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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

12/3/2021 c3 audiotrope
While I collect my thoughts on the ending of Hard Luck Stories, I'm reading this chapter again. So many interesting details about the war. The last one about Canadian nurses being officially part of the army is the biggest surprise, but is followed by the words that sound the most like Rilla in canon, that she has her own battles to fight to help the war even if she's not on the front. I don't know if the Duchess of Connaughts hospital existed but whether it didn't, the detail all sounds authentic. Florence Nightingale was a smart woman, if that rumor's true too!

Poor Nan and Jerry. I always wondered if they were engaged before Jerry enlisted. Thanks for giving their relationship much more detail, very suited to Nan. I like Betty for immediately assuming the best of Nan, and of course we know it's true. War babies and marriages were very limited in Rilla of Ingleside, now Jerry, Jen, Faith and Nan are dealing with it, and it's harsh but interesting, as Polly says, strange to think the babies and their fathers might be alive for years but never know each other.
11/28/2021 c2 audiotrope
Reading this was funny because just last week, I was talking to a nurse who told me her reason for sticking with the training, no matter how many times she wanted to quit, was because a high school teacher told her at the start that she would end up quitting the program. Reverse psychology, who'd think it?

The other two nurses are good Rilla foils, knowing nurses, the smoking is all too real.

Diana hates the sight of blood and Nan hates all the other body fluids, it's a good match, and Rilla after taking care of a baby is ready for anything.
11/22/2021 c81 32Feux follet
The first word coming to my mind right now: Congratulations! Congratulations because this story is awesome, so very well documented, and in the same time, so profoundly human, with many details attached to this humanity. In 81 chapters, you showed us war like not many authors did, in a truly realistic and quite emotional way, and for that I'm absolutely grateful.

Which is why the second and third words coming to my mind are "Thank you"! Thank you for all your work, all the searches you did, all the details you included, all the scenes, whether they were hard or joyful. Thank you for giving us this story to read, thank you for allowing us to follow Rilla's footsteps into this hellish mess, to see her strengths and weaknesses, to show us how she could face this, and sometimes not. To show us everyone's reaction too, because if Rilla was the center, you always made a point in giving every other character a proper individuality. Also, thank you for the inspiring moments you gave us in those chapters. Thank you for everything, really. You did an amazing work here, and I admire you for this!

About this chapter, I enjoyed how they talked about their future, Rilla's future especially. I was wondering what would become of her after the war, because even if she is pregnant, and about to have a child, I couldn't picture her being still in a silent house, keeping it and the baby while Ken would be at work. Like I said in the previous review, I thought she would be interested in becoming a private nurse, but this project she have is so much better. I enjoyed seeing the developmment of her ideas, from Dr McIver telling her to become a surgeon, her thinking about being a doctor but frowning at the studies - after being on the "field" for some years, and what a field, it should be hard indeed to come back to university benches to learn about latin, even if it's for becoming a doctor. I don't say it's not possible, just that it would be hard, and wouldn't really correspond with Rilla's character. Also, she points out that she doesn't want to nurse anymore, and the memories coming back to her with the ones she couldn't save ... The promise she's doing to herself, the one about not seeing one more person dying, hit me a lot, because when I was younger and brought to the morgue to see a relative there, I promised to myself I would never see a dead body again - and when I did last year, not by choice though, it made me sick to a very bad point. But here, it also goes along with the project himself. Not letting people die alone, but trying to save them at any cost. You couldn't have choose a better work for her to do.

On another hand, Ken feeling responsible about his men, and thinking about taking the reins of the company like he wanted before, but modeling this project to help the men he had under his commands to find a proper job, and have a decent life, was very moving too. It reminded me about the talk they had when Selina broke up with him. About the fact that they won't come back and be who they were before all of this. It's particularly visible here, because even if he's taking back this project he had before the war, we also see how this experience changed his position and thoughts about it.

The last paragraphs got me, and I started feeling tears rolling as I were reading them. The way Rilla thinks that they'll never be able to forget what happened to them during those years, what they saw, what they lived, and yet that they still have life before them, and ought to live it fully, not only for them but for all the ones who couldn't make it back ... It moved me a lot. And you were right. I don't regret reading this chapter. At first, I regretted a bit that we couldn't see a bit more, like their arrivals, but in the same time, it feels right. Because this story belonged to them, first. We've seen them, accompanied them even, through so much things, and now that they're arriving, it felt right to leave them here, while they're still only the both of them. We can always imagine how they're welcomed home, and it is better this way. To have a soft, simple and very quiet goodbye. Again, it feels right, especially as Canada's lights are starting to be seen, just like dawn of a new era, a new world, and a new journey for them. It's a very hopeful ending, and I thank you for this.

And, again, I thank you for this story. I can't express how much it touched me, moved me, inspired me, helped me. How much I cried and laughed on it. How much I came to love the characters you depicted here - you now I'm not usually a fan of Rilla, but as always, you offered her a lot more of space than in the books, and she became a true human under your pen/keyboard. I'm amazed by the work you did, and can only congratulates you for this, and for everything. I'm glad I was able to read your story, and I can only thank you for sharing it with us. I'll surely re-read it again, for it marked me a lot, and good stories are like friend. You don't live without seeing them again, once in a while.

