Reading Reviews for winter, cry.
26 Reviews Found

Review #1, by floralprint winter, cry.

14th January 2015:
I commend you on this beautiful fic, it is very moving.

Your characterization is flawless, I could relate very much with Irma. I grew up with my mom and brother and we never had any money and moved constantly, I was always the poor "scholarship" student with secondhand things, so I felt a very significant connection with your description of Irma's tough life. You chose the perfect details to highlight her situation.

It was great how Dumbledore picked her out amongst all the students to take over the library, he is a very observant in the books, and I like how you carried this over into your fic.

Every bit of this was enjoyable to read, your writing is so inspiring and it makes me want to practice one-shots (I'm sooo rusty and barely have anything written.)

'The winter she is twenty' is probably my favorite section. Your description of her relationship with the photographer was so well done. Again, all of your details just made it so realistic!

-Ash xx

Author's Response: ahhh, i'm so glad you enjoyed the fic honey!

coincidentally i also grew up with my mum and brother with very little money and always moving around - i definitely didn't draw all of irma's experiences with that from my own life but i think it definitely helped me relate to that part of her while writing it, and i'm really glad you connected to her through that too.

i always see dumbledore as the type who would show up places unexpectedly for exactly the right reason - like, he always had these little plans running along and knew the exact time to act on them, if that makes sense? so i imagine he noticed irma while she was at school, but never had a reason to talk to her, just filed her away for future reference until the librarian retired.

i am sure your writing is gorgeous, shush! but i am very honoured to be called inspiring either way, haha. thanks so much for this incredibly sweet review!

~Maia xxx

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Review #2, by Your Secret Santa :) winter, cry.

25th December 2014:
Merry Christmas, Maia! (I know it might not be Christmas for you anymore, but here it's still Christmas, and 8pm was the first free time I had.) I was scrolling through your AP looking for something to review and this caught my eye. Maybe because it's somewhat the same style as bloom is - an excellent portrait of how a character got to be the way they did - but I've already reviewed bloom so I wasn't going to do that again.

And I loved this. It will get favourited once the Secret Santa period's over (so you can't read this review and go through the list of people who favourited trying to guess who I am.) I loved your depiction of Irma and how she got to be at Hogwarts, I loved the way you described everything, I loved how you focused on winter.

Kids can be really cruel, can't they? If she had never been outside before, talked to anyone but her mother and landlord, she wouldn't know how to deal with them. "They’re just surprised, she decides, and still isn’t nervous, isn’t self-conscious, because she doesn’t know she should be." I think this line is perfect. It shows exactly how uncertain she is, how innocent and confused. And yes, kids are very very blunt.

Maia, you should write more stories like this. (And make more lovely graphics for them. I may or may not stalk your gallery.) Just for the record, at NaNo I thought your novel was FF *looks awkward* Since it's OF, when you finish it, you should let me read it. I would love to!

Your Secret Santa! (Have any idea yet as to who I am?)

Author's Response: why hello there secret santa! because i always take way too long to reply to reviews it is indeed not christmas anymore, but it was when you sent this to me!

you seriously overestimate how sneaky i am at figuring out who you are, so you totally could have faved this and i never would have known! that said, i do have a pretty good idea who you are ;) ;) i recognise your lovely reviewing style, i think. but i'm not putting it in the guessing thread in case i'm wrong, haha!

i loved writing this story, and in a lot of ways it influenced the style of bloom, so i'm really glad you liked it! i actually considered linking this to bloom by having poppy and irma meet at the end of bloom, but in the end, i ran out of time for the challenge it was being entered to, so it didn't happen :(

I definitely intend to write more stories like this! i think pomona sprout is next on the list... i really hope you liked whatever i come up with next, santa baby!

ahaha don't worry my nano was about witches so i think a lot of people thought it was gonna be FF :P it might not get finished for a while, but if i know who you are by then, i'll definitely send it your way, haha! ;)

thanks so much for this gorgeous review!

~maia xx

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Review #3, by Roisin winter, cry.

6th September 2014:
AH! The tears! Those last few lines got me VERY misty indeed!

This story is really, really excellent! So much about it was beautiful!

You describe poverty very well, and that's something I'm really sensitive to in fiction. Many authors both blow certain things up too big (LITERALLY STARVING TO DEATH), but then never think of the other implications (LITERALLY STARVING, but totes have soap and stuff). The way that Irma is *used* to things, and how casually you give details about her deprivation ("both her robes") was really masterful. And that certain habits are hard to kick (avoiding puddles) is VERY true. Because that's the thing--when you're accustomed to being poor, you don't really notice certain things that someone else might.

As a former gangly poor girl who read a lot and got teased I feel comfortable saying: OH MY GOD EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS STORY WAS SO ACCURATE!

And I loved that her mother was a really likable character, and the joy she felt by being able to provide for her daughter and make her happy. But then, you were smart to introduce some complexity to this, when Irma realizes that she's much better at providing for herself. It was all just fantastic!

This story was so resonant, and nothing ever seemed simple or tropey. You have an amazing way with details. I loved that Irma's ex-lover's new girlfriend is chubby, a mother, with a complicated ex. That's how life is--rich with weird details. And you did double-duty with that, because it enriched his character by showing he's not really a *bad* guy. Bad guys are easy. Mostly good guys who gave some flaws and ultimately it doesn't work out are hard.

And you really succeeded in explaining Irma's quirks! That the students see her as "hawkish" and overly protective of books really does, in this light, just show how spoiled they are.

There's also something really fresh and comfortable about your prose, that I've noticed in your other stories too. A few sentences got very long, and could be divided into two, but overall I really liked your tone and language.

And the comedy! The library's secret volumes on killer bees and house elf novels. Those were great! Plus, the way you wove in details from canon and came to the denouement was wonderful!

I'm SO impressed how you managed--both here, and in "bloom"--to take some of the least charismatic Hogwarts faculty and turn them into such rich and engaging characters.

Excellent job!


Author's Response: Haha, sorry to make you misty ;) But I'm so glad you liked the story!

Me and my brother were raised by a single mother and we never had any money when I was a kid, so, while we didn't have it quite as bad as Irma, we did live in a tiny permanently cold old cottage and didn't have many luxuries and I really felt how stressful it was on my mother, from a very young age. A lot of Irma's experience with that is ripped from my own life and extrapolated to a different era - I'm very glad that part touched you because it was some of the most painful parts for me to write.

