Bwahaha, you do a fine job of writing artists without knowing much about art!
Can I just say I looove Apoline. She's got such sass, and I love Henri's worries when she seems like she's not going to show. It's kind of adorable 8D And I love lines like She is sitting and waiting and she has paid. Heh, practical people.
You've got so many beautiful lines here. It's so easy to get cliche when it comes to art and beauty, but there's something really refreshing about the way you describe it and how he wonders and compare/contrast it to her personality :3 Report Review
I remember seeing this fic around and it's been recc'd around before, so I figure I'd pop in. Excuse my hastiness; I've not got a lot of time and a lot of fics to read unfortunately ;A;
A CHAIR THAT SPINS AROUND. this is a man who knows the way to my heart. I love this pair. Even though most of the chapter is dialogue, I'm okay with it. They exude such personality and charm that it fills in the setting itself :3 Report Review
You blow me away with this story and with your writing. Honestly, the way you use words is so poetic and artistic, so perfectly placed. Every sentence has been constructed with precision and honesty, so much so that I feel like Henri must be a real person in your life that you modeled the character after (although I doubt that's true and you're simply a brilliant writer with an incredible imagination and understanding of how any given person thinks about the world). It's just a stunning piece of work, this story.
"Perfection is standing in his office and he is acutely, painfully, aware of it." I just love the way you describe things. The words you choose combined with sentences you construct is such a perfect combination to get as much as you can out of each sentence.
"She has a clear vision in her head - they always do - and even though he disagrees with almost all her choices, he will abide by them. She should be standing, not sitting, with a blank background instead of the window behind her, but he will do as she says and can only hope she is pleased with the result. " - In your author's note you mention how you know nothing about art, but I promise you that sentences like this make me question whether or not that is the truth, hehehe. No, I'm sure you're being honest, which is incredible because you have a great idea on how an artist might think about these situations. A lot of people are good writers who can pull out wonderful words and make poignant sentences that stick with you, but what makes a great writer is someone who has all of that ability and can put the words flawlessly behind somebody else who's identity they don't follow in real life. What I mean is that the fact that you know nothing about painting, but can write like it's what you've spent your own life doing, is what makes you so phenomenal.
Ah, I just love how this shifts from excitement to dread with Henri as soon as he tries to start painting! And the way you describe the reasoning behind it is so beautiful and logical and makes so much sense that I immediately feel what Henri is feeling! Poor guy, haha It's a very relatable idea, too - whether it's seeing a movie or hearing a song or reading a book that just is everything you could have ever wanted it to be, and then trying to explain it to someone else - there's always that feeling of 'How could I possibly live up to that?'
The ending was just to die for. "Does true beauty exist? she has forced him to wonder. When she first walked through his door she had seemed the embodiment of beauty, but to know her a little better is to know much more of her imperfection. She is a woman - no, little more than a girl in all honesty, a wittering, immature girl blessed with an impossible beauty that is marred by petty aspects of personality." - Wow. This is the most beautiful way I've ever heard a shallow person be described. haha It's just so incredible how we see Henri start off seeing her as this unparallelled beauty that nothing compares to, but how when she opens her mouth, it's almost surreal how little there is to offer.
Anyway, I could go on forever singing the praises of your talents. I can't wait to continue it. :-) Report Review
It's funny that the title of this story is Masterpiece, because this story, my dear, is a masterpiece.
I was introduced to this because it was on story seekers over at the podcasts and holy cow, does it deserve to be! I can't believe how few reviews this beautiful story has!
The way you open it is so stunning. Your way with words is unlike anyone else I've ever read on this site. And it's not just beautifully written, but incredibly relatable! You take this sophisticated style and somehow make it easily reach today's audience of young readers. The idea of being really good at one thing, but it's not the thing you wish you were good at? I think many people have been there. I've always wanted to be a better dancer, even though I can sing well. Wanting what you can't have is definitely something that pulled me toward this story.
I also love when you talk about how difficult it can be to be critiqued on the things that you aren't just having fun with, but taking very seriously as a career - a way of life. It's hard to hear bad things about that, because you sometimes feel like that's the only thing you have to offer and if someone doesn't even like that, then where does it leave you? So good.