Thank you for everything. I wish I could express my feelings towards this story better, but there doesn't seem to have enough words to tell you how much it counted, and how much I loved it.
Thank you!
11/22/2021 c80 Feux follet
I can't believe it's coming to an end already. I remember starting this in my holidays, after dramatic moments, and now it's going to end, and I'm starting to heal. But I'll save those thoughts for another moment, sorry. And I'll describe how your story was amazing in the last review :) Now, I'll just enjoy this chapter.

Colette! I was so glad when I saw her name in the first line! And reassured, too. Because it meant that Rilla wasn't coming home alone. The travel she did with Betty and Polly found a true echo here, with her presence. And the fact that Ken isn't always bl to escape his duty on day, and so is partially there was, for me, another echo to this, and to the fact that Betty wasn't coming home. But maybe that's just me! But the fact that they're only two nurses looking at the Atlantic and saying goodbye to Southampton and not three left me with that impression. All the echoes with Rilla's first crossing of the Atlantic were very powerful, and also concrete elements, like the fact that they're not threatened by any boat or submarine or plane, to show that yes, finally, the war is truly over. This war, at least.

I'm so glad for Colette and Maurice! It won't be easy for Rilla to go and see Betty's parents, though. I find it both interesting and deeply moving, to see how you give us news about each plans, whether it is Polly saying she will stay in England, or Colette saying that she's going to Montreal - and Maurice being a tram driver is amazing! - while Rilla will be in Toronto - I'm wondering if, after the birth of her child, she's not going to do the same that Colette, and be a private nurse - and Jem in the Glen. I'm starting to think that they said goodbye to war when they went on this boat, and now they're all starting to look in the future knowing that now, nothing can prevent it from happening, because they're really on their way to meet the tomorrows ... It's also one chapter before the end of the story, and maybe it's me not being good with goodbyes, but it really touched me to see how you wrote this!

As for Colette guessing Rilla's pregnancy, and asking her right away what she feels about it, it was great! We saw many reactions about it already, and each of them offers other thoughts about it, and every time, we also see Rilla moving from anxiety to this start where she's coming to term with it, though she's not afraid to tell that it scares her, and I think it is very brave of her.

Now, the drawings' scene was maybe one of the most powerful of this chapter. I was surprised at first to see that they could share the cabin with everyone knowing about it, but then there was the talking about the drawings and I fell into it. I liked the way you separated Walter and Ken's ways of coping with the horror they saw, the first one trying his best to only see the good, bright moments, and the other, not being able to escape from those visions, drawing them out of him (this picture was truly powerful!). The fact that he let Rilla see them was ... a giant step. Some months ago, he wouldn't have let her see them. It's not only about trust, it's about overcoming the silence which fell on this period, soon after its end. And sometimes, drawings says a lot more than words. The way his mind captured those images and, not being able to get them out easily - who could, really? - to transform them into this art, it's ... It touched me a lot.

As always, thank you for everything. I'm a bit scared to go in the next chapter, knowing it is the last, but I trust you, and I know that, if you felt it was good to leave them, it will be good to read it.
11/21/2021 c79 Feux follet
Oh, that chapter was amazing! I think it's one of the best, equally with Gallou's ones, which says a lot!

First of all, I was glad to see Jem! He's always been one of my favorites characters here, and it was amazing to see him again! I didn't thought they would use a workhouse for a hospital, though. I mean, it doesn't seem right, not after what went on behind those walls. I would share Rilla's apprehension here. It was interesting to see how it goes to those ghosts to Walter's, and then to her own child, though it made me worrying more about her. You do an amazing work on drawing her fears, but I'm glad she can express them out loud, and not be alone with those shadows. I admit, I hadn't expect Jem would be the one to help her here, but it's very well put here, and I enjoyed how they talked.

On a first moment, there was the question about where to go after the war. It really matches with Jem to see him talk about staying in the Glen, where he grew up, where Faith came as a little girl and grew up, where they married, had children, and both worked hard for the community. Also, where his parents are. When he talked about this being his responsibility, it made me think back to their talk in the hospital where Rilla was with the flu. You developed his character greatly here, and it's moving to hear him talk about the Glen as his kind of paradise, and the fact that he wants to rebuild this world. What I loved here is how you showed both of their reactions after war, between him who needs to go back there, and Rilla who needs to flee. For both of them, it seems to be a paradise, but Jem was married and had a child before he left, so it's not as attached to his childhood as it is for Rilla, and the fact that she wants this place to remain untouched by war is understandable.

There was also Di and Mildred's situation. Like Rilla, I thought everybody knew, so I was surprised when Jem didn't understand why Di and Nan weren't just moving together, instead of Di and Mildred looking for a bigger place for them. But in the same time, it brings an interesting thing, and I wonder if he will learn about it. I'm glad for Di and Mildred, though, and for Nan as well.

And there was Walter too, haunting their words and thoughts. It was a very moving talk, about giving his name or not, as a first or middle name or not. It says a lot about their own grief, how they handle it, I think, and also how war will still leaves marks on the future generation, with or without the names of those who passed away there.

