Reading Reviews for I Loved You First
  
8 Reviews Found

Review #1, by alicia and anne I Loved You First

12th August 2014:
Okay, I swear that I read and reviewed this! But apparently not.

I was so amazed by how original this story was, and how it was literally a love square, everyone loved someone, who loved someone else.

I love how you delved into each relationship and how you wrote their feelings, especially finding out about their crushes feelings for someone else.

You wrote each character brilliantly and I loved every single one of them! Normally when there's many characters theres always one I'm less interested reading about, but that's not the case in this story. I wanted to know everything about all of them!

Overall a wonderful one shot, you are only capable of writing pure amazingness and I'm so glad that I get to read it and hear all about your ideas for future stories.

Loved this! :D

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Review #2, by MrsJaydeMalfoy I Loved You First

11th June 2014:
Hi there, dear!

First off, Congratulations on winning Featured Story! *hugs* And now, for your review!

This is a very original piece, and so emotionally charged. I love how you show Lily's thoughts through the diary entries, while showing James' and Ella's through the story itself. It certainly helps bring out the whole 'triangle' aspect of it. :)

Everything flowed wonderfully and I thought the time-transitions were very nicely done. And the ending was really bittersweet, because we finally know Ella's true feelings, but now it's a little too late.

All in all this is a wonderful piece, dear. Very original and very well-written! 10/10!

Author's Response: Hi there, Jayde!

Thank you so much! *hugs* I'm honoured that people thought this story was worthy of being featured!

Wow, that's great to hear! It's actually a love "square" really with Marlene's involvement but I'm pleased that you enjoyed the narration and considered this story original!

I'm really happy that you liked the time transitions and the ending, and that you felt it was bittersweet since I wanted the ending to have an impact on the reader. Poor Lily, who'll never know the truth...

Thank you so much, and thanks for the lovely high rating!


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Review #3, by Lululuna I Loved You First

30th May 2014:
Hi Isobel! :) I'm here for my half of the TGS review exchange!

I loved this story so much, it was such a creative take on the Marauders and I love how you addressed the challenge yet made it fit with canon. By writing a story that spanned so many years by focusing on these moments you really brought the characters to life in how they developed throughout. The only character I would have liked to learn more about was Ella, since she was so central and I really wanted to get to know her, but you did a good job with her and an especially amazing job with Lily and James. The bold sections from Lily's POV were so interesting as well in hinting at what is going on behind the scenes of Ella's thoughts.

I really liked here how James' rather simple logic that Lily must fancy him led to his declarations of asking her out in the Great Hall. I really like that explanation and how it fits with canon: he's not being a jerk, he just truly thinks that she likes him. It also shows how young he is at the time and how he's just learning to mature and how to act around girls.

It was interesting how Lily explained her relationship with James and how her love for him sort of developed, not happened overnight. The idea of loving more than one person at a time and the idea that perhaps, if it weren't for the stigma of the times and Lily's own fear, she would have been brave enough to tell Ella her feelings were quite interesting to contemplate. I think it said a lot about Lily with how she kept talking about loving somebody "first" as well: in some ways it shows how she's quite a methodological person and how organizing things, even her feelings and relationships, is a part of her personality.

I was so curious throughout the story about if Ella actually loved Lily back, but the ending just tied that up so perfectly and made the story more bittersweet. I thought it was done in a really subtle way and I liked how despite the fact that James suspects things about Ella and Lily he's able to be a good friend to her, both before and after her death, even protecting her grandparents from the truth (though I'd like to hope that if they did know the truth, they could have been accepting!). We really see James take on this strong identity here and he was a great change from the naive little boy at the beginning with how perceptive he's become by the end.

I wonder if perhaps Ella, in turn, was afraid to put herself truly on the line for love, just like Lily was. Both of them seem to make excuses - Lily's upbringing, not ruining their friendship...there was also so much dramatic irony that I just loved. LIke when Ella is the one who chooses the engagement ring.

Also, I'm really impressed with how you handled issues of sexuality here and how it's a spectrum, not really black and white. The assortment of gay and bisexual characters was great and showed really impressive diversity - I especially liked how Marlene as well seemed to identify as bi. I also found it interesting how the boy who came out as gay was ostracized from school served as an example, and even though the LGBT characters here didn't face that kind of systemic discrimination it's easy to imagine that they have more than emotions on the line. You explained and handled that really well.

