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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

3/23/2018 c37 14elizasky
For all Rilla was feeling hesitant or uncomfortable at points during this discussion, it was really a pretty forthright, honest conversation. He might die. They aren't shying away from it, and can even discuss it in some detail. (*She* might die. That they touch on more lightly.) It seemed like as good an indication as any that they are still doing well treating one another as equals. Ken can entrust Rilla with very private thoughts, even warning her that they might sound silly, but trusting her anyway. And he takes her work seriously and listens to her plan. Rilla could maybe be a bit more forthcoming about her feelings regarding small, dark spaces and her desire to avoid Persis, but she's willing to talk to Ken about difficult, sensitive subjects (his possible death, Jerry, the importance of her work).

Too bad about Persis being cranky at Selina. It's not your marriage, dear. Kindly get over it. Ken doesn't seem upset!

Jem and his theatre criticism made me wonder if I missed a tidbit in canon that has inspired both you and Alinyaalethia to work in his theatre-going. Though Rilla can't really talk - she's the one who stands up in movie theatres and shouts at the screen.

I'm not wishing Ken any sort of secondary infection or the flu, but . . . if he could just get well slooooooowly, that might be best for everyone. Rilla feeling like her saving his leg might be the cause of his death would haunt her forever if he were to actually die.

I liked the bit about Ken not being very pleased to be sending Rilla back to France and danger when he is tucked up safe in England. Those boys never do like it when the girls are the ones running toward danger and leaving them behind. But he doesn't actually try to prevent her and that's a point in his favor.

Now, this seems like a very nice plan. All neat and tidy. Which is why I think that it is not going to work. If it did, everything would be all wrapped up in a bow: they'd get married in August or September, Rilla would maybe swallow her pride and do some VAD work for a couple of months or maybe go home to visit family and get Susan and Anne help her throw together some sheets and towels (they've had enough practice by now). Ken would come home in the spring and all would be well, nice and neat. However. I do not think it will go down like that, of for no other reason that this is chapter 37, which makes it about halfway through the German version. So what twists do you have hiding up your sleeve?
3/23/2018 c37 45oz diva
So let me get this right, Rilla is going to continue nursing in France until Ken is repatriated to England. Then she will follow him there and resign?

Their discussion about afterlife and survival is intriguing. I can well imagine Ken’s thoughts on being rescued and finding Rilla nursing him, as he said heaven shouldn’t be so painful. And his point about Jerry was painful to read, that it wasn’t the Jerry that they knew who died out there. Their experience of God is that He’s capricious rather than benevolent.

I loved her description of Jem at the theatre, I laughed.

Interesting her point that they’re allowed to do that because after all they are women and marriage and then baby making is really their great purpose in life.

I’ve not heard of air raids in WWI, it’s so much more a feature of WWII. Sounds as though Rilla is claustrophobic.

You made me laugh with the elephant in the room comment and it’s a testament to your exceptional English that you use idiom in this manner. It really is amazing that you write this well in your 2nd language.

They have the easy teasing nature of the very much in love, it’s a joy to read it. She needs some joy in her life finally.
3/21/2018 c7 AnneNGil
Love this harmless flirting at the beginning. It probably gave them both a little boost. ;-)

All in all, I enjoyed this chapter. It was lighter and gave a view into the nurses lives outside of the hospital.
3/21/2018 c6 AnneNGil
Ah. Here's the story of Walter. I can see how the Catholic church could be a good fit for Walter.
3/21/2018 c5 AnneNGil
Oh... This chapter is sweet and sad, so very sad. At the same time, you really have nice writing. The descriptions are very good. What a hard place to work. Man, she is so brave. Such an effort that would be to keep a smile on your face through all of that. I can't even imagine what she would even write in her letters home. What is really demonstrated here is the power of touch. There's Rilla settling the soldiers with her touch and then again, Polly settling Rilla with her touch. Beautiful.
3/21/2018 c4 AnneNGil
Thus was a really lovely chapter. I especially enjoyed Rilla caring for Henri. That was sweet and compassionate. The poor guy-I can't imagine how lonely and helpless he must feel.