But what touched me is how Jem reacted about his sister's pregnancy. At first, like we would imagine he would, between his brotherly's teasing and pride and his work as a doctor. But it slowly slips to a very soft moment between them, where he takes the time to listen at her fears. The fact that it is when they are not facing each other directly but through the glass was a great thing too, maybe it was even more easy for Rilla to talk freely. It must be hard to confess this, when you so often hear and see that other women manages - which, like I said in the previous review, doesn't seem true but as it's often what we hear - but Jem was amazing here, between his reassuring words and his teasing.

And he was even more when he asked her to lie down, and then made her listen at her baby's heart. The way you described the scene was amazing, with Rilla being suspicious at first, and then being without words when she finally hears the heartbeat, and Jem smiling, asking her if it still feels unreal ... It was just perfect, especially after speaking of ghosts, and as we know she listened at heart starting to stop so many times, to have something real like this strong heartbeat must be something so reassuring!

You did an amazing job, and I can't thank you enough for this! I think I'll keep the end for tomorrow ... Yes, I don't want to know the end right now. I still need a bit of time, I'm sorry, but honestly, thank you for every single of your chapters! They were all amazing!
11/21/2021 c78 Feux follet
This chapter was truly good, and its title is absolutely perfect here. As if to answer the worries from the last chapters, there is indeed a lot of kindness here, and support, and jokes which makes the whole chapter very sweet.

I enjoyed the fact that you show how Ken implies himself here, and do everything he can to support Rilla and understand what the pregnancy is, what it means for her, for them. I don't think many fathers-to-be would have done the same for their wife, at that time. At least, it wasn't shown like here. But it's great, and I'm glad he's doing it! Not only it provide a lot of humor - I laughed when Rilla asked him not to read about the abnormal pregnancies, to avoid him checking on her for imaginary sicknesses and problems which could only make them both stress about it - but it also shows just how much he loves Rilla and their child-to-be-born, and how much he wants to be in this. I also enjoyed to see how Rilla replied, with the "you're the clueless, I'm the expert". It added a lot to the scene's tone, and it was very funny to read about.

It doesn't mean that there is no anxiety here, of course, and like in the previous chapter, it particularly hit touched me. I wonder, I think it will be a yes, but I imagine that all mothers have this anxiety before giving birth, at least those questions running, between the "will I be a good mother to them" and the "what if I do something wrong / can't protect them / can't make them happy", is that right? I'm not saying that to say that it's not much, because it is much, for every woman living this, but just to know if it is a feeling often shared. There are so many people saying out there that being a mum is easy, that many doesn't think about it, that it's natural, but I can't help thinking that, like Rilla, I would be terrified at first. And here, Rilla already went through a lot, saw the world being broken, she's lost people she loved, and saw so many suffering that it must be a lot harder to imagine this pregnancy without thinking about all of this. How to offer a better world to her child, how to be sure it will be happy, and safe, and alright? I hope she'll be able to breathe, though, and be reassured too. I think Ken is already doing a great job at it, but maybe she'll be able to talk about it to her mother? It hit me when she thought that Anne had already put the level high on this. Maybe she could reassure her too?

On another hand, I was glad to see Persis so soon again, and even more glad to learn that she was planning to go and visit the world with Tim. Even if he remains a friend, it can be awesome, and I hope we'll get a glimpse of it before the end? If not, that's alright, because if it carries on, then where to stop it, but I like this idea of them going everywhere like that. I was a bit afraid when she told Ken about this, not because of Tim, though it could have been - and was, for a few moments - but because of the idea that she's going away like that. The difference between the time where he was able to ask Rilla if she could discourage her from nursing and now is impressive. I know they also think about their child, and that anyway Ken wouldn't be able to stop her if he wanted to, but it was great to see him coming to terms with her decision so quickly - I think even Persis was surprised. More generally, I enjoyed how you showed Ken and Persis' relationship here, and how close they still are, even if war didn't let them see each other often. You depict siblings' bonds so well, it's always a pleasure to read about them, and this in every of your stories!

As for Persis learning about Rilla's pregnancy, and how she reacted, not allowing Rilla to truly express how she felt about this - though, it makes me think that often, if not always, we all start by congratulating the future parents, and don't usually ask them how they feel about it ... I also wonder if Rilla will be able to tell her worries. Not just to Persis, but to someone else, like her mum or her sisters.

Thank you, as always, for this chapter :)
11/20/2021 c77 Feux follet
This chapter is just amazing. Not because Rilla is pregnant - even if it is absolutely great though terrifying news - but because in a small moment between them, you allowed her to speak, and to do so in the most honest way, along with a Ken allowing her to speak that way, listening at her and helping her to get all this fear out.

At first, I didn't know what you were planning (and it's only now that I remember you telling me that they would go back to their Bretagne's home with their daughter! I feel silly, because of course the previous chapter was another clue, you'll probably laugh when you will have read my previous review!). I was glad Ken was back in England and they could see each other, and be with each other without anyone around. I was glad they could enjoy this time in a proper hotel, and not in a place requested by the army, or marked by the war. The way you described this hotel was like a step in an "after-war" world, where things can slowly come back to normal, even though Rilla wears her uniform.