This was such a wonderful story, Isobel! Your writing was so dynamic and amazing as always, and I loved the characters and all the complicated webs, not to mention to subtle, impactful scenes. I'm sorry this review is so ramby, haha, but I loved this! :)

Author's Response: Hi Jenna! It's good to see you back on my page! :)

I'm really pleased that you loved this story! I actually had the plot in my head for a while but had never gotten around to writing it until Lisa posted the challenge and I just couldn't find a reason why /not/ to write this, so I did! I was so tempted to make the ending AU and give Lily and Ella a happy ending but in the end my canon heart won out! I would've liked to write about Ella more, but the word length was getting quite monstrous and furthermore she's a main character in a novella that's on hiatus (all of my stories are set in the same canon universe with a couple of exceptions) so you'll be able to see more of her when I pick that story up again! Ooh, I'm pleased you like Lily's diary entries!

Hehehehe, obviously I've never been a fifteen-year-old boy but judging by how I've seen them behave, that situation seemed plausible and was a way to tie this one-shot further into canon as well. I do think he was a jerk when he was younger, as seen in Snape's Worst Memory, but I don't think he was a jerk to Lily (or the other Gryffindors) since his focus always seemed to be on Slytherins. I'm glad you like his characterisation!

I don't think anyone can fall truly in love overnight, that it's something that needs to be built up and of course Lily had feelings for Ella at the same time she began to date James, so there would have been some overlap. The what ifs really did make me think; her life would have been so drastically different if she or Ella had actually admitted their feelings to each other. Personally, I think Lily feels like she's betraying Ella by moving on with James, and betraying James by continuing to have feelings for Ella while she's with him, which is the reason for her compartmentalisation. (That is such a long word, woah.)

I wanted an ending that had impact and the tree bark carving was planned all along. I feel that Ella's grandparents would have loved her regardless, but of course James didn't know that, so he would be afraid of telling them as most older people tend to be stuck in their ways. There's also the possibility that they might have wanted to ask Ella questions but she wasn't around to answer, and they might have been upset to know that their daughter's love was seemingly unrequited. I'm really happy you enjoyed the changes in James though; it's such a long span of time and I wanted to show him changing from the person Snape remembered to the kind of person who deserved Lily.

There's a lot of fear in that time period of coming out, I presume, and I think Ella thought that it was better to have Lily in her life as a friend than risk not having her in her life at all. It's a shame really, since they're both Gryffindors, but like Lily says it's easier to be brave when you're defending others but much harder when your choice affects no-one else except you. I was worried the irony might be overdone, so it's fabulous to hear that you loved it!

Awww, thank you so much! Davy (I really need to look up his last name) was needed because while I could have written his situation happening to Ella and/or Marlene, an event like that would have been remembered and people would be saying to Harry, "your mum was best friends with a lesbian" so I wrote in the story of Davy to show just how precarious life was for LGBT people in that time period. Personally, I see Lily as pansexual because she's the kind of person who would love anyone regardless of gender (or lack of) and Marlene as bisexual but not quite ready to admit it to herself, which is why she eventually leaves Ella to pursue James, the epitome of masculinity.

Thank you so much, Jenna! Nonsense -- I love reading rambly reviews! Thank you so much for such a wonderfully complimentary review! ♥


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Review #4, by patronus_charm I Loved You First

25th May 2014:
Whoo, finally here Isobel! Iím going to tackle this with each pair because itís just so long I donít know how to otherwise :P

Ooh one thing first, the structure of this was just so great! The sections in bold and italics were my favourite I think because we really got to see each personís story and their deepest fears and wishes that way. Also, it contrasted nicely with the normal sections because it highlighted how everything was a show really because the different sections just presented such contrasting views.

James and Lily were actually really adorable. Iím not a massive fan of this ship, but I think the fact it was from Jamesí POV helped a lot as it was more of a soft and sincere love if that makes sense. It didnít have any of Lilyís anger in it which made it much more enjoyable, and they were also older here so that helped a lot too as they had grown more into themselves. I especially loved it when James went to buy her engagement ring as that really was pure love there it seemed and we could really see how much Lily had altered Jamesí character.

Ella and Marlene were a really great ship because of the complexity found within it. There was poor Ella who really, really loved Marlene and almost needed her in the way she acted after the break-up. Then there was Marlene who Iím still not really sure about. Did she want this for excitement? To get closer to James? I donít know, but the way she treated Ella made me go off her a lot as that was just cruel really.

Another reason why I loved it as it highlighted views of gay people of that era. It was really sad to see how desperate Ella was to conceal this and how she couldnít risk anyone ever finding out because anything could happen as a result but I thought it was a very apt thing to include.

Marlene and James were interesting for another reason because it showed a different side of love. Here, it was more the distant love which you think is stronger than actually is. Even though it was probably the relationship which was dwelt on the least, I still found it really interesting as itís probably the most common in real life. Erm, did I feel sorry for Marlene? A little, but then she was friends with Ella and Lily and it wasnít really on that she did that to her friends even if she thought she was in love.