I liked writing her relationship with her mother, and in my mind, there will always be certain traditions that Irma carries on to feel close to her mother for the rest of her life. But loving someone unconditionally doesn't mean not acknowledging their faults, and yeah, Irma realising she can actually take better care of herself was a very painful moment - both for her and me! - which was actually a pleasure to write because of how much complexity it introduced to the situation, in my mind.

My worst fear is any of my characters coming across tropey and I'm so so glad you think none of them did here. Exploring 'kinda good but with some flaws' characters is so much fun for me, because I am fascinated with the nuances of the human condition basically. Like you say, real life is always rich with weird details and you can never predict how it's gonna turn out, so that's really what I try to get across in my writing.

I didn't really plot any of this story, but rather sat down and thought about it in emotional terms, and then started writing. I thought about the 'hawkish' and supposedly cruel librarian we see in the books, and then thought, how did she get to that point? And I just felt a lot of hurt and old wounds inside her, and it all kinda spiralled from there. I am really glad you think that showed an accurate representation of her quirks and put a different perspective of her.

Eek, long sentences are a really had habit of mine! I tend to write pretty much stream of consciousness and then I end up with these monstrous sentences that I didn't even take a breath during XD Hopefully they kinda fit with the tone, though.

Haha, I never think I'm that good at adding comedic touches, so I'm really glad you picked up on those little moments! I would love to be able to weave a kind of humorous absurdity in with my sad stories, but I just don't think I'm there yet.

Thank you so much for this fab review, I'm so glad you liked both this and Bloom!!


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Review #4, by Yoshi_Kitten winter, cry.

22nd August 2014:
OMGosh, I am SO happy right now that you requested this for the Swap, cuz I don't think I ever would have found this story otherwise!! And, boy, did I ever LOVE reading this!! So first of all, thank you for the super-fantastic read! I love the title, and how you told the story thru the winter months of her life. It was all so very good!! =)

This was an incredible take on the Hogwarts Librarian's life. Honestly, I've never really given Madame Pince a second thought before, but you really made me feel something for her. I think I related to her the most when she was being laughed at by the other kids tho. I was bullied a LOT when I was younger, and most of that was because I always had my nose in a book too. (Go figure, lol.) So, being someone who found solace in books and turned to them, rather than people, at a young age; I can totally relate to her here.

"This is the first time a book is her salvation, and it changes something in her."
I completely understand what that is like. When I was her age (at that point in the story) the Animorphs books were what I read to escape, and after that it was Lord of the Rings, and then finally Harry Potter. Kids can be SO cruel tho, and you captured that perfectly. Honestly, THAT was the part that got to me, more so than her mother's death, because I understood exactly how she must have felt there. ='(

I also liked the winter where she was in love, and I enjoyed your take on the nameless-photographer man. It was sad tho, that he never took pictures of her, and even more heartbreaking that Irma knew this was because he didn't love her or find her beautiful. I figured it wasn't going to last, but I was still so sad when he left her for that other woman tho. Poor Irma!

Dumbledore was brilliant!! Of course he would have noticed her spending ALL her time in the library, once she finally discovered it, and caught onto the fact that books were her life. Not much ever got past Dumbledore, lol. He probably had her in mind to be the new librarian long before the previous one retired. Good for him, for finally giving her a true home and a real purpose for her life. That was one of my favorite parts!! (:

And the contrast you made between the two wars; how she was hardly effected by the first one, was a good concept also. It was sad tho, to think that nobody would have missed her if she had died in the first war. I am glad that she was more loved and respected by the time the second war came about. I also loved the concept of her having tea and biscuits with McGonagall. I was glad to see the two of them becoming somewhat friends by the end of all this. The way she stood of for that little girl, even tho the child was going thru her stuff, was amazing. It spoke volumes of how much she had grown over the years.

This was perfect. Just absolutely perfect, hun. Thank you again so much for requesting it!! I am in love with your writing style, and I will definitely have to check out more of your work now. Also, I (may or may not have) stalked your gallery at TDA last night too, lol. You are a superb artist!! I love your art just as much as your writing! Anyways, welcome to my favorite author's list, and I think I shall be favoriting this story as well. I am so gonna recommend this to my two best friends here on the site too, cuz it is just SO GOOD!! Honestly, this is how I will always imagine Madame Pince's life from now on. =)


Author's Response: Oh my god, thank you SO much for this lovely review! I am so glad you liked the weird way I wrote this story ;P

I had never really given Madam Pince a second thought before writing this, either, and it was so interesting to try and get inside her head and think up what could have made her the way she is in canon.

I was impossibly into reading from a very age so I totally relate to her on that too. I didn't really get on with other kids - I was way too shy - so a lot of her childhood experiences are similar to my own, haha.

I was six when I first started reading Harry Potter - I actually kinda taught myself to read properly with it, since I wouldn't let anyone else read it to me - and the series totally changed me just the way books have changed Irma in this. I got so much comfort from the HP series, and then from other books as my love of reading just developed more and more. I tried to show a similar thing with her, how as everything else gets worse she just loses herself more and more in books for comfort.

Writing her in love was very fun, trying to imagine the kind of person she would fall for and then writing the sadness that he didn't love her back. I love writing sad little love stories like that, oops.

I have never tried to write Dumbledore before so even though he was only in a tiny scene I'm really glad you thought he was good! Not much ever did get past him and I like the idea that he noticed Irma in school even though they never really interacted. He always did seem to know which students needed help and how to give it to them, even in tiny ways - like giving Neville house points for standing up to his friends in PS, so that Neville was really the one who won the house cup. I like to think this is him doing the same for Irma.

I didn't even really actively think about the contrast between the two wars but just because of how much her life has changed there is such a huge difference between then and I'm glad you thought that worked!

Thank you so, so much for your awesome review, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the story so much!!! and omg I'm glad you like my graphics too, thanks so much ♥


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Review #5, by zealousVisionary winter, cry.

9th July 2014:
House Cup 2014 Review

Wow, what a beautifully written fic! Irma Pince is one of those characters I've never really thought about, and this fic just gives her so much depth. I really did love reading her backstory.

