just vague enough to make the reader want more. Seriously, perfect!
I honestly loved this story. I wasn't sure what to expect and I'm not necessarily a Frank/Alice fan, but this was sweet, though terribly sad. I loved seeing the small glimpses of Alice and Frank, how Frank was always so strong, self-assured and Alice was always the sort of odd one. We don't know much about their characters, but I can just imagine them such as they are described here and can see Neville being such a wonderful combination of both their personalities. Watching their love blossom within your words was wonderful to watch. That whole line about coffee in bed and tickle wars just made my heart swell with love for them.
It's kind of horribly ironic how her childhood nickname of Mad Alice kind of acts as foreshadowing to how she will spend the rest of her adult life. It's heartbreaking.
I also liked Marlene's side story and thought it fit well with what we know of her in canon. Alice's distrust of her is genuine and her obvious love for her son shines through in those moments where she runs away with him. It's not cowardice - it's a fierce protection for her son, and you kind of see that a little bit at the end, where she gets those moments sometimes where there's a memory tickling in the back of her mind that's just quite out of reach. It's powerful stuff, love.
I also liked the foreshadowing with Peter (I think?) with the whole traitor thing. It was very clever.
Poor Neville. The end, where he's talking to his mum and he just wants someone to love him, and like I said earlier how evident it was that she loved him so much - that just breaks your heart. He obviously has some of her oddness and it's just so terribly sad that she isn't there to love him for it.
I also love the contrast with Frank that you mentioned, about his eyes and how everything is sort of full-circle now and how their tortured minds have changed them from who they were.
That whole first war is nothing but tragedy and while I hate that Harry lost both his parents, it's really awful for Neville who lost his parents too, except they're still alive. It must be so hard for him to see their faces and know that they don't recognize him. Ugh, so sad. I think you did a really excellent job portraying that tragedy of the first war (Frank and Alice getting married before a dangerous raid, the Aurors guarding the church for the Christening and still, they saw death). Your story flowed beautifully and it was just so well-written. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for such a wonderful fic.
Just a couple of little errors I noticed, though: some Ma'lice in him: some oddness, and she would love him all the more for it. For Alice knew tht Neville
- the apostrophe in M'alice is off by one letter (you have Ma'lice)
- that is missing an 'a' (tht)
Other than that, I didn't notice any other errors. Well-done! :)
Author's Response: Hello, and thank you for such a lovely and thoughtful, long review! :D It was a really wonderful surprise!
I'm glad you liked the story, and that it drew you in. I really enjoyed writing it, and integrating the little themes and allusions. Alice in Wonderland just seemed to fit in too well with the references to madness and of course Alice's name, so I just couldn't resist!
I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed my portrayals of Alice and Frank's characters, and the little attributes of their relationships. I wanted to give them their own individual relationships, while making their relationship seem believable and appealing. So, I'm glad you liked them! :)
You're right, love is powerful! Since I don't have a kid myself, it's good to know the emotion and love is coming across in a believable and moving way. I'm glad you liked Marlene as well, and thought that contrast and backstory added something to the story.
I know, poor Neville! :( He is wonderful, and loved, it's just hard for him to realize it. I feel so sad for him, not being able to get through to his parents, and for Alice, not being able to express the memories buried deep within. I'm glad you liked the eye symbol as well, it was also quite enjoyable to integrate and imagine!
Really, thank you so much for this review, it made me such a happy camper! :) I loved writing this story, and hearing that somebody appreciates it is just amazing to know!