Ah the ending! I think Ella and Lily might have been my favourite ship throughout because it was always there, the love had developed from both of them over time. Though it wasnít probably the same type of love, Lilyís been more romantic and Ellaís friendly, it was still so deep and long-lasting compared to the others. Then when we found she was dead it just had an even greater impact and even more feels.

This was such a great one-shot, Isobel!

-Kiana

Author's Response: Ahhh hi Kiana! Haha no worries, I understand the length is crazy (my second-longest one-shot is at least 3k shorter than this haha) so reviewing according to pairs is fine!

Those sections in bold were Lily's diary entries and I'm really glad you like them as I felt James was the most unbiased of all of them but Lily was really biased, being in love with Ella (and James) so the contrast was lovely to write particularly as I wrote this one-shot out of order! I'm really glad you liked the structure and you're quite right, in the end it's all a show as poor James never really knows the truth behind all those situations that he discovers because he can't see into other people's minds!

James/Lily ♥ Oh, I thought you shipped them? I agree with you though, I've always felt that Lily wears the trousers in their relationship and James is the soppy one and it was great to write them in that early seventh year period where they're just putting their feelings aside and learning how to be friends! I loved writing that engagement scene too because James just put so much thought into the ring, asking for Lily's dad's permission and talking with him about where he should get his rings from. Poor Ella having to be there and helping to choose the ring when she'd do anything to be in James' position...

Ella and Marlene were a kind of relationship that my friend experienced at school, where Ella knew she was homosexual and accepted that as a part of herself but Marlene wasn't sure and kept doubting herself and her own feelings. I feel bad for Ella because Marlene was using her to figure her own sexuality out (although I do think she liked Ella but not enough to put her own selfishness aside) and then she "decided" she was straight and fancied James and I agree with you, it was cruel and while I can understand Marlene being confused, she should have been honest with Ella from the beginning instead of stringing her along.

Obviously I wasn't around in the 1970s but I've heard how homophobia was an issue in those days and even if people weren't homophobic there was still a stigma against homosexuality and I really wanted to be realistic and true to the era. Davy whatever his name was (I was going to put Jones then realised that was another story haha) was in the 1960s which was stricter still so I'm really pleased that you liked Ella's reaction to protecting her secret and Marlene.

Yes! I felt the story was getting quite serious with all the angsty love and those kids are still at school, where it's entirely possible to fancy a guy just because he smiled at you in class and is cute, and I wanted Marlene's sort of childish love to be a reminder that they're not adults, they're kids, and these relationships aren't going to be forever. I quite agree with you too on pretty much everything you just said, haha!

Yay! ♥ I consider Ella's feelings romantic as well as Lily's but of course she was utterly convinced that Lily couldn't love her in that way so she tried to move on and started dating Marlene. I love that you felt it was deep and long-lasting though because I'm shipping them more and more now and I'm pleased you felt the ending had impact and feels because that's what I was aiming for!

Thank you so much for your lovely review, Kiana!


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Review #5, by marauderfan I Loved You First

8th May 2014:
Hi Isobel! Here with your review! Wow, I'm so glad you requested this, it was such a good read. Honestly, I didn't even notice it was so long. And I don't know that I've read about a love square before either. It's certainly a lot more interesting than a love triangle! :P

Before I get to your areas of concern, I just wanted to mention how much I love the characterisation in this, both the canon characters and the OCs. Everyone really came alive and felt so real. In particular I think you did really well with James; he is an open minded person, but was brought up in probably a very traditional household, so finding out about his female friend liking another girl is confusing to him - but he still treats her the same as before. I think that was very well handled, and shows James' difficult adjustment to new ideas but ultimately his good heart, which says a lot for him particularly in this time period.

The femslash relationships were perfect. Well, not perfect because they were for the most part unrequited, but the way you wrote them with such care, that was perfect. You hinted at it well in the beginning too, before James has any idea what's going on, with the description of Ella and Marlene showing up at the snowball fight looking disheveled and no one really thinks much of it other than that Ella has a boyfriend. The signs were there, but as the narrator didn't pick up on it, it was perfectly subtle.

Poor Ella, though - after she figured she couldn't have Lily, Marlene eventually left her for James :( she had a rough time of it. Gah, the story between Ella and Lily is so sad, as they both liked each other but neither knew because they were afraid to tell, and then it was too late. Ella considers her love unrequited, and Lily considers it off-limits, just soo many feels. Makes me wonder how differently things would have turned out if only they knew.