Telling Irma's story through winters was a wonderful idea, and it was executed brilliantly, each winter adding more layers to Irma's character. This story was a heartbreaking one at times, especially during her childhood, but it was just told so well. It was so interesting how you incorporated her love of books as well.

I also enjoyed this piece's writing a lot. It's fairly simple, but at the same time powerful, and perfect for telling a story like this one.

The ending was my favorite part without question. Irma defending the student and feeling brave for the first time in her life is a great way to end the story, and a powerful one, too.

Great story! I definitely will be reading more of your work!

Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much for this lovely review! I had never thought about Irma much at all until I got assigned her in this challenge, but I'm so glad I did, as I had so much fun writing this. It was so interesting to think about what could have turned her into the bitter person we see in the books, so I knew there had to be some tragedy in her backstory, which led to the melancholy tone in this, though I tried to give it an uplifting ending because I'm a sap, haha.

Thanks so much for the review!


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Review #6, by Ravenclaw333 winter, cry.

14th May 2014:
I have tears in my eyes and an complete and utter inability to write a coherent review but this was amazing, absolutely amazing and heartbreaking and poignant and I NEED to read more of your stuff right now yep.

Author's Response: ahhh, you're so sweet! i'm so so glad you liked it!

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Review #7, by prettywishes winter, cry.

18th January 2014:
This was absolutely beautiful, seriously amazing story telling. Even though this was only a one shot I feel more connected to Irma than I do with so many characters in novels. The idea to write from the point of view of someone who is usually forgotten gives so much freedom, and I really like what you did with it! Books have so much meaning to me, and seeing how much they meant to her too was really fun. One of the best things I've read on this site!

Author's Response: Wow, I'm so glad you liked it, this is a really lovely review. I'm really glad you felt connected to Irma, I tried to make her as sympathetic a character as possible, largely because she's so villianised in the books. I wanted to explore what could have possible made her that resentful towards children. Books have a lot of meaning to me too, and I actually based a lot of her love of books on my own past, so I'm glad you could identify with that.

Wow, I'm so glad you liked it so much! Thanks so much for reviewing < 3


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Review #8, by h winter, cry.

14th December 2013:
i really loved it. this was one of the best things i have read recently.

Author's Response: Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it :)


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Review #9, by gleefreak123 winter, cry.

14th December 2013:
Your title was correct because it is winter and I did cry! Irma Pince who knew I would be so sad for her!!! I never thought of her before I read this and now I think she is one of my favourite characters. Loved it.

Author's Response: Ahah, Aww, I'm glad you liked it! Sorry about making you cry :P


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Review #10, by darcy. S winter, cry.

14th December 2013:
i. just. there are not even words for how you have blown me away with this story. i think you should be a professional writer and i would buy so many copies of every book you ever wrote! i am in love with irma pince now, i never thought i would say that!


Author's Response: Gosh, this is just the sweetest review, I don't even know how to respond! Thank you so much!


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Review #11, by Courtney Dark winter, cry.

1st December 2013:

Wow, this was an absolutely incredible one-shot! Like...I don't even seem to have words which describe how much I enjoyed it! You are a seriously talented author, though I must demand rather rudely that you write more, and quickly, because I have now read everything that is up on your author's page - sob!

I'm sorry I can't make this review longer - I have an exam in and a half hours and so should probably be getting ready.

But anyway, some quick points:

I loved the style which you wrote this in. The third person, present tense with the quick flashes through Irma's life. And I really loved the flashes you showed us - how she stole books and loved them to bits, how those horrible children wouldn't let her play with them and, most important, the memory when she was forty-four, and was brave for the first time.

I loved the fact that she was clutching the first ever proper book she's brought as she defended herself and the student against Amycus. It was just the perfect ending to the perfect one-shot!


Author's Response: Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it so much! There is definitely more writing coming from me soon, some of it even in the next few days, so you're in luck :P

Eek, good luck with your exam!

Aww, I'm really glad you liked all those parts. I was just trying to add as much backstory as I could which is why I wrote it in such short flashes but I'm really glad you think it worked :)

Thanks for the review!


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Review #12, by nott theodore winter, cry.

26th November 2013:
Hi! I'm here for review tag! I've been trying to follow you for a while because I've heard such amazing things about this, and someone else keeps snagging you! Luckily I got here now, and I have to say, you definitely deserved to win the challenge - this was beautiful!

I really absolutely love minor characters. I've tried writing about Irma Pince before myself but never made it through a whole story, and this has now basically become my head canon. You've crafted such a deep and thoughtful portrayal of her character that I was amazed as I read it. Somehow you've managed to take everything I love about FF and wrap it up in this one-shot.

The title fit so perfectly. The idea of telling the story of Irma's life through the winters that were significant in it is brilliant, truly. Each of the moments you chose fit perfectly and helped to build up the complex layers of Irma's character.

Her childhood seemed so heartbreaking! It's not often we see someone in the HP universe who's grown up in true poverty - there seemed to be some parallels with Harry's character, but in a way, I actually found myself sympathising with Irma more than I do now with Harry. The fact that she didn't have a father, that her mother struggled so constantly to keep a roof over their heads, that she never had other children to play with... every detail that you managed to include in the tale of her childhood was so moving. Then when the other children refused to play with her, and she realised for the first time in her life that something that was entirely beyond her control mattered so much and would make such a difference to her life... wow. I was almost in tears at that part, and I never thought I'd have that reaction to a story about Irma Pince!

My favourite thing about this story was probably that, while you told her story through winters, the focus on books - the one detail we really know about her from the series - was so prevalent. In this story Irma became so much more than a grumpy woman who was obsessed with keeping order in the library. I really admire stories that manage to do that, and it was such a pleasure to read this one. All my life, I've loved books, but here I got the sense that they were the only thing, the one constant, in Irma's life, and because of that she clung to them even more. The tie-in between her buying her first new book and the reason that she does what she does at the end was fantastic. I loved the circularity there, as well as in the section about her loving the library and then her finally getting the chance to go back there - to go home.