The muggle spinning chair bit made me chuckle. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure I have seen a spinning chair mentioned in HP before... :-p
I love the exchanges about the different paintings and moods that influenced them. It's too true - I can't tell you how many random lyrics and one-liners I have saved in my email that I go back to and think 'Sheesh, what was I thinking about when I wrote THAT?' LOL
Anyway, the entire story is just incredibly written, with so many sentences that make me envy your skill and talent so badly! Congratulations on such a fantastic story! Report Review
Hello! I heard about this from the from Story Seekers Podcast, and with everyone on the panel positively gushing over it I had to check it out. And it lived up to my expectations, it's beautiful!
As a writer I think you've done a fabulous job with Henri - I myself am sort of in that kind of situation, an artist wishing she was a writer, and everything you've said really just hits the nail right on the head. And and as for his relationship with Apolline, I love that too, and I'm excited to read on!Author's Response: Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to this! Especially as it's such a lovely review - I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
I'm glad you like Henri - seeing as I'm not an artist, not French and not male, I sometimes think I'm a bit daft to even attempt writing him, but I rather enjoy it all the same. Thanks so much for the review! Report Review
Oh, wow. I'm already hooked from just one chapter. Your descriptions are so beautiful and flowing - I really love the phrasing and flow. I'm so jealous of your style :p Anyway, just thought I'd say that first because it's the first thing I noticed when I started reading!
This is such an intriguing concept. I've never read anything about Fleur let alone her parents, and I'm absolutely loving Henri's character. He's such an angsty artist in an existential/pessimistic kind of way. This is going to be a really weird comparison, but he reminds me of the Enlightenment philosophes. Particularly J.J. Rousseau. If you don't know who that is, just ignore my comment. If you do, hopefully you understand where I'm coming from. Sorry! I'm rambling. Back on track: I feel like you did an excellent job with his characterization. I understand him without you /telling/ me every little aspect of his personality. Henri's such a complex character - I see that already. The details about his writing and self-consciousness over his paintings were such great touches and extremely realistic. Plus, I love the contrast and dynamics between Henri and Robert. Cynicism versus optimism. Very cool. :D
Anyway, I really love this! I'll definitely be reading on (when I don't have three giant exams to study for). Gorgeous first chapter, and loving the idea of the references to Dorian Gray. I'm looking forward to seeing where that goes. I mean, I already see the connections with the beauty, art, superficiality, etc., but I'm really curious to find out where you'll take it. :)Author's Response: Oh wow, thank you! I have a considerable amount of love for minor characters, and I'm not sure you can get much more minor than these two... I mean, Henri isn't even given a name in canon, poor guy, he's *that* minor. I'm glad you like him though, even if he is rather grumpy :)
Erm... no I can't pretend to know what that means, but it all sounds rather intellectual and I'm now going to go and google it so I can feel well-informed in the future xD
Eek, good luck for your exams! I've been feeling smug because all my friends have got them at the moment but I don't have any until the summer. Glad you like that - I love Wilde and I just thought - paintings, beautiful people, vanity... Dorian Gray!
Thanks for the lovely review :) Report Review
Well, that was rather sweet of her. Henri kept second-guessing himself and it was never going to get done if he did not allow anyone to see it.
Robert's protective big brother act comes a little too late, I think. After all, he was the one to provide Apolline as a client. If he wanted to protect his brother, then he shouldn't have introduced them.
alias093001, Slytherin.Author's Response: Haha she can be sweet sometimes :) And yes, Robert hasn't really been acting as sensibly as he might have... he wanted to make things better for Henri, and I suppose he hadn't thought Apolline would be his type (looks aside, of course). Robert considers himself to be very clever, sensible and sorted, but he still gets it wrong a lot of the time.
Thanks so much for all your reviews! Report Review
After the spat with Apolline, I don't find it surprising that Jacqueline would attempt to win Henri back. To her, Henri is simply a prize to be won. And, the fact that she broke up with him and put him in such a devastating rut means she would only have done it again when she grew tired of him.
I think Apolline did the right thing by approaching Henri. Had she not, Jacqueline might have gotten him back. Now all Apolline must do is convince Henri to give her the painting.
alias093001, Slytherin. Report Review
Henri is getting attached. That's the real problems. His attraction to her is coming out through the painting and he's afraid that he'll lose Apolline if he ever finishes the painting. That's why he's not willing to part with the paint, believing that it will never be finished.