I was able to keep track of who's in love with who. The only part where I was a bit lost was in the very beginning with the diary entries (before you mentioned the diary, I had no idea who was speaking there, but I figured it out soon enough.) I liked the way you split it up between Lily's diary entries and James' POV too - like it's the story of this couple, but also what's happening alongside them and what's not being spoken.

Aw, I loved the end, those last few lines. Not only was it just a beautiful way to round off the piece with her having been in love, but I think the fact that James lied to her grandparents to tell them what they wanted to hear worked well too. Because after all this is the 1970s and especially an older generation like Ella's grandparents might not have been okay with the truth. It's sad that he can't tell them the truth, but I think he did the right thing, considering. (after all, since Lily is his wife, that would have just been awkward anyway if he told them.) Anyway, it didn't feel rushed to me. There are things left out like how Ella died, but it's easy enough to assume it was related to the war and to be honest the details aren't necessary. I think you included the perfect amount of information there.

I'm trying to come up with some concrit for you or at least something useful to say other than gushing, but I just loved this story so much! Wonderfully written, you should be so proud of this!!

Author's Response: Kristin, hi! Ooh, thanks very much! And that's great to hear, because I know some people find the length off-putting and 9k is all what?! haha! Halfway through writing the love square, I was discussing this story with someone and they said it was kind of like the love square in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream which I'd forgotten had existed, haha! I agree with you though, love squares are more interesting than triangles! Perhaps I should write a love pentagon next...?

Ooh, ooh, ooh! Characterisation is always something I worry about, more so in this story because I wanted to keep it as canon as possible while exploring the possibility that something like this might have happened and no-one ever knew / told Harry. James' parents were canonically elderly, even by wizarding terms, so I'm presuming that they brought him up quite traditionally and therefore Ella's sexuality was a surprise for him. Yeah, I think James is the kind of person who accepts other people as they are (barring Severus and Slytherins, of course) but he was quite surprised and hasn't known someone homosexual before, so he was all "how do I react?" and I love that about him.

I was so tempted to make this AU and have Lily and Ella end up together with life all sunshine and daisies but in the end my canon heart won the battle. I'm really happy that you thought their relationship was perfect, because I really wanted to do the ship justice. Yes, I wanted to make it real, because I went to boarding school myself and it was impossible to keep secrets so Ella's dishevelled appearance and disappearing randomly etc would've been noticed but of course in that time period everyone would have thought /boy/friend instead of girlfriend.

Sad feels, sad feels!! I wanted to show three girls who are at different stages of the coming out process -- there's Ella, who's comfortable with her sexuality but afraid of the consequences of revealing it, Lily, who doesn't dare explore things with other girls and Marlene, who's unsure of whether she's really into girls so dumps her girlfriend and jumps at the boy she fancies. I made myself sad writing this -- I might decide to write an alternate ending, but at the same time I'm proud of this one-shot as it is. If only they knew, though...

Woo!! I was worried that the love square would confuse people, so it's great that you understood who loved who! Ahh, the diary entries -- that was difficult, because I don't imagine people would write "Hi Diary, it's Lily Evans here!" because presumably the diary and its author would know that (I'm not a diary person personally, so I wouldn't know haha). That interpretation's really sweet, I love that! Thank you!

I really wanted the ending to have some kind of impact and the tree carvings were in my head from the very beginning. James lying to her grandparents felt like the right thing, because a) like you said, they might not have been accepting of it (personally, I think they would have been but of course James wouldn't know that), b) they might have had questions and been surprised, and of course Ella couldn't answer them and c) they might have been upset that Ella was in love with someone who (as far as they knew) never loved her back. I did think about including Ella's death, but the word count was monstrous as it was and it didn't really relate to the Lily/Ella ship (Lilla? Ellily?) or to the love square, whereas all the other sections did even the first one because that introduced Ella as a character so readers wouldn't be like "who's she? Where did she come from?". I'm happy you felt the pacing and information were just right!

Don't worry, I love gushing just as much as I love concrit so thank you so much for a great review and yes, I really am proud of this! ♥


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Review #6, by TidalDragon I Loved You First

6th May 2014:
Howdy! No worries about the content. I will read just about anything, including slash, for a request.

With that out of the way, on to the story! As an overall comment, I thought it was well done. The plot flowed nicely despite the lengthy span of time covered and the characterizations were handled well. Admitting at the outset that I am a heterosexual male, I thought you handled the F/F aspect of the story very believably. I think the development and emotions were absolutely appropriate for the age the characters were throughout the story. I think the fears and concerns that both Ella and Lily had were completely natural even in our comparatively more accepting society today, let alone in the 1970s. I also thought it was a really intriguing take on the challenge to involve Lily in it. Her struggle with falling in love with James was a very compelling part of the story (even in the small tidbits in the diary) and I thought that seemed so real as well, encompassing the idea of sexuality as a spectrum and making me wonder about your Lily's and where you feel she falls.