Dumbledore! ♥ I love the fact that Irma thought he'd never noticed her at school, that she wasn't significant enough to notice, and yet Dumbledore has come to her and noticed her, like he seems to do for all the people who are lost and need help on their way. I loved the fact that he was able to give her, in the job at Hogwarts, a home that he also gave so many others. It's such a big theme in the books and for a character like Irma I can really see how the castle would become a home, just as it does for all the other lonely children who go there.

The contrast between the two wars and what they meant for Irma was really well crafted and written. In a way, the first wizarding war seemed to wash over her, as did everything else at that period in her life. Then the second war came, and she suddenly had something to fight for, and that added yet another layer to her character that actually made me love her even more. I love the idea of Irma and Minerva becoming friends, more out of convenience than anything else, but also the fact that through that, they both find some solace - and, I suspect, Irma begins to care more about the students than she has before.

The ending was simply perfect. I was so proud of her, standing up to Amycus, and the fact that she does it with her book, and is standing up for a scared child, just as she once was... simply perfect.

I can't really say much else about this piece - the emotions, the imagery, your characterisation - everything was amazing and you definitely deserve to have won. I'm so pleased that I finally got a chance to read this, and sorry at the excessive gushing in this review!

Sian :)

Author's Response: I'm so flattered that you wanted to read this story that much! I can't believe how much everyone has seemed to like this story, it's really blown me away, so I'm glad you've been hearing good things about it haha.

I love minor characters a lot. The only other proper story I have up here at the moment is about Regulus Black and Mary Macdonald, so that involved a similar thing - taking the little we know from canon and trying to expand it into a character that still makes sense with those facts, but is also well rounded and deep. I had a lot of fun doing that with Irma and I'm glad you think it worked!!

I honestly don't know where the title came from - I thought of it before I even had a proper idea of what the story was going to be, and almost scrapped it because I thought it didn't make sense and was a stupid title. But for some reason I decided to keep it, and I'm glad I did because it ended up fitting the story really well!

For her childhood, I really just tried to think about what could possibly make her love books as much as canon Irma did, that she was so protective over keeping them in perfect condition and so mad at the students who didn't respect them. it just seemed to make sense to me that she had never had anything new or perfect as a child, that she had grown up in poverty and had everything second hand and already broken and stained. I think that would mean that she would always have respect for things, not just books but all possessions that might have a second owner, because she would know how it felt for something so bad to be passed on to you. So she would want to keep the books in perfect condition for the next owners, because she really felt for them. That, plus the fact that I grew up in a very poor single parent household and loved books, so had quite a bit to base it on, kind of fed into her whole backstory and created the fic!

I am really glad you liked the ending. I first thought of ending it with her dying, but by the time I got to the point to write it, I had fallen in love with her too much to go through with writing the words! But I'm glad I backed out and left it ambiguous, because it gave me the reason to write the end where she becomes brave, because it made the ending a lot happier! So it's up to the reader what they think happens to her after that :)

I am so glad you liked it, and thanks for this awesome review. Your entry to the challenge was fantastic as well - I am about to review it for review tag!


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Review #13, by Lady Asphodel winter, cry.

16th November 2013:
Before I launch into my review,

I had to say how curious I was about your title. And now that I've read this, I can truly see why the title suits this one-shot! ;)

Secondly, I could have sworn that I said I was gonna read and review this in the review thread before... I'm not sure if I did post that after you... and if I did and never got around to this, I sincerely apologize. I don't know how I let this slip pass me. o.0

Anyways, on to my thoughts of this piece here. :)

This... like your other works... is amazing. I mean. You are a very excellent writer hun. I am amazed.

I am sorry if I sound incoherent because my thoughts are just jumbled up from reading your wonderful words, and I'm trying to take the time to set it right.

. ahem ahem...

So... Reading Irma growing up was honestly heart breaking but a great ride to go through. It's like reading about myself and those who have been in Irma's shoes... as I am looking through Irma's eyes.

I don't know much about Irma Pince... Not at all actually... and I never gave her a second thought... but... I'm not sure if you made this up... in terms of how the Librarian grew up... or you got the idea from her already existent background from other sources.

If that's not the case... and this is all just from your imagination... I'll believe that is exactly how Madame Pince's life has always been.

You did brilliantly. I think beyond this point... whatever I read... I'll believe that it actually happen. :P And it's because your words are so enchanting! :D It's a gift I wish I could possess.

My favorite part is when she stood up for the student at the ending. You showed that... "what doesn't kill you... makes you stronger." And this was definitely portrayed well here.

This is just wonderful... ♥

I feel like a broken record... keep repeating the same compliments over and over again... but I just feel astounded that's all. Forgive me! -^_^-

From the review thread,

- Asphodel

Author's Response: Ahh, what a fantastic review this is! Thank you so much, I'm really glad you liked it :D

I don't really know where the title came from, I know it's a little odd - I actually came up with it way before the idea for the fic was properly fleshed out, when all I knew was that I was gonna be writing about Irma, my brain gave me the title and I was like "What even is this, Maia? IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE YOU SILLY GIRL." But then I ended up using it, haha, so I'm glad you thought it fitted the story!

Honestly, almost all of this is my headcanon. There's basically nothing written about Madam Pince, in the books or in JKs extra details released through Pottermore and things. All I really had to go on was her name, her attitude of being very mean and protective of the books, and her hinted at relationship with Filch in the last couple of books. Well, I ended up not writing about that last point, so really I was only working with two tiny bits of knowledge about her! I just kind of sat down and tried to figure out what could possibly make a person this obsessed with keeping books clean and perfect and why they could mean so much to her, and very gradually parts of her backstory came to me until I ended up with this! So I'm so glad you liked it and found it moving, I was really just trying to make it as believable as possible.

Thanks for such an amazing review, this was so lovely to read < 3


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Review #14, by Haronione winter, cry.

4th November 2013:
Ok, I need a minute to compose myself! *ahem* This was an amazing story, so beautifully written and just... just wonderful!!

Who would have thought that Irma Pince had such a sad but interesting story?! I didn't! Before this she was just the book obsessed, pinch-faced, scary librarian of Hogwarts, but now? Now, she is so much more! You have really delved into the character here and given her a past, a reason for why she was who she was in the series. Just brilliant!

