Hey there! :) I'm always glad when I get to drop by to your page, given all the wonderful and lovely reviews you leave me. It only seems right that I try to do the same for you ;)
I've always loved the idea of Neville marrying Hannah Abbott, you know. I liked the idea that he married someone we didn't know so much about, since it's more realistic than the Ginny, Harry, Luna et al all pairing off with each other. Particularly because we don't know all that much about Hannah in the first place, just little things mentioned in canon, so you can develop her almost as you want.
I love your Hannah. She's such a realistic portrayal of someone after a war, who's had a hard time and who regrets the choices she's made in the wake of it. People do that - they're all such human emotions, and I love that you brought it up. I like how you also contrasted her behaviour after the war to before the war, as well, with her feeling bitter being unusual for her, and her having grown up but still being essentially the same person. It's really great depth and I love it.
Neville! I adore Neville. He's awesome. So yeah, your Neville is brilliant. I think it's easy to forget after DH that he's still clumsy, he might still stutter and be scared and nervous and not wholly sure of standing up to people he respects, you know? You characterised him so perfectly... gah, he was just /Neville/. Almost as if JKR had written him. I loved when he knocked over the chair and kept apologising for being clumsy. It was so sweet.
I liked the little touches and mentions of the war and its effects, with loads of new shops springing up, and them both taking a year out to deal with what had happened and what they'd done and others had done, and how people had nightmares and couldn't cope and things. It's something people don't always deal with really, in ff, but you handled it so well, and wove it in so easily that it didn't take away from the romance and the meeting and the characters at all.
I've never read /My Sister's Keeper/ and don't really read romance books at all, so I'd never heard of the quote, but I liked how you used it almost to summarise the chapter. It could summarise the meeting and their relationship and it really just fits this so well. It's quite an open-ended quote - it seems really difficult to me - so I think you've done really well with it.
Your writing is lovely, as well. It flows so nicely and nothing drags... gah, it's just lovely :) Really nice. I really must remember to read more of your stuff... ;)
Anyway, I loved this! :)
Author's Response: Hi! Wow, have I really taken this long to respond to your fabulous review? Shame on me!
Yes, I too was once a Neville/Luna shipper, but when I sat down and thought about it, it just didn't make any sense. They are two completely opposite people, and I'm not sure that Neville would ever be able to comprehend a single word Luna said, in the event that they got married. And yes, I took liberties with Hannah's characterization that I'm sure won't match up to canon (but she's a bit unknown, so I think it's okay).
Thank you!! I tend to write female protagonists who are a bit jaded with the whole dating/love/marriage scene, just because I guess I never really went for the whole "ditzy OC" trope. In Hannah's case, I thought that losing her mom and working with the DA in her seventh year would have brought her down from her silly schoolgirl phase pretty quickly. She's still got some of that underneath the bitterness, though.
I never actually thought about Neville very much when I first read the books, but I reread them recently, and I found that Neville was all I could pay attention to sometimes. He's sort of the awkward-ugly-duckling Gryffindor, in the sense that he isn't very good at magic and he's clumsy and gets picked on a lot. But then he came out of nowhere with this amazing feat of bravery and mad skillzzz when he killed Nagini. I believe that he had the power to do that all along, but old habits die hard. To me, he's still awkward!Neville, and he didn't take ballet classes after the war. He's still got two left feet, and that's part of what makes him lovable. I'm so very glad that you thought I portrayed him accurately--almost like JKR?! Wow, that's REALLY super mega nice of you.
This story was my challenge to myself: I wanted to see if I could write a post-war story without making things seem like they were just fine overnight. After all, there must have been rebuilding in the Wizarding World that went on. (Hogwarts especially.) I'd like to think that Diagon Alley started adding lots of new stuff--people need to be cheered up, and renovation/repair is a good way to stimulate business and people's moods. I'd like to think that they cleaned up Knockturn Alley, too, but maybe that's asking too much. :) Those who fought in the Battle of Hogwarts are never, ever going to be able to go back to what they were before. They're going to battle PTSD, wake up screaming with nightmares, and struggle with depression. Hannah and Neville, meeting up again for the first time in five years, are broken people. And though they'll never truly be whole again, they will help each other get through life--first as acquaintances, later as friends, and then lovers/spouses. :)
I've never read "My Sister's Keeper," either, so when I wrote this story, I wasn't sure how the original quote fit into the book. I'm definitely going to read the book for comparison's sake (when I find the time). I am also considering turning this into a short story or novella, because the quote leaves a door open for possibilities to explore!
Thank you so, so, SO much for this review. You're an absolutely amazing writer (I should know, I've read your work!), so seeing that you think my writing is lovely just makes me really, really happy. If you ever do read more of my writing, I hope that it doesn't disappoint you! :)