I admit I smiled when Ken said he wasn't planning to die on her, and she realized she was taking his pulse, holding on to what she did for the last years. This first part in their talk was interesting, maybe because Rilla didn't know how to tell, and with the fear, everything felt ... too big, maybe? I can understand that Ken was confused, especially when she said that maybe they had been too fast on their relationship, but in the same time, I understand Rilla too. Like she said, they didn't have much time together, and even if they clearly love each other, it can't just rely on that, they need to build something strong together, a solid ground and even if it feels as if they started doing it since the beginning, it must be scary to think that now, it's true, war is over and they're together and yet they never properly lived together - I mean, not for a long time. So far, many things between them were linked to the army. In fact, their time in war saw they love for each other growing, blooming, and they made every step of their couple in this environment so far, so ... well, I understand why she's afraid, especially with the announce she's going to make.

Ken must have been relieved when he realized she was talking about having their child, and not breaking up! It was a bit starting to look like this, but no, and I must say that I'm glad for them, though I'm worried for Rilla. Indeed, they were a couple during war, but now they're going to be parents, and it seems as if they didn't really had much time to be a couple, and it must be terribly scary to bring a child in a world you saw being devastated just a few months before, and just to be a mother so early in age and in her relationship, and the fear of not being a good mother, especially as she's not particularly drawn towards babies, it certainly must be scary - I think that's also me panicking and projecting fears I would have at her place here, I'm terribly sorry. Also, the fact that she's afraid she won't be able to protect their child, and we know that in around twenty years there will be another war, and again the skies will turn red is particularly hard. In fact, it's hard to think about all those young people who went to this war, then came back, bruised both morally and physically, but get married and had children nonetheless, were trying to rebuild what had been broken and then once again the world goes mad and ... You just wish you could take them out of this, offer them a peaceful world

In the same time, I was also marked, and deeply touched by how Ken took his time to let her speak and express all of this, and answer her fears as he could. It must have been strange for him, as he seems over the moon and Rilla is on the edge of crying, but he remained kind, and gentle and tried to understand, and for that, he is amazing.

Thank you so much for this chapter!
11/20/2021 c76 Feux follet
When I first read the title of this chapter, I thought you were going to announce that Rila was pregnant, but I liked this version more - though I wouldn't mind Rilla being pregnant, it's just that I was terribly glad to see Polly again. She was one of the first to work with Rilla, and we didn't have the occasion to see much of her since Rilla came to France - which seems like centuries ago. Between the moment they said goodbye, and here, a lot happened - like Betty, or like Polly and Rilla getting married, and Polly having a daughter - and it's a bit awkward at first, something which was showing with the moment it took for them to hug and say hello.
(just a note, can I say I loved the expression "she's been grizzly all day"? In France we can say that someone is like a bear, but not in the same way, so it made me smile)

I hadn't thought about Polly being sent to a relative of her husband - silly me, thinking that a woman can stay alone with a child, what was I thinking (sorry, I'm a bit tired, it's exam period starting, I'm sorry), but the poor one didn't end up with someone very kind. Though, with a name like she have, it mustn't have been easy to grow up, especially hearing the jokes about it. She reminded me about aunt Mary Maria, though, and I can only wish for Polly that her husband will come home soon, for it mustn't be easy everyday, even if she jokes about it. Using more soap, really? There's no end to the cupidity of some people.

I liked the way Polly explained that she wouldn't go back to Canada, even though I can understand Rilla's surprise. I also enjoyed the fact that Rilla asked *her* how this made her feel, because indeed, at first, it was a lot about what the others would feel, and not about what she felt. But if it is somewhere she thinks she can call a home, I think it is the most important thing. What made me smile was how Lizzie interacted to this talk. She reminded me about the daughter of Joy, in your other story, as they seem to have quite a similar temper, even if this Lizzie is younger here.

On another hand, it marked me when Rilla thoughts about who was coming home to Canada and when, and how you ended this thinking with Jerry and Walter not coming back. In a way, I think it explains a bit what happened for Polly, too. They all left something in France, whether it was their youth, their innocence, their relatives, their loved ones, etc. And, looking at this moment with the two crosses which will remain there forever, coming home doesn't seem like the normal thing to do anymore. It's surely the majority, but it's not that evident anymore. It must be terribly hard to go leaving the people you loved and who died behind. I had never really thought about this, but I thank you for exploring it!

I laughed when Rilla started Rosa's story and Polly interrupted her to say that you don't acquire a child - indeed, the formulation is surprising - and jokingly offering her to explain how it worked. I'm sorry for the little one, to think that she's so young and she lost so many people around her already ... But I'm glad she was put in Mildred's care, and can't wait to learn more about it! It must be quite something between Mildred and Di, and like Rilla I'm not afraid for her, she'll know her way through the world! On another aspect of this, it was nice to have those hesitations from Rilla, when she was trying to explain who Mildred was for Di without letting their secret out, because it felt even more realistic.

It was interesting to see this talk going to Rilla's own situation. Since their days in Bretagne, we haven't heard about it - which was absolutely normal, considering what was happening - but now that things are getting calmer, and as it seemed to be an important matter for her at this time, especially with the talk with Gallou's wife, I was wondering if we would hear more about it. I can't help but feel that we're going to hear about it again, before the end of the story, is that right? Or is it just me being tired?