You wrote this in quite a different style, and for me it was perfect for the story (I can't really explain my reasoning for this, I just know that's how I feel about it) So, I think I mentioned in a past review to you about long, run on sentences - they were here again in this story, but actually, they worked perfectly here, fitted in with the narrative. The change to short choppy sentences every now-and-then just really added emphasis to the importance of what was being said. I'm not entirely sure that made sense, I know what I'm trying to say but not sure I'm conveying it very well! I think I shall now just say that I felt it was beautifully written!!

This tale of Irma's life made me really feel for her and actually made me quite sad for her! What a sad lonely childhood she had, ad it didn't improve greatly as she grew up :( I felt this line was quite tragic 'She's never actually played with another child before' to reach seven years of age and to have never played with another child, this just showed how lonely her childhood was :( And then when she goes outside and the other children are so horrible to her and she just says 'oh, okay' heartbreaking!! And this line is so poignant and beautiful, and really made me empathise with Irma 'But this is the first time she reads to escape, reads to become someone else, reads for comfort and love and the assurance that sometimes, in other lives, in other worlds - sometimes there are happy endings'

Oh my Merlin! I absolutely adored the scene in Diagon Alley!! It started out so sad, her having to buy crummy, scruffy, second hand stuff that's barely fit for purpose, and then her mother gives her the ultimate gift This was wonderful and I loved her mother so much in that moment! I felt so happy for Irma here and felt her joy and excitement about that book, and most of all I loved the way she cherished it! I think I should get my children to read that passage ;)

So, I was thinking it was rather bizarre that she only discovers the Hogwarts library when she is 13, for a child that loves books I just felt that it would have been the first place she discovers when she goes to Hogwarts. BUT then you go on to explain why... and then it made total sense that she wouldn't have gone there! This also made me sad for her, that her difference from the other students, that their mocking and teasing, along with her fear that it would be taken away from her, would keep her away from a place she could seek comfort and enjoyment. This was brilliant (from the story point of view, not for Irma!)

It broke my heart a little bit when Irma got the letter. And then that section ends with 'And not a single person misses her.' :(

I was really hoping that she was going to get a happy ending when she meets the boy. But, of course, she doesn't. It just left her more heartbroken and alone :( Poor Irma!

I loved your incorporation of the war, or rather the end of the first war, in this and how it affected Irma (or didn't, as the case may be) I thought this really emphasised the loneliness and solitude Irma lived in.

I really liked the scene where Dumbledore offers her the job. How she reminisces about the library in so much detail but then can only offer Dumbledore a one word answer :)

The ending, gah I thought she was going to be killed! That or that her sacred book would be destroyed - what makes me sad here is that I'm not sure which of those Irma would have seen as the worst outcome! I did love that she found courage to stand up to Carrow. It says its the first time she feel brave, and I can see why she would think that, but I think that she has been brave her whole life. She has been through so much and not had much to keep her going (physically or emotionally) and yet she still carries on, still lives her life, still has goals.

I have really, really gone on a bit here, haven't I?! I'm nearly done, honest!

I really loved that this story was told through the different winters of her life and it flowed really well from one to another. Sometimes stories like this, that jump from one point in time to another, can seem confusing and the flow interrupted, not this one though :) Each time period is introduced so simply and repetitively but the effect was great!

So, all that's really left to say (and I think you've probably worked this out already) is that I loved this story! You are a very talented writer and I look forward to reading more from you!!

Haronione ♥

Author's Response: Okay, I have really waited a shamefully long time to reply to this review. But you've blown me away with how incredible it is, I wanted to write a response that would do it justice! I may have to give up on that, though :P

Basically, I'm just so glad you liked this! I can't respond to every section you've written here because I would be too overcome with the compliments and just dissolve into a puddle or something :P This is definitely my favourite story that I've ever written so I'm so glad that everyone seems to like it so much, and I've been blown away by all these incredible responses.

This review means so much to me and I'm so, so glad you liked my little look at the long life of Irma Pince.


~Maia xx

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Review #15, by quixotic winter, cry.

3rd November 2013:
Hi! I'm here from the Blue and Bronze Review Battle!

Irma Pince has always struck to me as a prudish, slightly over possessive about her books and, in some cases, downright scary. This is probably the first time I've ever felt pity for her.

You've written her story so beautifully, effortlessly sliding through the ages. I think the part which touched my the most is when Irma falls in love with a man who can never think about this way. It's just that she's had such a hard childhood that a broken heart added to it seems almost cruel.

You've really built up the suspense towards the end. I'm just left wondering what Amycus Carrow did to her. Argh, you really know how to leave a reader hanging.

Amazing story. I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to read this. This story makes me feel quite embarrassed about my own entry for the Unexpected Voice Challenge for it's nowhere near as good as yours. Write on!

Author's Response: Hiya! Aww, I'm really glad you liked it :) I had the same view of Irma as you did before I started writing this story, and writing it really changed my whole opinion of her and reminded me why I love writing about minor characters so much!

I kind of broke my own heart when writing her love story :( But it just didn't fit the story for her to have a happy relationship, sadly. Still, I like to think she wasn't too damaged by it and she did get over him. Again, really sadly but the people with the worst childhoods do tend to be those who end up worse off in love :(

I'm glad you liked the end! I really wanted to leave it up to the reader what they thought happened to her. Mostly because I can't even decide myself, haha, I was originally planning for her to die but I had gotten too attached to her by the time it came to actually write that scene, I couldn't do it!

Thanks so much for the review :) I'm sure your entry is amazing! Good luck :P


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Review #16, by APerkins winter, cry.

3rd November 2013:
Ok (deep breath)
confession time.

I have started to read this a few times when it has come up in review tag, and got stuck on the first couple of lines and decided I couldnt review it fairly - cause it was completely outside my comfort zone.
I wish I had read it sooner!

There is nothing wrong with the first couple of lines, but it is in present tense, which I always find difficult to read (and write, so let me congratulate you on that being well done!)

Also, it felt like a montage with a sad ending (yeah, picked that up in the writing style from the first few lines) as opposed to a story, and for some stupid reason my brain was like "you dont want to read a collection of scenes, you cant process such disjointedness" and "you hate sad endings you like disney endings" so again, I didnt bother to read any further..

I am a fool!

that was jsut beautiful. the present tense writing made the thing eerie, and beautiful. It was a lovely overview of Irma Pince, and it wasnt a sad ending, it was a courageous, strong uplifting ending (even if it does cost her life. It is a beautiful sacrifice as opposed to a senseless tragedy.)

