Hello, I'm here to review your Gatsby challenge entry!
Oh my, oh my, oh my, this was beautiful! Such vivid imagery... I loved the recurring motifs of fire and ice and all the heat references that came with that. It's a simple idea that works beautifully here...
Your descriptions are gorgeous- there's so much detail caught in so few words and you manage to put across Narcissa's tangled emotions just perfectly... all those intermingled feelings of regret and grief and fear...
It actually took me a while to work out who this was being addressed to; at first I thought it was Andromeda, but using Nymphadora makes perfect sense too and is a lot more original. It's a relationship not much looked into. It also seems realistic that Narcissa might be searching for some indirect way into her sister's life- like you kind of suggest in the very last paragraph?Having read this I'm just enraptured by the idea of Narcissa there on the outskirts of Dora's life, and the little girl not knowing who she is and you bring it to life so elegantly... The way Narcissa/you talk about Nymphadora as a child is so tender and loving that it really breaks my heart to think that she'll never know how her aunt loved her.
I really liked the way you brought across Narcissa's feeling of betrayal when Andromeda left- it was very poignant, and I really felt for her in a way I haven't when reading other Black sisters fics.
Another thing I loved was you reasoning for why neither Andromeda or Narcissa had a second child. It made such perfect sense in the circumstances that it's now my head canon! And it was put over so well too.
Some of your turns of phrase in this were simple stunning. I could spend all day picking them out but I particularly loved "a liability to be shaped into a tool" and the almost-contradiction of "beautifully and gracelessly."
I'm curious, did you think of Narcissa right away for that quote? Because it fits her perfectly, with her kind of icy, materialistic, snobbish exterior. Only you managed to show with this that that's really only skin deep. Anyway the quote flowed beautifully with your writing, I was really impressed!
And ohmygosh my HEART! That ENDING! Part of me was praying that she would stay and that Andromeda would see her and they could mourn Tonks together and then make up, and it made me so sad to think of the two of them both missing her and not knowing. The final lines you left us on were just perfect, showing how both sisters' vision of each other was distorted, and just so full of anguish but the way you wrote made it just wonderfully beautiful...
I was really impressed with this, it was amazing! I love the way you write, I love the different slant on the characters, I love the way you can bring across emotions... Just beautiful. ♥ ♥
Author's Response: Hi darling! :)
Ah, I'm so pleased you enjoyed this piece! I loved coming up with the imagery, it really flowed quite naturally for the characters and it's great that it came across well. Thank you for your lovely compliments about the writing style and descriptions, it really means a lot! :)
Of all the stories I've written this is one which I edited the least, and mostly let it flow naturally when writing. I kept the original structure, like not revealing who exactly was speaking and who was being addressed. You're right, in the story Narcissa is searching for a way which she can return into Andy's life, but can't quite rationalize this to herself yet. I loved the idea of Narcissa being on the margins of Dora's life and loving her and Andy from afar, and them not realizing: it just felt so tragic and lovely, somehow.
I'm glad you liked this portrayal of Narcissa, and how she blamed Andy for actually leaving her. I imagined that while Narcissa is too weak to leave and make a life for herself alone, she expected her big sister to protect her and save her, and when Andy failed to be Narcissa's hero this ensued in bitterness and continuing to trap herself. And I'm glad you thought it made sense why they each only had one child! :)
Hmm, I actually wrote a good chunk of this story - mostly the parts of Narcissa reflecting on Tonks - before thinking of entering the challenge. Then I was browsing the challenge threads and saw how the quote was available, and thought "wow, that fits so well with the Narcissa in that little almost-story I was writing!" Then I incorporated the quote and added more of Narcissa's personal backstory and self-reflection, and how she sees herself as opposed to how the world sees her. The quote just fit perfectly, and by manipulating it into the narrative I think it really gave the story the push and shape it needed. I'm so glad you liked how the quote fit, I also thought the story was perfect for Gatsby, since Narcissa is chasing this dream (represented by Andy and Tonks) which she can't obtain, and that she could even be compared with Daisy and her self-denial in a way. So, it fit so well with the challenge, and I'm so glad I got the chance to frame it around these ideas from Gatsby! :)
Ah, I almost left the ending open where Narcissa hesitates when she sees Andromeda, but it didn't quote fit and I didn't feel that Narcissa was quite ready. :( I'm so glad you liked the ending, it was emotional for me to write as well so I'm very pleased that came through! :)
Thank you so so so much for this amazing review, and for coming up with the challenge, and liking the story... it made me so happy, and I loved writing this and working on it. :)