I can understand Henri's concern, but Apolline has been trying to get to know him during the sessions. She doesn't want to let go either, though her efforts at concealing this are better than Henri's.
alias093001, Slytherin.Author's Response: Indeed he is ;) Apolline and the painting are very interconnected in his mind - he's obsessed with both of them, he admires both of them, both of them frustrate him immensely etc. Importantly, he is very scared of losing both or either of them.
Haha, yes, Apolline has arguably been making a bit more of an effort to be friends than Henri has... He's not particularly good at social interaction, bless him.
Thanks again! Report Review
I did not expect Apolline's breakdown over some guy. Being half-Veela, I would not have expected that guy would be the one to destroy the relationship.
Apolline's recent break-up does, however, explain why she's so insistent upon learning about Henri. She wants to feel close to someone again. Henri does not share that sentiment. He is too wrapped up in his work; though he does feel an attraction, enough to get over the break-up he's been working through.
It looks like Robert's plan to help his brother is working.
alias093001, Slytherin.Author's Response: Apolline is, in her own way, rather insecure - she knows she's completely stunning, and also knows that half the time that's all people (especially guys, obviously xP) see about her. At the same time, though, she is used to using her looks to get what she wants and to make people like her, so her personality could use a lot of work (something Henri would definitely agree with). So Andre definitely didn't dump her because he found someone more attrative (probably not possible) but because he found someone who was much less work.
Oh, definitely - Henri's work is the most important thing to him, and though Apolline is starting to see them much more as friends, to him she's still (mainly) just a client with a difficult painting for him to do, albeit a client he fancies rather a lot xP
Glad you're still enjoying it! Report Review
Poor Apolline. She's so impatient for her portrait to be done. She doesn't understand that art takes time to create. That's what makes it beautiful.
While Apolline seems interested in Henri, it does not appear as if he feels the same way, despite his attraction to her. I wonder what Apolline will try next to grab his attention.
alias093001, Slytherin.Author's Response: She certainly is impatient - not something that exactly endears her to Henri who is determined to make his masterpiece perfect...
Haha well, she definitely has a few tricks up her sleeve, as the next couple of chapters certainly prove xD
Thanks again! Report Review
Given Henri's immediate attraction to her because of the Veela allure, it makes me wonder if what Robert said before was true. Is Apolline really just a friend of a friend?
I get the feeling that Apolline did not expect just how demanding this would be when she asked to have her portrait done. Henri's dedication to his work seems to have taken her by surprise.
Both Henri and Apolline seem to be characterized well, for what little is known about them. I'm curious as to how their relationship will progress.
alias093001, Slytherin.Author's Response: Is she indeed... you'll have to wait and see about that one ;)
I agree with you there - Apolline sort of just took the attitude of "oh, I've got a bit of spare cash, and I'm a pretty vain sort of person, so why don't I get a portrait done?" whereas for Henri, this is his livelihood and his passion. I'm glad you like their characterisations too.
Thanks so much for another review!
This sounds like an interesting story. Rarely have I ever seen Fleur's parents written about.
The idea of Monsieur Delacour - Henri - being an artist is an interesting twist. That would provide a realistic explanation as to how he and Apolline first met.
Robert sounds like the extremely protective sort of person. I can understand why he would want try to help, but it kind of seems like he's going about it the wrong way.
alias093001, Slytherin.Author's Response: Thank you so much for all your reviews! I'm so sorry I've only just got around to replying to them - I've been on a bit of a break and have only just seen them.
I really think there should be more stories about Fleur's parents - there's so much you can do with them! Aww I think that's a good way to describe Robert, actually - I do rather like him, and he is usually just trying to help, but he does often do the wrong thing where Henri is concerned.
Thanks for the review! I'm really glad you enjoyed it :) Report Review
That was a really beautiful moment between the two of them at the end. I can't help but wonder what it will mean Report Review
That was a really beautiful moment between the two of them at the end. I can't help but wonder what it will meanAuthor's Response: Aww I'm glad you liked that :) Thanks for both of your reviews! Report Review
"I ... Thank you."