Oh Polly ... It must have been so hard for her, especially as she blames herself for saying they could go there. And the way you said that sometimes, she forgets about it, and want to write to her about something before realizing that she's no longer there ... I think this is the hardest thing, when for a few moments you forget it happened, and then it comes back and hit you even more harder. If I can say this, there is something which I also find deeply important in your story - maybe because I can't explain it to myself and needs to know that I'm not alone feeling this way - is that you often show characters mourning the loss of someone they liked very much, loved like siblings would, but as they're not bond with blood, only by friendship, they tends to say that they're not legitimate to cry and mourn those losses. And the way you write about it, it's just ... thank you. Thank you for putting words on this. And thank you for this last scene.
11/20/2021 c75 Feux follet

Persis! It's been a long time since we saw her! I'm glad we could see her there! The pink uniform made me laugh, but seriously, could the daughter of the people letting them use the place determine what the nurses and vad there would wear? Even if she plays her part in the administration, it just seems strange to think that she could - or, to say it otherwise, to think that someone would think that it is important for nurses to wear pink and no other color, and to ask them to be made with specific things like the apron. I'm sorry, I share Rilla's surprise here!

I was touched by the way you let the talking slip to a humorous tone with the pink uniform to a more serious and hard one with their time in France. From the letters Rilla received in the previous chapters, it was visible that she was tired, but I hadn't realize just how much. I think I was more worried about Rilla because she was right under my eyes, and we were seeing her fading away again, but now I just feel guilty I didn't saw before that Persis wasn't doing better!

On the other hand, the fact that Rilla tells her that everyone needs a break, and she deserved it touched me. Of course she deserved it! But we're often the last ones to realize that we need one, and here, it's even more important, after all she did, all the stress, the fear, the loneliness and helplessness when her patients were dying, and when she learnt about Leslie being ill too ... I can easily imagine how hard it must have been for her to carry on facing the patients dying while, for all she knew, her mother could be in the same condition and not being able to go to her ... Even if her experience differs from Rilla, I think both needs and largely deserves to go home and breathe. What's hard is to think that they won't let Persis come back home soon, apparently. Even if it is "already" march, it still means long months waiting, worrying, working, and even if she said the place where she is isn't very hard to work in, it's still a burden of pressure, isn't it?

If I can say this, I think it was very brave from Persis to do all she could to go in this place and get out of Rouen. It takes courage to carry on in a place where you're not well, but it takes a lot more to get out of it, and here, she did it by herself. She should be proud, even if I can't blame her for feeling guilty, because I would feel the same, but she shouldn't because she did what was right for her, and for now, that's the most important thing.

Also, the way she let go and talk about how hard it was, and how Ken didn't wrote to her - I hope he did since, because even if he had a lot to think about - and I don't deny it was hard to bear - they are lighter now, and he can't leave her like this! Also, it made me think about the first chapters, where Ken asked Rilla to discourage her from coming, thinking she wouldn't be able to survive the trauma, and wishing to protect her. She proved that she could do it. But now she need someone to take care of her, too, and listen at her. Just like Rilla did here, but I think it would be great if Ken could do it too. Especially as she's afraid of losing him now that he have Rilla, even if she just showed that she won't steal him from her.

Nan and Selina? I hadn't thought about them meeting, even less working together, but why not? It could be great! The idea to employ war widows is also an amazing idea, and if it helps Nan too, it's even more wonderful! Especially after this line : "her stories died when Jerry did". I couldn't immediately go back to my reading, but only look at the words. It just translates in a few and simple words all the suffering she had, and still have. I just hope we'll hear more about her before the end again - maybe see her? I'm only even more curious about their business!

Another moment made me stop in my reading, though. When Persis said that now, Rilla will have a "normal" life, being a wife, and then a mother, like society wanted women to be at that time, while her sisters will be working. It seems strange to think that Rilla won't get out of this frame, and I think / hope she won't remain in it. It seems almost wrong to imagine her stuck in a house, after all she went through, after all the work she did ... I don't mean to say that she won't enjoy resting for some time, because she needs it, but still ... Won't she be a "worming woman" too?

This chapter was amazing, as always, and I thank you for everything. Your story touches me a lot, and it's always a great moment to come and read it, even if I take some time doing it. It has a lot to do with the historical elements and background you manage to write in a realistic way - even more realistic than a lot of novels I read before - but it's also about the emotions, and the way you show your characters' emotions, paths and growing. Really, thank you for everything!
11/17/2021 c74 Feux follet
Hello :)

I enjoyed this chapter and the tension you put in it. It mustn't have been easy for Shirley to tell, and the way you show how defensive he is just proves it. It was interesting to see that right before their coming home. As if to put it there, so when Rilla will come home, it will be this, and not another thing. There is ... I don't really know how to put it, but a sense of I tell you now so when we're home, there's no question, but in the same time it's a bit I tell you, and I dare you to say otherwise, as well as a sort of asking for Rilla to accept it and be on his side, if we can say it like that. It was very moving to see this between them, especially as we know how close they are. I think it is very brave of Shirley to tell it to her - I think she's the first to know, but I'm afraid of a "blink it and you miss it" - and you really showed how important this was for them. I think it is also the first time we see them arguing, and it only increased the emotions of the scene.