And even though I am chronically over tired, and the scenes changed from one winter to another a few years later, my brain could actually handle the flow - it wasnt disjointed, it carried us along at a beautiful pace.

Did I mention I like disney endings? I wish you didnt put that depressing romance in.. how... crushing for her.. its not fair, Irma deserved better.

I 'like' her realisation that she has succeeded where her mother failed. Like being entirely the wrong word.
But I do like how you portrayed that realisation. And the heartbreak associated with it. I really like that you didnt labour the point. It is so easy to become redundant when trying to express something like that.

well done, this is beautiful. And I apologise my stupid brain didnt let me read it sooner - it was so deserving of it!

Author's Response: Haha, aww, thanks for this lovely review! I've had lots of stories like that, where I begin to read them several times but think they're not the kind of thing I'll like, and then eventually end up reading and liking them! So I'm glad I could change your mind ;)

Unfortunately I do have a habit of writing slightly depressing stories, haha. I'm not a disney endings kinda gal! But I really did try and make this ending hopeful - and it's up to you whether or not you think she dies at the end. I personally like to think she survives and is the Hogwarts librarian for many many years to come :D

I'm glad you thought it flowed well. I have a habit of writing things like this, with lots of little disjointed scenes, and it's always a struggle to make it work well.

Aww, her romance. I made myself really sad writing that bit! But in a way, it kind of had to happen... she's a solitary kind of person, I couldn't picture her having a happy love story! At the end, I was gonna write in her romance with Filch, but I decided against it and put her friendship with McGonagall instead because I think she didn't really need a romantic storyline, she needed a friend.

I'm so glad you liked it, and thanks for the amazing review < 3


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Review #17, by LilyLou winter, cry.

1st November 2013:
Hi! I'm here for the Ravenclaw Review Tag!

I'm not sure if I can explain just how beautiful I found this one shot to be. I hope you're extremely proud of this-- I would be. It's astounding. Your words were beyond perfection. You made me feel as though I were Irma, living with holes in the toes of my boots. I could feel her numb fingers and I could see the old tattered books she stole. I could feel her pain when her mum died, and I could feel her bravery when she stood up for the little girl in the end. I want you to know how perfect this was, in case you didn't! One of the most beautifully written one shots I've read on this sight-- and I've read a LOT on this site!

Thanks for writing such an amazing one shot!


Author's Response: Awh, thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed it! In a way I am proud of this story but I was also very nervous about posting it because I think it's in a very different style to how I'm used to writing, and I was worried people wouldn't like it, so it means the world to get such nice feedback.

Thank you for the lovely review!


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Review #18, by Rumpelstiltskin winter, cry.

31st October 2013:
Rumpel here from review tag :).

You never cease to completely amaze me. I am so very thrilled that you continuously share your captivating writing ability with us readers!

I'm not sure where to start. Maybe with the awesome symbolism of the winter? It's certainly subtle, but its meaning is vociferous. The winter is serving as a bleak representation of Irma's inner conflicts and emotions. It also aids in assisting Irma's characterization, which is already ingenious without the symbolism.

Then there is the symbolism of the books that Irma holds so dear to her, becoming her sanctuary even to the end.

Might I just add: HOLY CROW, did you seriously create a beautiful piece all around Irma Pince?

It took me a while to formulate a review. I'm awestruck, truly. This story is brilliant; YOU are brilliant! How can any review bring justice to this majesty?

I am often indecisive when choosing my favorite part in a story. This time it wasn't a question, it was easy. It was the ending, where Irma stands up to Carrow.

This was truly amazing!

I'm not sure why you haven't made it to my favorite authors list previously, but you are on there now. It's where you deserve to be.


Author's Response: Ahhh, thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it, and I'm so glad you like all my writing! I am getting so much amazing feedback on this story that I'm honestly blown away by it.

I didn't even have the winter theme when I first started writing this, it was just a collection of scenes from her life, but I decided to add it in because I thought it fit really well with the imagery and feel of the story. I'm so glad you agree! And I'm glad you liked Irma's characterisation, unlike with a lot of my writing I didn't really plan out how I was going to characterise her before I started writing, she just kind of developed on her own as I wrote, which I think might be part of why she seems very realistic (or at least I hope she does!).

It took me quite a while to formulate a response to your review, don't worry! These are honestly some of the kindest words anyone's said about my writing and I'm really glad Irma and her story could touch you like this < 3

Eek, I think you're the first person to favourite author me!! Thank you so much!! Wow, I hope I don't disappoint :P I have a story about Rose Weasley becoming a vampire that I'm just about to put in the queue, so look out for that :P

Thanks so much for the review.


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Review #19, by heartjily4ever winter, cry.

29th October 2013:
Wow. Seriously. I've got to admit, this story is much better than I thought it would be, because I never really thought her life story would be very interesting. But this is amazing. It's so beautifully written, and the way it's done in winters is so clever. I love it. It's a really unique way to write a story. The story by the way is so sad. I felt incredibly truly sorry for Irma, especially when the other children laughed at her. But it made me completely think twice about her. Well done :D ~Frances

Author's Response: I'm glad you liked it! I was really reluctant to write about Irma when I first got her in this challenge but I'm glad I stuck with her in the end :D

I'm glad you liked the winter theme, originally it didn't have that but I decided it was a nice way to tie all the random scenes together, and it seemed to fit, so I'm glad you think it worked!

Thanks for the review :D


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Review #20, by GingeredTea winter, cry.

27th October 2013:
Oh my goodness. I did NOT expect this when I began to read this story. I expected something soft and slow and not-to-deep, but you have brought light to this character that I never saw and done more justice for her than the books ever have and...I'm just out of breath. You made me cry a couple times, made me smile a few as well, and the repetitiveness and the descriptiveness and the emotional aspects were all so beautifully maneuvered. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. I'm from the review thread, by the way.

Oh man, I'm adding this to my favorite and I think this story will be with me for a while - something I'll come back to like Irma back to her books. Wonderful job.