Classic! Reminds me of the OC hahaAuthor's Response: Haha I'm glad you liked that, I've never actually seen the OC but I'll take your word for it ;) I was inspired by the classic Star Wars moment: "I love you" she says; "I know" he replies xD Report Review
I just stumbled upon this story today and one word - wow! It's lovely. I like the premise and I can't wait to see where it goes. It's a nice breezy read, and Henri's character is great, I like his reclusive artist nature :)Author's Response: Aww, thank you! I'm very glad you're enjoying the story, and especially that you like Henri - he's really rather fun to write xD
Thanks so much for the review! Report Review
God, I'm so glad they're together now - and even more glad that they're not a typical couple right off the bat. I can't see Henri in a cliche, cuddly, PDA relationship - he's too awkward with people for that. :D
This is a wonderful chapter - it made me happy! Like most of your updates do, I will admit.
I also love that he showed her the portrait. And I also love that she requested to be painted doing/wearing/etc. certain things, and he would ignore that and paint her as he wanted to. It's a touch that shows you a lot about both Henri and Apolline.
Loved it. :)Author's Response: Yay, I'm glad that you're glad! Haha, Henri and PDA in the same sentence?? Definitely not his style. You're right, he's much too awkward, and too much of a snob as well, to really go for that xD
Aww, thank you! That's just the kind of thing that puts a smile on your face, which is exactly what I need after a day of reading Dickens for my english coursework :(
Oh I'm glad you liked that! And Henri always knows best, obviously, so if she wasn't going to agree with him then he'll just have to do it his own way. Thanks so much for another brilliant review, and I'm really glad you enjoyed the chapter - after all your loyal reviewing, I'd hate to disappoint you! Report Review
It's really interesting with the whole come alive thing, I never really thought of paintings like that. But his selfishness about animating the picture and then giving it to her makes me wonder. Why doesn't he just replicate it? Ahahaha just kidding. But it's interesting how she just understands and leaves. This has the makings of a very beautiful love story between two unlikely people. Since I only do 5 chapters at a time, feel free to rerequest on my review thread for the next chapters! But until then, keep writing dear, you're quite good at it :) I especially admire your 1st person narrative.
~EstrellaAuthor's Response: The way the portraits are used in the books is one of my favourite things about the HP world, and I've wanted to write a story involving them somehow, even though I'm not quite sure how they're meant to work. Glad you liked my attempted explanation, though. Haha yes he could just replicate it... but shush, I like my plot-holes xD
I'm really glad you've enjoyed this story, and I'm sure I'll be requesting again in the future! Thanks for all your great reviews :) Report Review
"If he is completely honest, he has little sympathy for her." -- Loved this, along with his reaction to her sporadic behavior. He doesn't care much about her emotions and definitely does not know how to handle her, while she can't handle herself very well. She is indeed a diva and part Veela, and you bring that out very well. So well done! The characters are indeed growing quite well:)
~EstrellaAuthor's Response: I think he's just rather bemused by the whole situation really, poor guy :P He's never met anyone like Apolline before, and has little time for diva-like behaviour. He does care about her emotions, I suppose, just not at times like this when he thinks she's just being silly, which she is a little bit xP
Thanks again! Report Review
hmm I like the way you ended it, with a slight cliffhanger. Their relationship has definitely grown, and I can see hints of a future attraction occuring :) Once again, good characterization of Henri -- and through his PoV, great characterization of Apolline (at least she seems to be self absorbed). Let's see where this relationship leads!
It's quite a beautiful love story, since the man is a recluse and struggles for perfection and the woman is always out there and social and does not have to try to achieve perfection. You made the two characters rather opposites, but they can and will work :) Good job on that. 9/10
~EstrellaAuthor's Response: Yep, definitely a bit of attraction there ;) Henri has obviously found her very attractive since day one, he just has to come around to her as a person now as well, and Apolline has to try and look past his grumpiness...
I know it's a bit of a cliche, but I do like opposites-attract stories, and these two are definitely exact opposites! Thanks for another lovely review :) Report Review
Okay - so don't judge me, but after reading the first bit of this chapter, I realized it was about Fleur's parents meeting. I don't like reading summaries before reading, because I think writing should speak for itself, but I feel more interested now that these aren't two OCs.
I think it's really interesting how Henri is obsessed with the idea of perfection and how when Apolline walks in, he realizes that she is perfect. His search for flaws only results in her personality flaws. You really made him sound like an artist who has just been given a nearly impossible task. He finally underestimates his abilities in light of this beautiful woman. It's actually very sweet. I wish we had a little insight from Apolline's PoV, but as long as you keep things moving, that shouldn't be a problem :)
Your writing is very good, as is your 1st person. Characterization is done well for Henri, but we still don't know so much about Apolline -- but that will change :)
~EstrellaAuthor's Response: Oh haha, I should probably have made that a bit clearer in the chapter itself - I made sure to put the name 'Delacour' in the summary, but otherwise there's nothing. I know what you mean - I prefer stories about canon characters to OC-centric ones.