First, I'm glad and relieved to know that Rilla is in England. I remember her saying that, after England, Canada is not far away - and the end of this story isn't either, unfortunately. I must say, at first I thought I had misread the place, so I needed to read it twice before being sure that yes, she was there, and there was no coming back to war - I know the war is over, but I think I'll only believe it when she'll be on Canada's soil.

Now, I was touched by how you pictured Shirley - and Carl - here, with a sense of both vulnerability and strong will. Well, not really strong will, but more like a strong will to defend each other - it's especially showing with Shirley here, but there is also Carl protecting Shirley by seeing them, by not forgetting him. It's true that Shirley is one of the most forgotten characters in this world, and Carl is following his path too. I don't know why, if LMM thought he would be just a "decorative" character, which is hard because she could simply have written him out. I don't know what she intended to do with him, I'm sure there is a meaning (or maybe that's what my literature analysis' path which leads me to think that, and if so I'm sorry), but it hurts to think of him being left aside.

Anyway, I understand why he was defensive, even though it is a bit hurtful. I already enjoyed it with Di and Mildred, but the way you show how uneasy it is for Rilla is very interesting, because even if he his her brother, there's all the stigmas from this period of time, and all the laws and everything, and you show how much it weights here in her reasoning. On another hand, maybe it would have been easier if Shirley did not play with cynical smiles, even if again, I can understand how uneasy it must be for him to tell, and how Rilla doesn't help either when she shouts back. The tension just rose up here in a short laps of time and it is incredibly done, and terribly realistic.

In a way, it reminded me about the rumors on Edward Brittain, and how he apparently did everything he could to be killed before a commission came down and asked him about his personal life. I don't know a lot about this, I don't really know if it is true or else - I read Testament a long time ago, and I can't remember if she talks about it. Anyway, when Shirley said they could be shot, it reminded me about him, and just to think that they used war to do this too ... I mean, they started a war, sent men go and fight there, started losing some of them, and then, learning about homosexuality of some of them, they tracked some of them down ... Each side said the other was full of monsters, but who's the monster in this?

The end was perfect, maybe because you didn't show the reunion with Carl - at least not yet, I don't know if it will be in the following chapter, but if it is, at least there would have been some space between them, and it give this scene much more strength, but maybe that's just me. And the way Shirley asked her not to hurt Carl - though there is also this feeling of "don't hurt me either" - and how Rilla promised, and it is the last word of this chapter is deeply meaningful!

Again, thank you for this chapter, and for everything really!
11/13/2021 c73 Feux follet
You did it again. At first, I was afraid to go and read the next chapters. After the last one, I was a bit nervous it would be a chapter about the flu again, and didn't know if I really wanted to go through two chapters about the flu in an evening after a hard day - emotionally speaking. The title hit me, but I wanted to try. And then, there was the saw again. And the previous chapters with the same sound came back to me, and it was a bit frightening. It was truly frightening when she accepted to go through the operation. But then, there was this scene where she admits she's tired, and starts crying, and the matron says she'll send her to the nurses hospital in advance, and then, in a few days, they'll go home together. There, I started crying too. I'm sorry for this, but in the same time, I want to thank you, because your story is always powerful, emotionally speaking, and I don't know why but I prefer stories like that, even if they're sad, just for that - though I wonder why, but that's another matter, sorry for the bother. So thank you. Thank you for this chapter, and for the good news!

Now, I'll try to elaborate this review better.

The first scene, with Bryony trying to decide Rilla to go with them and pointing that she was always tired was worrying, even if it was perfectly well described. The way you introduced her getting more and more tired, refusing to go out on evenings, and saying that she's going out, but only around one time by week, was particularly stressing. It felt like the moments after Walter's death. Even if it was less strong, it was there. I think there was also form of loneliness, here. I know she have Bryony and Lucy near her, but sometimes you just need one or some specific persons, and the fact that they're not here, next to you, is making you feel more lonely than if you really were. The way you translated this feeling here was terribly moving, and it was hard to witness her like this. There was the letters, too - and the fact that like when she was in the other hospital, she asked Gilbert some advice and treated her as an equal, in a way, was very powerful again, and makes me wonder about how things will be when she'll truly be home - but in the same time, it makes the distance bigger. I was glad to have news from Shirley, though!

But the worst really happened when olive came to fetch her and bring her to the operating theater. The sentence "can a doorway be menacing" was truly one of the best ways to show it. You did an amazing work in describing her going slowly into the room, trying to control her emotions, and I was particularly touched by how you gave each step a line, to show how hard and important it was for her. I wasn't expecting a little boy either, and it increased the tension, but the worst came with the saw and its sound. The way you put it, since a few chapters, is quite haunting, as the sound is for Rilla. And the way you show this "automatic feeling" - I don't really know how to call it, apart maybe from the "survival mode" like the other time - ... Again, I admire her strength. Not many could have go over their trauma again like this, even for a few moments, and she's done it twice. I just hope for her that it was the last time.