Author's Response: Oh gosh, I'm so glad you liked it! This is such high praise thanks so much. When I first started writing this I anticipated it turning out like you said, "soft and slow and not too deep", but somewhere along the way it spiralled into this and I'm glad it did because people seem to like it! Wow, sorry for making you cry but I'm complimented that my writing could do that :P

Aww, thanks so much for favouriting. Thanks for this lovely review it really made my day!


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Review #21, by Lululuna winter, cry.

26th October 2013:
Hello! :) Thank you for entering my challenge!

Wow, this is a truly spectacular piece. It's moving and tragic and empowering and gave me all the feels. I'm so glad you chose to stick with Irma and this piece really shows how a little-mentioned character can have such a lovely and heartbreaking story to tell with a little imagination.

I really like the style of this one-shot, how it reaches from winter to winter telling important events in Irma's life. In a way, the fragmented and minimalist style compliments the theme of winters being sparse seasons, if you know what I mean. You manage to tell so many stories of her life in just a few words: for example, although of course many events would have happened when she was dating the boy, you summed up the entire period of her life in the perfect number of words needed to tell that story.

The scene where she finds out her mother died was just heartbreaking, truly. I'm not much of a crier but there were a few scenes in particular, this one included, where I just felt so sorry and painful for Irma, and wished someone was there to recognize her worth and help her. Another emotional moment was when she daringly goes out to see if the children would play with her: I wanted so badly for them to accept her, and wished I had been there to stand up for the poor brave girl. You worked magic with making these trials relatable yet also very moving for the reader and helping me to connect even more with Irma.

The thoughts on Voldy's fall were really interesting, how Irma felt like her life didn't really change that much. It really accentuated her loneliness, and was such a unique perspective on these well know events.

I really loved seeing Irma's character development. I probably keep saying that but it's a really artful thing when pulled off correctly and I think you made her truly three-dimensional and real. It was wonderful to see how she made friends with McGonagall, began to come out of her static existence. It shows how while books are brilliant, simply having them alone isn't enough: I feel like Irma needed to reach an identity where she is important to other people, even if she never really thought herself worthy. I loved seeing her gain power and agency over her life, since nobody (well, except for Dumbledore) is there to hold her hand and make things easier.

I really like the style and tone of the piece as well. With lines like "The winter she's forty-four - well." It's like the author is telling the reader Irma's story, in a way that is very familiar yet written in an eloquent and poetic voice. There are some brilliant descriptions, like Irma's clothing when she's being teased by the other children, and her confusion and pain when reading the black letter. There are so many beautiful, powerful images here, I wish I had space to name them all. :)

Oh, oh, that cliffhanger! Personally, I'd like to think Irma survives, of course, and that she will continue to grow into her own and come out of the war an even stronger person, but I love how you've left her fate up for the reader to decide. It was a perfect place to end the story, with Irma being strong and defending the poor student, and the presence of her book that she loved so much. Really, it tied the whole story together perfectly, and showed how Irma has developed as a character while still staying true to who she is. I loved it, and you should be truly proud of this. :)

Author's Response: I have been sitting on this review for a couple of days because I really can't figure out how to respond to this perfection. I'm so glad you liked it! I am honoured to have given you all the feels :P

I'm really glad I stuck with Irma too, I can't believe I didn't want to write about her when I first got her in the challenge! I always love writing about minor characters but this has really opened my eyes to how much you truly can do with them, so thank you for that :D

I really did try to make the story reflect the season, like you, making it minimalist and fragmented and telling only little snippets of stories, so I'm so glad you liked that. This is the style I write in a lot of the time but it doesn't always work so well, so I'm really glad you thought it worked here.

I wanted to write a scene about the first war because obviously it's a huge event and I felt like I couldn't just miss that out of a life story, but when I got to writing it, I couldn't think of anything to write that would be significant to Irma and the war. Then I realised maybe what's significant is that it WASN'T significant. I'm really glad you found that moving :D

I was originally going to write in her romance with Filch, but something I really hate is when writers make everything magically better for a character just because they get into a relationship. So I changed it to a friendship with McGonagall. I'm really glad I did and I'm glad you liked that, I really wanted to show her gaining control over her own life and doing things for herself to change things, like you say gaining agency. I also think a friendship would in a way mean a lot more to her than a romantic relationship, so I like to think after the war ends her and McGonagall become besties and eat ginger biscuits together every single day :P

I honestly couldn't decide how to end it, which is why I left it on a cliffhanger. I do like the idea of it being ambiguous so you can decide how you want it to end. I wanted to follow her whole life so it seemed logical that she should die in that last scene, and that's how I originally intended it, but by the time I got to writing it, I'd fallen so in love with Irma that I couldn't quite bring myself to write the words! That's where the development of her feeling brave came from, I didn't originally plan any of that. I'm glad I settled on that though, because it gives it a much more hopeful end to quite a sad story, even if the reader does decide they think she dies.

Thanks so much for this amazing review! This was possibly the most interesting challenge I've ever entered and I had so much fun writing this :D I can't wait to read all the other entries!


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Review #22, by randomwriter winter, cry.

25th October 2013:

Randomwriter is staring at the screen now. Just moments prior, she was wiping the tears from the corner of her eyes. You story has tugged at her heartstrings and has made her feel immense sorrow for Irma Pince, a character she has never thought about much before.

She deems your story heart-breaking-ly beautiful. She has added it to her favourites. She loves the way you have broken Irma Pince's life into winters that affected her the most, and has enjoyed the style of writing you have used, for it has lent itself to the story well. She likes how you have rejected the use of dialogue tags, even where necessary, because it suits this story and it does not break the flow.

She believes that this might be your best story and that it is layered and complex and very well written, unlike this review, which clearly lacks coherence owing to how disoriented its writer feels. Your story has done that to her.

She has read your story twice. She will read it many more times to come. She is certain of it. She applauds you on your characterisation of Irma Pince. We do not know much about her from the books, but what you have given to her personality, not only fits in well with what is known, but also justifies her character, as it is quite realistic.

She believes that all the scenes were written very well, but the one where Irma fell in love with the boy was the best. It was the moment everything changed because her heartbreak became the reader's heartbreak. It made her relate-able.

She likes the manner in which you chose to end Irma's story. She is proud of Irma for drawing strength from her books and standing up to Carrow. She is proud of her bravery, and smugly adds that she had guessed the book correctly (the first book she ever bought).