In terms of CC, I don't have a lot. I did notice a few typos here and there and I think a part of the timeline became skewed, because my understanding was that James and Lily's 7th year was 1977-78. The larger aspect for me is that I didn't see the square so much. We only got a confession from Marlene that she loved James as evidence of the James/Marlene that would have completed that for me. I think there's space there for it in earlier years if you wanted to flesh it out more, but it really read to me that the only real "pairings" were Ella/Lily, Ella/Marlene, and James/Lily. Shrug.

The ending was well done though. I didn't really expect Ella to have liked Lily, and having it be revealed only to James after Ella's death made it impactful, especially coming literally as the story closed.

So overall, well done. Obviously you also won the challenge as well, so congratulations and good on you. I haven't read any of the other entries, but your victory seems very much well-deserved given the complex treatment you gave the challenge subject and how well you wrote it. Feel free to PM if you have any follow-up questions!

Author's Response: Hi! Thanks for that -- I'm aware not everyone's willing to read slash, so I wanted to check. :)

Hehe, that's fine! It's actually good in a way that you're a heterosexual male, since if you consider the femslash aspect believable then that's saying a lot really! I was really worried about their characterisations, so your comments are really great to hear! Their fears I think are prevalent in any time, but in the 70s it was presumably much harder since homosexuality then was rare and frowned upon as far as I'm aware. I had this as a plunny for a long time, and then Lisa started up the challenge and as soon as I saw it, I realised that I just /had/ to write this one-shot. My Lily, I think would be pansexual, because she's just the kind of person who loves someone regardless of their gender (or lack of).

My understanding too is that James and Lily were in seventh year in 1977-1978 too, so I'm a little confused as to why you feel the timeline was skewed. Can you send me a PM on the forums pointing out where you felt I was off? As for Marlene, the one-shot was mainly told from James' POV and he wasn't intended to know about her feelings for him until she announced it and sent him off-kilter. I probably could have included Marlene's POV but it felt unnecessary since I had established most of the plot with James and Lily's. I do see your point though and I'll keep that in mind if I go back to edit.

Thank you! I wanted that to be another surprise, because you never know what other people are thinking. All James knew of Ella's feelings was what she told him, so discovering that she loved Lily was entirely accidental and yet showed him that you don't know everything. And of course I wanted to have a memorable ending so it's great that you considered it impactful!

Thank you so much for your lovely review, I really appreciate it! :D


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Review #7, by Miss MarlaG I Loved You First

5th May 2014:
I think this was a really, fantastically cute one-shot - really deserved winning the Ladies Loving Ladies challenge! I really like how you decided to write it from James' perspective too, in which he doesn't really know but is still somewhat of a part of the lives of all these ladies loving each other all around him, one of them being his wife. It was wonderful how you delved into the psyche, the ways the different girls handed their feelings and viewed their relationships. Even the quotes that separated the parts of it, it was a really nice read.

Author's Response: Thank you so much! James' POV felt most natural since he was the least biased, so he could see Lily and Ella's lives and interpret their actions as how someone who didn't know of their sexualities would. He's definitely more of a part of the love square than he realised at first, and it's great to hear that you enjoyed his narration and their characterisations. Lily's diary entries are some of my favourite bits too!

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Review #8, by Ravenclaw333 I Loved You First

4th May 2014:
This is such an amazing piece, and certainly worth the wait! I loved everything about this - the dual perspectives of James and Lily, the way you've characterised Ella and Marlene, the way you've dealt with major events and themes without ever overdramatising it - very well done. You've done an amazing job at capturing the emotions here as well - the confusion, grief, regret, the 'what ifs' for Lily even when she's with James. An original idea that still fits perfectly into the canon - I particularly liked how you've included the shadow the war has cast over everyone's lives, and the detail about Ella dying heroically. Fantastic work, and thank you so much for entering the challenge!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm really pleased you consider it worth the wait (sorry again about not getting it in on time but I was frantically writing to get it done and I simply couldn't go faster) and that you enjoyed it! I wanted to write it from James' POV because that just felt most natural out of him, Lily and Ella since he was the least biased. It's great to hear that you felt I captured the emotions well, since that was what I was trying to do -- I wanted to do the ship justice and of course in an era where homosexuality is frowned upon, there were so many more complications. Thank you so much for awarding me first place, I'm truly honoured! ^.^

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