And again, I thank you for the last scene. For Rilla, admitting to herself that she's too tired, she can't carry on - the fact that she accepted to go without protesting was maybe the most powerful clue about her condition -, and the matron who's telling her that indeed, she's tired, she needs to rest, and after a few days, they'll come home together ... The first word to hit me there was "home". And then "together". Because they lived this war together, like sisters in arms, and fought against death and saw horrors and ... Home. Together. It's just a relief!

Thank you so much for this chapter! It was one of the best here, I think, and I can only applaud you for all your work, and your amazing writing! Thank you!
11/13/2021 c72 Feux follet
You know what's strange? Reading this chapter with the covid crisis around, knowing it was written before all of this, but recognizing expressions here and there which are now deeply linked to the actual crisis. I think that the word which hit me the most was "wave". It was like reading about the covid situation, even if the historical side helped to put it a bit in distance, but not so much, because to think that they didn't have all the ways we have now to take care of those patients is frightening. I'm sorry, I hadn't realized how much it had mark us before. Only here and there, small touches, but here it is everywhere - I don't mean that you wrote it badly, on the contrary! It's just that it is particularly strong and it was the first thing I could see, I'm sorry, I hope it won't be too visible in the rest of my review

Just another note before I really start, but a more funny one : Does this strange mixture with the eggs really exists? It really sounds horrible!

Your descriptions are dramatically realistic, and it mustn't have been easy for you to write them. It certainly wasn't easy to read them, but in the same time, it felt right, the words felt right. The tension in Rilla's thoughts made me think back about the days where she was working in the CCS. I know it's not the same, the dangers are not the same, but still, there is this same emergency feeling, the same need to go to one bed to the other quickly, to fight against death at all times, to see and live things nobody should see nor live - and the blood. It was haunting the scene, like an old ghost.

It was hard to see them all suffering like this, especially as we know what they all went through. To think that they thought it would be over, they would go home and try to rebuild what could be, and now they're suffering from this, even dying from this. It was very powerful to read that the blankets made her think about the flowers on the graves. They survived obuses, and balls, and else, and now they're dying because of the flu, it's just ... It's just revolting, and the worst is that it's not like the war, something which could have been stopped long ago if some men's egos hadn't been what they were - I know, I'm exaggerating a bit - while this, this can't be stopped like that, and it's right after those fours years of hell ...

I was also moved by how you showed that Rilla isn't fully recovered yet, like when she's shaking after helping the patients to sit down, or when the patient with delirium is pushing her back. I hope she will be alright. I know it's silly to say this here, and that way, but we can't nearly-lose her again. Not after all of this.

There is a feeling which came often with this chapter, as if Rilla was opening her eyes again. I don't mean it badly, I don't really know how to put it in another way, but I'll try. What I mean is that with the flu, she didn't see the first wave, unlike Lucy and Bryony. After it, it took her some time to recover, it still does, and it was like an awakening, sometimes sweet - like seeing Ken again, visiting places, etc - sometimes harder - like when she saved the soldier's life - but here, she really opens her eyes on what's left, and this feeling of wanting to go home, too, as if another wave of loneliness was hitting her - which is understandable because Ken is gone again, they're all exhausted and this situation is impossible to live. But maybe that's just me!

The last moment, where she turned to the patient, but said he was already dead moved me a lot. I know there is always hope, but here it's suffocating, and there seem to have no escape for anyone. You really gave this scene the atmosphere we all lived, and it felt particularly true, so thank you for your work! It's amazing, as always!
11/11/2021 c1 audiotrope
This is almost too sad to be reading on Armistice Day, but I'm trusting it gets happier. Poor Rilla. Poor soldiers. Which one is she saying goodbye to...
11/10/2021 c71 Feux follet
This chapter was very moving, for me. I don't know why it particularly hit me, but it caught me.

First of all, thank you for the visit and all the informations you gathered in Radley's speech! I went to see some pictures on google, to really picture it in my mind, and it reminded me a bit of Clermont-Ferrand's cathedral - the structure, not the stones used. I quite enjoyed Radley's explanations, and how he allowed us to learn more about this place which I didn't know before - I'm sorry, I think he was supposed to be a bit annoying, but honestly I really liked to read those informations, but that's maybe just me, I know how I am when I can learn more about history. I'm glad to see that he and Lucy were getting closer, and wish them the best! Also, I had a question, if I may ask. Lucy here reminds me a bit of Lucy in By a simple twist, and I was wondering if it was just me or if there was something, like a link, between them?

What touched me was how, without concerting before, both Ken and Rilla thought about Walter, what he would think about this cathedral, how he would have visited it. There was something deeply powerful here, even more since Ken said before that he didn't know if he had the right to mourn Walter like a brother, knowing that he wasn't and that he was "only" his brother-in-law. I may have say it before, so I apologize for it, but I was really touched by this scene, and how you brought the question about legitimity in grief in your story. Here, I was a bit relieved, because Ken seemed to allow himself to feel more, and to talk about about Walter. It was a very sweet but powerful moment.

