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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

2/10/2018 c24 5McFishie 7759380
Throughout this chapter I have a feeling of heaviness and dread. I feel her physical and mental exhaustion, possibly made worse by the small holiday (you notice the horror more after a break with some peace) and how so very alone she is. Alone with the fear of constant shelling. Hell would be a relief compared to this. And Jem is seriously ill, and Jerry may be back at the front. Everyone is in constant danger. It makes me feel ill thinking about it and it must be 1000 x worse for Rilla. I discovered like hearing about Faith and Jem's relationship, and I hope we get to hear more about Miss Inglish
2/9/2018 c25 19Alinya Alethia
I’ve told you before you get historic tourism to a nicety, but not, I think, of the poetry you put into it. In achspter full if rich, evocative imagery, the beginning shines like a beacon. You steep us in those poppies, their colour, their meaning, the thing they come to mean, and it brings history alive. ‘Death has walked this part of the earth far too often to let a flower die now’ gives us the magnitude of the horror, just as the litosus of ‘quarrell’ will be decried by Rilla in the next sentence. She wanted to be useful, and she will be, but she’s deep in the barrel of the blast now, and how can it not Harrow her? The image of her clutching at the cross grave marker is powerful. Not onky because Rilla’s own Faith is a wavering thing in this story, but because she’s clutching at a hallmark of death for support.
I’m reserving judgement on Miss Inglish. I can well understand a bit if reserve -how drinking round it have been to be endlessly investing in strangers that moved on? But here among the poppies there’s fomenting yo be said for kinship, and both women clearly feel it as they try to close the gap between them.
Like Rilla, I enjoyed hearing about Jem from someone else. The great thing eith malaria, as I recall, is that it doesn’t go away, so much as dormant. So Jem will never escape this war completely, if he survives it. But it was good to hear levity and stories of a Jem in Greece that was famously devoted to his family and as Rilla says, still felt like Jem. Long may that last. I have deep reservations about Jerry. Nothing about his return to soldiering is good, but I don’t suppose the people running things are seeing that.
They’ve all weathered so much at this point -even poppies can no longer mean what they should. If you’re going to write all the upcoming chapters like this, be assured you’ll have my full attention.
2/9/2018 c25 42oz diva
Of course I know In Flanders Fields and we buy material poppies to wear on our lapel around 11/11 every year and the money goes to charity. Near the door of my supermarket the same chap has sold those poppies for 40 years. Such a pretty flower signifying such terrible bloodshed.

The Aussie/British soldiers couldn't get their tongues around Ypres so they dubbed it Wipers.

So in volunteering to be placed in another CCS poor Rilla has found herself in Belgium. I suppose you had to do it to her, doesn't seem fair though.
So much to love and cry about here. That poor boy whose grave they're standing by, William Warner. So many and many and many of them, and that's just the allies I'm talking about. What happened to the German soldiers? Are there massive war grave yards for them too?

I love how Rilla counts the Meredith boys in her musings. They're practically her brothers too. Lovely for Rilla to meet nurse Inglish. How strange to hear about Jem from another party. As she says Jem will prove too stubborn to succumb to malaria. Stubbornness is annoying when you're the parent, but it can be a useful trait when the child has grown up.
2/9/2018 c25 10Excel Aunt
Oh man, Jem is really, really sick. Maybe if Rilla doesn't know much about malaria it sounds as if Laura Inglish does. It's sort of strange, really, hearing about how the how several nursing sisters had a crush on Jem. Of course, they would think Dr. Blythe, but I think he is only 'Jem' as if 'only' is ever enough of a modifier. And it's interesting how Rilla approaches the flowers with reverence as before she destroyed the flowers in her hands when she spoke with Colette about Dr. Murray.

Is it true for everyone, that our body language reflects our moods? Is that a theme you have or something I've walked through life perhaps oblivious to?

I'm terrified for Jerry. I just checked the date. The war isn't anywhere near over.
2/9/2018 c25 14elizasky
I liked the mood of this chapter very much. It was sort of a twin to the last chapter, with the daisies and poppies paired, just as the conversations with fellow-sisters are paired. Rilla’s in a bad place now and it’s only beginning, I’m afraid.

There are lots of lovely things here about the poppies. But I was glad that you let Rilla lash out a bit at McCrae. I remember memorizing that poem when I was 11 or 12 — I just tested myself and yes, it’s all still there, tucked in my brain somewhere. But Rilla is right about the sentiment embedded in it. It has to be the poem LMM based “The Piper” on. And though it is lovely, it feels as if it has wandered in from the days of Tennyson. It’s not that Sassoon and Wilfred Owen and the rest of them are fun to read, but they’re not didactic in this way. “Flanders Fields” is a beautiful poem — there’s no getting around that. But I’m glad Rilla critiqued it.

How interesting to hear about Jem’s life in Greece. I’m sure that “half the sisters” fancying him is a gross underestimation. Poor Laura. No one else ever had a chance, not even for a second, right from that first meeting in Rainbow Valley. The image of Jem running around showing people pictures of Faith (and their kids?) was perfect. He would. But poor Jem with his malaria. My grandfather caught malaria in WWII and had bouts of it for decades. Jem may never be completely out of the woods with that one. