|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Fantastic work on this chapter! And on this story as a whole. It's an impressive work, and I can tell how much effort you've put into it. The characters are well-constructed, feeling very realistic in their behaviour, yet also nicely suited to the Potterverse (Lorraine in this chapter was adorable in her anxiety over serving Tobias, who, unfortunately, was a poor example of a Muggle). Your writing style is lovely to read, and it's steadily improved with each chapter - you bring the world of Eileen's shop to life and also take care with your descriptions with an excellent combination of practical detail and poetic turns of phrase. The plot is art - I'm envious of your plotting, and it's only the third chapter!
This is the chapter that has cemented my interest in this story and my love of your plotting, characters, writing, everything really. It's a perfect chapter, with just the right amount of suspense, a fantastic construction of atmosphere, descriptions that are cutting at times and beautiful at others. I also particularly like the sense of inevitability that weighs down this chapter, as though the hand of fate is clasped tightly around Eileen at this point. She tries to fight it by wanting Tobias out of her shop as soon as possible, but of course he has to appear again, of course they're drawn together in this almost horrible way. And the whole chapter builds to that final scene very well - the key is the short lull between the scenes with Tobias. It lets the reader drop their guard before the final moment of connection between Tobias and Eileen. By that point, at the end of this chapter, there's no going back - Eileen will marry him.
It's like a fairy tale, in this way, and with the curse that you introduced in the prologue lurking in the background, I think that's the kind of feel you're going for this story. As strong and independent as Eileen is, she's really not in control and can feel herself spiraling toward him with no chance of escape. What interests me is how realistic you make this driving fate - the two scenes are perfectly ordinary; the only earth-shattering takes place inside of Eileen, and she does her best to hide it. The way that you've grounded this story, curse and all, within a realistic, banal world is fascinating - it fills the story with undercurrents, a lurking darkness behind scenes, perfectly set against the contentment Eileen feels about her shop as well as behind the laughter at the party.
And then there's Tobias. Wow! In a few brushstrokes you characterized him better than I've seen before. He's realistic, curmudgeon-like but not a "bad person", just grouchy and impatient with the world that refuses to make things easy for him. Yet he's also very much like his son, both physically and in personality - just like the Professor of the first two books, imposing and displeased by everything. I'm not surprised that his eyes are his most striking feature - so striking as to be the only thing that Eileen notices about his appearance. They're hypnotizing, magical eyes in the body of a Muggle. I wonder what it means - it could be just that he has the eyes of a Brontė hero, but I have a feeling that there's more to it, that he's somehow part of the curse. Or am I ascribing too much to the curse's power?
I can't say enough how well-written this chapter is, and how well you've done with the whole story so far. It's wonderful to finally have the chance to read it, and I look forward to seeing what happens next! :D
Author's Response: Hello Susan! I'm sorry for such an extended delay on my response! I'm so exhausted when I get home from teaching every day that I do aimless things like watch Game of Thrones and dream about being a millionaire :P (And I WILL get to yours soon, promise!).
I'm really happy you enjoyed this chapter! You know, I've actually surprised myself. I fantasize about writing things that are very much out-of-this-world, fantasy-driven pieces (I never do these in fanfiction though) - but anyway, I can't quite believe that I went for a such a realistic approach. It's definitely out of my comfort zone and I think that's why it takes me so long to write each chapter. I'm struggle with that mixture you mentioned of descriptions. Glad you like the plot thus far - it simmered in my brain for over a year before I put anything down on paper because I wanted something good, something to keep readers coming back.
"...of course they're drawn together in this almost horrible way." - I really like the way you've described them. There's a real sense of deprivation and anxiety about the entire scenario like they can sense on some level that something is going to happen and it's going to end badly. "Eileen will marry him." - That literally excites me to no end and yet, saddens me so much. I love that even as the writer, they bring these emotions out. I'm so connected to them and that's what I want for my readers.
A fairytale? That's such a compliment, thank you! I never thought of it that way, but you're so intuitive and your insights bring so much to light. I love it! See, Eileen's a study in contrasts. I believe that as humans, we're all about contradictions; she's independent, but she's also fearful and anxious; she thinks she's in control, but nothing is really ever the way she wants it, not truly. I think it makes her most human, showing all these facets of her character.
Oh, Tobias. I love him so much. He is so grumpy and I think it's fantastic. The eyes of a Bronte hero - okay, now that is seriously the compliment of the year and I'm currently showering you with cookies and flowers and hugs! ♥ He is a part of the curse, I will tell you that much; however, his eyes aren't really a crux of the situation (at least, unless I change something :P).
Thank you so much for another wonderful review! I love all of your feedback and observations! ♥