Hi Shelby! I'm here with your requested review!
This jump to the distant past was such a wonderful surprise for me. If you've ever glanced at my author page you know that I love a good period piece, so I'm extra excited that this novel has these antiquated elements. The physical details you use to set the scene are spot on as usual, and I really liked getting this first glimpse into Penelope's world. I'm so interested to find out how she fell so far from this lavish lifestyle. The girl in chapter 1 is a very different person than this feisty, thriving Penelope.
Speaking of Penelope, I love the way you've set her apart from Eileen. Penelope seems much more flighty and temperamental, and she's obviously very young. Her sense of entitlement rubs me the wrong way just a little, but I still can't help but root for her. The beginning, when she exchanges letters with Alice, shows a more considerate side to Penelope, and I loved seeing that. I think you've done a wonderful job of making her a distinctive character, and not just a copy of Eileen.
The dialogue reads almost like a Jane Austen novel to me. I really hope that's the style you were going for, because if so, you hit the nail on the head perfectly :) And if that's not exactly the effect you wanted, feel free to PM me if you want to talk about it in more detail. In any case, it feels very antiquated, which is key in making period writing convincing.
Kynborow scares the absolute mess out of me, and I love it! I am DYING to find out where that scar came from. It does make me think that the family curse comes from Kynborow's bloodline and not Otwell's. It wasn't until we met her that I remembered Penelope's physical oddity--the color-changing eyes. I love the way you set us up for that connection. You didn't come out and explain, "Okay, so Penelope has this quirk, and Kynborow has something wierd about her too, and maybe that's connected to the curse! Get it?" Instead, you gave us the pieces and let us fill in the blanks between them however we wanted. That's part of the fun of reading for me, and I just love the way you did that :)
And as for reader interest, I cannot wait for another Penelope chapter! I feel like the drama of this story will come from Penelope first, while Eileen's story will be more of a slow burn. Having both story lines is a great way to add variety, and also to show how the curse has been affecting Eileen's ancestors throughout time. This was such a great chapter, Shelby! I loved it, as always!
Author's Response: Hello Maggie! As always, it's lovely to see you around, leaving your amazing reviews! ^_^
I'm really glad you enjoy the two different storylines. I was just going to write the first chapter and leave it hanging as a mystery until the very end, but my muse just told me that Penelope's story and Eileen's were meant to be intertwined. I'm such a HUGE fan of period pieces and know you are too! I could go major crazy on it and give it even more of an antiquated feel, but I believe that subtle was the best approach here. Perfect for us nerds, I think! :P Penelope's very different, isn't she? If I stay true to my outline, we're only going to get ten chapters out of Penelope & Reynold, so her story will progress quickly (or maybe I should just write 10,000 word chapters?! :D)
Ah, thank you! I just couldn't stand the thought of having the two of them be similar. I have to admit that in an earlier version, they were - my muse was not cooperating at that time! But I learned to distance myself after I cracked down and am very happy with the result.
That's such a compliment, thank you! I actually read JA for the first time in the spring and must say that she's great. To have this compared, even the tiniest bit to JA, makes me very happy! It's exactly the feel I was going for without being facetious, you know?
Haha, good! She's going to be a contrast, of sorts - understanding and gentle, yet cold, unyielding, and just plain nasty. Towards the end of this timeline, you guys are going to find out about that scar and I can't wait for it! It's going to be a shocker, I do believe! You'll find out reasons for it all! They may be subtle, but they'll be there.
That's actually a really interesting theory you've got going on, and of course I can't say yea or nay, but...haha, I can't! I want too, but I mustn't ruin it. I'm loving the theories and analyses you come up with! It makes my English major nerd heart very happy.
Yay! Penelope (and Reynold too!) will be seen again in chapter seven. Oh, it's going to be so fun. Reynold's characterization is more than likely going to drive you nuts just like Kynborow. There's going to be something about him...
Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I'm so happy that you're continuing to enjoy the story! I appreciate your feedback and opinions very much and value them highly. ♥