Randomwriter could only spot one mistake. She believes that you meant to say 'viscious' hands, not viscous hands.

She wishes to conclude by wishing you good luck for the challenge. She too has entered the challenge and is in the midst of writing a Rita Skeeter story, but she does not know if it will be in the same league as your wonderful piece here. She has her doubts. She wishes to see more great stories on your Author Page because she is in love with your writing.

She will take your leave now and depart before her review begins to annoy you. She wishes to tell you that she loved it one last last before she does- I loved it :P

'Twas a great story, she says. Well done, she adds. I will not use dialogue tags here, she explains and then she clicks on preview, following which she shall submit if no edit is required.

-Adi (randomwriter)

Author's Response: Ahahahaha oh my god, Maia feels this is one of the best reviews she has ever gotten.

Maia wants to thank you very much for leaving such an amazing review, and says she's glad you enjoyed the story. She had a lot more fun than she thought she would writing about Madam Pince and has in fact become quite fond of her, so she's glad you have too.

Maia's impressed you only spotted one mistake! She says that there's quite a few in there, because put this in the queue while it was still in the midst of being beta'd so there's going to be an updated version in a couple of days with zero spelling and grammar mistakes and shinier writing in some places. In this version there's a whole paragraph that got stolen by a goblin. It just stops in the middle of a word! So Maia is glad the story distracted you from noticing that ;)

Maia is glad you liked her lack of proper dialogue and didn't find it horrifically annoying, as many people probably have. Maia likes writing weird stories in weird ways and still can't honestly believe people seem to like them so much. Maia is a little overwhelmed with how sweet people on this site are!

Maia loves you and says thank you for the amazing review.

~Maia (wow, I am so impressed you wrote a whole review like that, THAT WAS HARD!)

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Review #23, by marauderfan winter, cry.

24th October 2013:
Review tag!

You really are an amazing writer! I absolutely loved this. I'm competing in the same challenge this was written for, and I would feel quite happy if I lose to this entry, haha.

I really love minor character stories. But I have never considered Irma Pince as anything but the cranky, angry librarian, and you gave such depth to her character and told such a story, about poverty, grief, loneliness, just everything and made it so real. I love the way you detailed her life in winters - it seems very appropriate.

And how the first war meant nothing to her, the invisible and lonely girl. I really loved how working at Hogwarts (although she must not have been popular there, at least in the eyes of Harry and co.!) gave her strength, and the scene at the end was wonderful, when she stood up to the Carrows. And the fact that it was her first book just made it that much better!

In this piece you managed to make me feel for Madam Pince (which, honestly, I never thought was possible), and I was cheering for her the whole way at the end. The crazy lady who obsesses over "her" books, as she sees the library's books, now has a back story and makes her entirely believeable and understandable.

Ok to end this huge gush-session - this was a wonderful piece, and I really enjoyed reading it. Wonderful work on this!


Author's Response: Wow, I know it's a good day when someone calls my writing amazing! I'm sure your challenge entry will be equally awesome! Can't wait to read it :)

I love adding depth to characters who we only see one side of in canon, so I'm so glad you thought that worked. I'll admit I never could have predicted how I ended up characterising her, but I really found myself gaining more and more empathy for her which is how her character kind of spiralled into what it came out as here, haha. But I'm really glad you found her real and liked her like I did!

Thank you for this totally gorgeous review, you're the best < 3


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Review #24, by Josette_Phoenix winter, cry.

24th October 2013:
OK, so to start I'm just going to second everyting MissesWeasley & Cannons said. I don't think I can write a review as well as the previous two, haha.

Holy moly that was brilliant. You've captured the very essence of poverty, the joys and the sorrows, and the monotonous strength of being the outcast. You're so detailed without being over-complex, and simplistic without being dull. Your writing is rich and realistic at the same time, which is something not a lot of writers can boast of. That was just a beautiful, beautiful story, I can't put it any other way than that!!


Then I finished it and I was like - no! what happens next???



It was my pleasure to beta this, thank you :) And good luck in the challenge!! Xo

Author's Response: Ahhh, thank you so much! I just edited it all from your beta help and put that version in the queue so hopefully soon there'll be an even better version up! I'm glad you liked it, mistakes and all, though :)

Thank you so much for this amazing review! I honestly can't handle it when people compliment my writing like this, it's insane < 3 You're the sweetest, and an amazing beta!


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Review #25, by Cannons winter, cry.

24th October 2013:

*Drops to knees*

This was like WOW.

I've sat here for ten minutes. Typing. Deleting. Thinking. Typing. Deleting. In a sorry attempt to do this absolutely wonderful, magnificent, heart-wrenching masterpiece of writing the justice it deserves.

And you know what, I can't leave a review that will do it justice.

Throughout this each section got stronger and stronger. More intimate. I've never felt so emotionally involved with a librarian before. Each section ended so strongly which a BANG shall we say.

For example - 'This is the first time a book is her salvation, and it changes something in her.' this was just such a sad line.

'And after three years of living in this castle, the second she steps through that door, she finally feels like she’s at home.' *teary* she's never had a proper home before and the only place she feels comfortable is with books. :'(

The line that I loved the most, 'He lives and hides behind the lens of his camera, always has ink on his fingers and smells of the strange potions he uses to develop his film so it moves.' they're so similar and they aren't meant to be. He needs the camera, she needs the books.

I loved your writing before but this was something else, you totally and utterly blew me out of the water with this challenge entry. I need to seriously come up with something amazing if I enter something again.

Who knew something about Irma could hold a readers interest through 6000 words and then make them feel like they do afterwards. Inspiring.

*shakes head in awe*

Author's Response: ahdghsdgygfygf I don't even know how to respond to this review. You've blown ME away now! This review definitely did the story justice, and then some!

I am so glad you thought it was powerful. I really just wanted to try something really different for this challenge and this is what I came up with. I didn't even want to write about Madam Pince when I first got her in the challenge but then I decided to stick with it, thinking I would just write a short oneshot about her childhood, and then this happened! Now I think I will be angry every time someone writes her as really mean :P

Honestly, this review is just the sweetest, I don't even know what to say. Thank you so much for liking the story and leaving such an amazing review, it's honestly made my day!

~Maia < 3

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