So now we're getting into the meat of the story. I loved what you did with Eileen Prince. So many authors portray her as this weak, broken woman who never could have raised a hand to the brutal, abusive Tobias Snape that she inexplicably falls in love with. Not to say that she won't change as the story progresses, but the Eileen we see here is a much more believable and relatable character. She's capable and successful and she manages her own affairs. I already see traits in her -- self-reliance, being able to hide her doubts and anxieties and presenting a very put-together image to the world -- that I associate with her son. She also seems very comfortable straddling the muggle and magical worlds, something that sadly will elude Severus.
Hannah was a great foil to draw out Eileen's mixed feelings about the trade-offs she's made to be successful. Hannah's family lacks the material wealth that Eileen enjoys, but they seem warm and happy. Then the trip to Gringotts reinforces the point, as she finds relatively cold comfort in the stacks of galleons that fill her vault. Maybe this was just an off-hand comment and I'm reading too much into it, but I'm wondering what sort of goblin-made heirlooms Eileen might be hiding from the world. To put it another way, what part of the Prince legacy has survived to the present day and made its way into Eileen's hands? Again, I think you're doing a good job of pacing the story. I have lots of questions about the connections between Eileen and the story that you started to tell in the first chapter, and those will keep me eagerly reading future chapters!
Viola seems to be the final straw in the camel's back when it comes to pushing Eileen to change some things about her work-life balance. Like Hannah, she's enjoying the blessings of a happy family, but unlike Hannah, she and Eileen have much more in common. The part where you explain how Viola's elaborate life plans gradually gave way to a domestic reality seemed especially poignant.
Once again, I couldn't find a thing wrong with your writing. Everything flowed beautifully and there were no distracting typos or grammatical errors. In fact, from now on if I don't say anything about your writing, just assume that it was excellent! :)
Great job! Onward...
Author's Response: Hello Dan! It's lovely to see you again! And thank you for another wonderful review!
Thank you - I really, really HATE when authors portray Eileen like that. It kind of disgusts me actually. It's as if as a fandom we've taken what little, if any, information that we get from Severus and create this monstrosity of a marriage and relationship. We know how Severus is, why would we take him at his word? I'm sure that Eileen and Tobias weren't the perfect couple and had their issues, but really. Haha, now that I've ranted...I'm not saying that they're going to be fabulous, but I think we need to let them be happy before everything falls apart. I love writing Eileen and exploring her character, so I hope you continue to enjoy her!
I haven't considered Hannah as a foil, but that makes so much sense! I think it's something that is very unconscious, at least, for me. I tend to do things like that without realizing that I've done it. Of course, Hannah's here for a reason, but I didn't immediately say, "Hey, Hannah's going to be a foil." Anyway, great observation! I think you'll find that the heirlooms come into play later in the story. Not all of them, but a few will show up. You're such a keen reader - I love it! I'm happy you find the pacing good! That's something I'm very worried about since this novel means so much to me and I want it to be the best it can be.
Viola will reappear later, but she's a minor character. I think you'll find that she's /that/ person who opens Eileen's eyes in different ways. I'm really glad you think that's poignant - I think it happens a lot in our lives. We have grand plans, but they almost always change.
Awww, you're too sweet! Thank you so much! I really appreciate the feedback and greatly value your opinions!