I love that your titles (at least thus far) are taken from war songs. Fascinating!

Typical Jem, indeed! Ha! Devoting 3 paragraphs to explain to Rilla that he can order her around. Oy!

You make an interesting muse about how the nurses are there to heal the soldiers only to put them right back out in harms ways. It really is horrible and I honestly hate war.
3/21/2018 c3 AnneNGil
Fascinating discussion of the Canadian nurses actually being part of the Army. I didn't realize any of that. Also, nice footnotes on the royal familes. I don't really understand all the instructions and outs of the Royal family.
3/21/2018 c2 AnneNGil
This is a nice lengthy chapter. It brings us up to speed with where everyone is in this universe. I'll try and keep it all straight. I'm so curious who was being buried in the previous chapter. And of course I'm wondering if/how Ken may or may not fit into this story. There wasn't a mention of him.
3/21/2018 c36 5McFishie 7759380
Good chapter. This is a beautiful brother/sister moment. From the lunch where he's finished and not so patiently waiting for her, to her taking him out to buy gloves, to the construction site and all it does to her. She needed this, a contained breakdown and for Jem to be there to help her rationalize, understand, talk her through it was perfect as a doctor brother it was exactly what she needed. And loved the brotherly advice at marrying Ken both protective (the comment about 5 years ago shows how much they've all changed) and supportive (telling her not to wait).
The Australian in me appreciated the shout out to Gallipoli. My Great Uncle made it to the beach, but no further. This war (all wars ) are all kinds of hell and Rilla's comment 'ask Walter about heaven but I'll give you the coordinates to hell' was wonderfully subtle and perspective in it's execution. I am in awe of your writing, double so when I remember English is not your first or even daily language.
3/20/2018 c36 14elizasky
More Jem! Excellent. Not as madcap as last time, but doing a good job being older brotherly. His advice at the end - to prioritize joy in an uncertain world - is sound, even if I can definitely see Rilla's point about not wanting to have to just sit around for the rest of the war, however long that may be. It makes me think that in his quieter, more reflective moments, Jem is probably very glad that he was born in a universe where he got to marry Faith and see his children born before the war intervened, even if it must be very hard to be away from them. It's also hard not to think of Jerry and Nan there and all the time they let slip through their fingers, and the lingering question of whether you would choose love and loss over neither. As a nurse, Rilla's dilemma is quite different from a civilian woman, who would have the incentives of separation allowance, voting, and social standing to push her toward marriage, whereas Rilla would lose her work and her place in the world. That's a lot to give up.

Though, at the same time, some peace and quiet might do Rilla some good. I know she would probably pace through the floor like a caged tiger if she had to settle down to tea and doilies with the war still on, but her mental health is clearly fragile. Will keeping busy help her heal or wear her down more? What does she have to do to get transferred to that cushy officers' hospital in London? Could she marry and join the VAD (which would also be a maddening demotion for her, but at least she would be doing some nursing work)? She was very close to a breakdown at the CCS and while it is good that Ken pulled through and helped her pull herself together, she is clearly not wholly healthy. What happens when she next loses a patient?

As ever, you do a lovely job of packing in a lot of information - the convalescent blues (I have questions, but will send you a PM), the hotels (stupid, sexist luxury - order two desserts, Rilla!), even the geography of London. I always learn something reading this story.
3/20/2018 c36 19Alinya Alethia
But you’ve taken all my lovely Scots out of the title! No matter, I was delighted to recognise this wee gem. As for the chapter proper...

I know you’ve researched it to the letter, so it’s not invention, and I love the idea of Rilla in those posh hotels all the more for that. She hasn’t half earned a bit of respite, especially after the bone saws and those legs -and as you show beautifully here, she can’t quite escape them.