It feels as if, every time they take a step out of war, trying to regain some normality, if there can be normality again, war come up again and hit them. Or, to say it better, like a wound you are trying to heal, and every time it starts to look better, someone cut it again. Like Rilla, I thought this was the last step, that after Germany, they would go home. And now, he's going away again ... I'm a bit selfish here, I'm sorry. They are not the only ones suffering from this, and Germay is suffering too, under the boots of the "victorious side" - and you showed it perfectly with the little girl, I'll come back to it (sorry, it looks a bit like a mess) - but after all they went through, you just want the to finally find peace. The war is officially over, but unofficially, it really is still there for everyone. I just wonder when a war really ends. Is it when the last building is rebuilt? When the last injured heals? When the last soldier / nurse / civilian comes home? When the nightmare ends? But do they really end? I know that now a lot is done to help the ones with PTSD, but then, there wasn't anything ... I'm sorry, I let myself be a bit carried away with that, sorry! Now, I wonder what Rilla will do ...

I was touched when Bryony said to Rilla that she knew she wouldn't be able to go the end of the stairs, that she's still trying to recover, but didn't succeed yet, at least not entirely. In the chapter before the last one I read, if I remember correctly, Ken said something about it too, that she was still fragile, even though she's strong, and Rilla said she had been really ill. When we hear Rilla's point of view, she / you don't let it be too much visible, and I think she's doing the same with the others, hiding it or at least trying to, but they see her, they see how much energy it is taking from her, and it is becoming more and more visible. What I mean is that you really show it perfectly in your writing, and for that I admire you, because she could hide it from the others and think about it when she's alone in her thoughts, but even there she doesn't let it out so much, as if she was trying to hold it together to prevent it from breaking into thousand of pieces. I just hope that the fact it is becoming more and more visible doesn't mean she's not relapsing, but more acknowledging the fact that she should breathe and be careful.

But what touched me the most was when Rilla saw the little girl. It was a short scene, and somehow, something which could happen everyday but so powerful! I think that it is precisely the fact that it could happen everyday which makes it even more strong. Because Rilla and the others heard for so much time that the Germans were monsters, and saw the atrocities of war in the same time - I think it was the same on each side, but each side saw their own side (sorry, I'm losing my words, I don't know it it is very clear ...) - and to see that, behind the uniforms, the trenches, everything really, they're just humans like them is something they aren't accustomed to. I truly enjoyed how you brought it here, with the little girl observing her - I really loved this moment where the little girl "turns around" Rilla a bit, as one would turn around something unknown to try to understand it - and then the game, it was truly powerful, even more because there wasn't a single word exchanged between them. You just brought them back to their humanity, both of them, and there was no Canadian/German, and the last sentence, "you are no monster" ... Really, it was amazing! You did a marvelous job here, and I can only thank you for this. Like I said, it particularly hit me, and I think that, if more people could read this, maybe there would be less place for war, because like you showed it perfectly here, we're all humans, before being anything else.

Thank you, truly, for this chapter and the message you carried here!
11/2/2021 c70 Feux follet
So, tonight I decided I could take some time for me, which means another chapter for me, and another review for you :)

First of all, can I say that I was particularly moved by the title you chose here? It was a perfect one to show that, despite everything, there is still life. On another hand, you perfectly shown how strange this life was, with the line about dancing in an old factory after doing an operation on her own. The way you added the elements on one line was perfect, and just added to the feeling of strangeness.

I enjoyed the dance scene, and how you managed to describe it while introducing the talking too. It certainly was interesting to know more about Matt! I don't know why, but it seems natural to have a character like him being friend with Ken. Despite all the jokes, you can feel that the other soldiers are not the only ones to feel respect for him. It transpires in his words, too, and it is a very moving thing to read about. I'm also glad for Lucy and Radley, and hope we'll learn more about them in the next chapters!

On another hand, like Rilla, I'm glad Ken wasn't alone when she was ill. But I'm quite nervous about the way he handles alcohol. We already saw it when they learnt about the hospital ship, and now of course when she was ill it certainly wasn't going to help, but ... I can't help being afraid about where it might go. Matt stopped him once, alright, but as it is a coping mechanism, a single "stop it" won't work for every occasion, will it? I wonder how things will go ...

Well, if Rilla didn't, I certainly thought he was still living with his parents, I'm sorry. But I'm glad he left his flat to Di and Mildred! I like how you built their relationship through the story, with small glimpses all along, but always important ones. Also, about the fact that they're thinking about going back to Toronto, I think that it is marvelous! Maybe because the way you spoke about the Glen and how Rilla perceived it particularly hit and moved me - her explanation was great! - or maybe because I have the feeling that Toronto truly belongs to them. They both spent some time there before the war, as young adults, and they were free to live the way they wanted to - read: without the Glen's rumors and thoughts. So it makes sense to imagine them going back there together. I can't wait to read about it! (Just a small worry and a question: What will happen to their little house in Bretagne? Will they keep it and come there again? - even off your story, in your imagination, what happens to the little home?)

I liked how you ended this chapter, with a look towards the future. I can't wait to discover what it will bring them!
Now, I realize that there are only eleven chapters to go before the end ... It may seem strange, to have a preference for stories with so much historical and emotional basis, but I can certainly say that, even if I absolutely enjoyed By a simple twist of fate, this story marked me more, and I can truly say that it will certainly haunt me for some time. Your writing, the way you always added new informations and facts while allowing us to follow Rilla, Ken and the others through war ... Yes, it's amazing. I admire your work, and can only thank you for sharing it with us!
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