I'm glad you liked that idea! Yes, Henri is in general quite arrogant, and usually very confident in his artistic abilities, but this just has him stumped, poor guy. I tend to write stories from only one POV, but you'll definitely find out more about Apolline in the next few chapters... even if it is mainly from Henri's POV, if that makes sense :P
I'm glad you're enjoying it so far! Report Review
The beginning of this was very good -- started off the story well with some character background without explicitly telling readers who people were (we picked it up from dialogue, etc). It wasn't long or tedious, and it did leave some explaining for the next chapter. I don't have an exact opinion on your work at the moment since I've just started reading, so I'll let you know the next chapter! :) I wish we had met Apolline this chapter or you had left a cliffhanger, but nevertheless, I'm on to the next one!
Oh, and one thing:
"Don't mention it. What are brothers for? Robert --- you forgot the end quotation mark after for?
~EstrellaAuthor's Response: Oh thank you, that's really good to hear - I've been trying to work on the basis of show-don't-tell, so I'm glad that's working out :)
Oops, thanks for pointing that out, I'll go and correct it now.
Thanks for the suggestions! Report Review
hi again. I saw your response to my review and even it's kind of lame, but I'm grinning like an idiot right now too ;).
The first chapter was a magnificent introduction, but I really love the chapters that have Apolline in it. She's just so fun to read and her character clashes with Henri's. Not in a bad way...it gives them chemistry!
Thank god Henri had enough sense to stop drooling like an idiot after her. Apolline probably gets it all the time and I think this is why she is so attracted to him in the later chapters. He is so matter-of-fact and he doesn't show that he is swayed by her beauty; it must be a lovely change from all the other blokes :)
I took a philosophy class and we discussed art quite a lot, especially the question you posed at the end. Does true beauty exist? What makes art, art? Your writing sounds really intelligent and thought out...you must have researched this thoroughly or taken a class or something?
Once again, wonderful job! 10/10!Author's Response: Haha aww, well I'm glad :P I'm really happy you like Apolline - I rather like her too, and she's so much fun to write. I always think opposites-attract stories are some of the most interesting, so I agree that it's a good thing they clash!
Yep, she definitely wouldn't like that much - she's too used to it. I mean, she is half-veela, I'm pretty sure most of the world spend their time gawping at her. And yeah, that's a large part of the reason she's attracted to Henri - it makes him stand out from the crowd.
Haha no I haven't done much research - I got the idea from a couple of taster philosophy classes I went to. I found it all a bit much to take in, so I don't do philosophy now, but at least it helped me with this story xD
Thanks so much! I'm really glad you're enjoying the story :) Report Review
Hi there. I was supposed to have this review completed ages ago...but I just got off hiatus...and here I am. This story sucked me in from the very first chapter. I've already read up to chapter 6 and am going to make this a favourite. You are a magnificent writer.
So, what did I like most in this chapter? Henri's cynicism? His brother's optimism. I don't know. Everything molded together perfectly. Your description of Henri finding comfort in writing EVEN though writing obviously wasn't a talent of his was...brilliant. I've certainly felt like that on occasion, although it doesn't seem to be a problem you have!
Jacqueline's a prude...I knew that as soon as I read. Of course, Henri is far from perfect (I want to say existential, but I dunno if that would be the right word for it). Overall, this chapter just captured me and made me want to read more.
Apolline in the next chapter! I can't wait! I would give you criticism, but I found none. Your imagination is wonderful and it is obvious you have a passion for writing. 10/10Author's Response: Hi bedella! Haha don't worry, I've done that plenty of times x) Wow, thank you, I'm very glad you liked it!
Aww glad you like both Henri and Robert - most people seem to be a fan of either one or the other, but usually not both of them. Ohh I wish that was true, but unfortunately it's a problem I suffer from a worrying amount of the time xP Yeah Jacqueline is a bit of a prude, a bit of a cold fish I suppose. Either way, she wasn't particularly nice to poor Henri :(
Thanks so much for this lovely review! I'm grinning like an idiot right now. Report Review
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