That the construction site sets her off reliving the trauma of it is natural. Bless Jem for his line about her superior hearing. He might be the world’s most trying brother, but he is a wonderful doctor. His confusion at having to doctor his baby sister might be palpable, but he does it anyway, and tries to make sense of it for both of them.

We don’t often get earnest Jem, so seeing it in him here got my attention sharpish. He might have been teasing last chapter, but his heart’s in the right place, and the advice he gives Rilla isn’t bad. He still manages the odd joke -this is Jem -but he also gives suitable weight to the conversation, and I’m glad we get to see these two together at last. An already married Jem naturally has more serious advice than does the boy in search of a lark, and he has a frame of reference to offer Rilla, because it’s obvious he cherishes Faith rather.

The conversation about Hell is deeply poignant. Rilla has seen the unseeable -they both have in their way, and the way she rattled off these places part agony part geography lesson is gorgeous writing but terrible to read. That’s her girlhood irrevocably vanished -the thing I can never quite take from her. It’s not as if she had swathes of it left, or anything, but hearing her do desolate brings home how far into womanhood she is grown.

And it makes me wonder, if part of what Ken offers her back is some of that innocence, almost the promise of a safer, older world. She has no time for chivalry of the Murray School, I know, but she does talk here about Ken’s wholeness being tied to hers. He tethers her as nothing else has, and he’s done it even before rings were exchanged. So with that in mind I’m interested to see what Rilla decides, and where she goes from here.
3/20/2018 c36 45oz diva
I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love for your chapter titles before, but I love that they’re always on point and from well know songs from the period. A little bit of Rabbie Burns is always beloved by me as he hails from the same part of the world as my husband.

This was an excellent chapter. As ever you seamlessly incorporate research with action, so that we know what the men are wearing and why, and where Rilla is staying and why and the ramifications of that. The keeping tabs on the nurses is a tad creepy isn’t it.

So poor Rilla has PTSD, not surprisingly at all. The sawing scene was very vivid and realistic. The way it comes upon her so suddenly, how she can see Jems lips moving but can’t hear anything above the saw sounds and the shaking. No wonder Jem is concerned.

His discussion about why she saved Ken’s leg is spot on, and something I guessed at myself. And then this discussion about marriage. In Eliza’s story Jem and Di hide their marriage, could Rilla and Ken do that? It must be a comfort for the man to know he has a bride back home. But it’s unfair that the woman can’t work throughout not to mention a terrible waste of talented nurses.
3/20/2018 c36 10Excel Aunt
"And it's not your decisions at all".

Yep, Jem nailed it on the head. Rilla can keep up with Ken, but can Ken keep up with her? Rilla has some PTSD of her own with the sound of a saw. Another nail on the head. Way to go, big brother!

But Rilla is also a good nurse. If she really had seen no hope at all for Ken's leg and this procedure that save it, I believe she would have supported the amputation of the leg. PTSD be damned. I have to admit I didn't quite give her experiences the weight necessary before but having Jem react as he does help me catch up.

I'm glad Jem is supporting the engagement. He might have been a big naysayer to Ken and Rilla. I wonder what he's going to report back to home?
3/19/2018 c1 AnneNGil
Intriguing start!
3/17/2018 c35 45oz diva
A partial family reunion is a beautiful thing.
Them calling her bossy is funny. Men are assertive. Women bossy. It’s not as though Ken is bedbound on her orders either. Jem’s surprise at her skill in saving Ken’s leg is interesting. We’re used to Nurse Rilla, saving people for years now, but she’s just his little sister. It’s as if he’s just noticed that she’s grown up. Walter’s prudishness on her behalf is the same thing. He thinks his little sister or any woman shouldn’t be faced with a man’s nakedness. In both of their cases they couldn’t be more wrong. This Rilla is a mature, experienced woman who has seen more than her fair share of horrific sights and lived to tell the tale.
I love the simple way they communicate with clasps of their hands on wrists, they’ve got a special relationship these two.
Will we witness Ken and Persis’s reunion or hear about it later? He didn’t exactly encourage her to come, I hope he doesn’t say something like “I told you so.”
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