Hello Susan! I'm so sorry I'm so late getting this to you. They always told that teaching would be difficult and time-consuming, but I had no idea! Anyway, I'm here now :)
I know you said that I could review any chapters I wanted, so I'd like to go chapter by chapter. It's just easier for my brain since I've got so much going on! It also helps me when it comes to critiquing and such.
Okay, I do have a question. Are you doing a comedy of manners like Austen did (or so some critics like to propose)?
Even though this is the only second chapter, I feel like your plot is flowing nicely. The dialogue helps to move the plot along. Personally, I feel that your description is far superior to Austen's. It isn't stagnant - you don't just describe for the sake of having description; it's all purposeful. In this moment, I feel that moving any quicker would make the plot seemed rushed because of the tone and atmosphere you're trying to create and recreate based on the French Revolution and Austen's novel. As I go through the story, I'll be sure to pay special attention to the plot. For right now, I think you're on point.
Again, it's only the second chapter (second chapters are so ornery!), but I don't believe the romance aspect is at all overshadowed by character development. I think for an AU, character development is critical so that when the romance reaches its climax, we as readers will understand character reactions, dialogue, gestures, etc. You've presented this AU so very well, giving meticulous details so that readers are not disoriented. To me, the romance is like those fancy decorative flowers on a wedding cake: necessary for the occasion, but not the certain point. That make sense? Probably not, haha! The character development, plot, and setting are the game and the romance is the prize. So basically, Susan, I think it's going splendidly.
I did see a small typo, but now that I go back, I can't find it! It wasn't prominent. An ordinary reader wouldn't have caught it (I make myself sound like an English god or something :P).
Can I say that I loved Ginny so much here? You've stayed so true to canon, even with such an obviously AU story. She's so independent and unconcerned with the nonsensical feminine things - it's a great mirror to the Ginny we see in the books. Is Lily the literary foil for Rose here? They're at such a contrast with each other in all senses of the term, that it struck me as well crafted. Often times, we see writers who try too hard to make a character as unrealistic and quirky as possible or an exact replica of their protagonist - you, however, have crafted them so well. It's magical.
Overall Susan, I truly admire what you've done here. As always, I'm in complete awe of your talents. You deserve much applause for this story. I didn't find any aspect that needed CC. I cannot wait to keep reading!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for this review, Shelby! Your reviews are always a treat - when I receive them makes no difference. ^_^
This is a comedy of manners, I think. It's not really a romance, though of course there's no way to avoid including a marriage plot within the story. But I've found that the story is more about Rose's navigation of society, working past the prejudices against her to make her own way in the world. There's already been a point where I became so caught up in Rose's story that Scorpius fell by the wayside, but that's something that also occurs in Austen's novels - each story is as much (if not more so) about the heroine's personal growth as it is about the relationship between her and the hero. Lizzie and Emma are the best examples of this, of course.
Wow, thank you for those compliments about the descriptions! I'm also very pleased to hear that the story flows well in these early chapters. Finding the right way to situate readers within an AU without including too much backstory is a challenge, more of a challenge than I expected, so it is a relief that it's working so far.
"The character development, plot, and setting are the game and the romance is the prize." - this is very important! I can't describe how happy I am to hear someone saying it! How a romance develops depends far too much on those three factors for them to be placed in a secondary position. I like it when stories make the romance seem incidental, almost an accident that somehow happened along the way. It makes the story fuller, richer because it doesn't forget that there's a world outside of the romance, that there's always a world beyond the relationship between the two characters.
It's wonderful to hear that you like Ginny's characterization. She is quite a strange character to write, at least for me - fanon's perception of her is difficult to work around, but she's also a very unconventional character. I especially like how unpredictable she can be. She's an important mother-figure for Rose in this story, providing the role model for a witch who has found the perfect balance between family, her own interests, and society.
Your compliments are making my day - I'm actually glad that I held off responding to this review so that I could relive its positive effects when I needed them most. It means so much that you've enjoyed the story and its characters, and I look forward to hearing your feedback on future chapters. ^_^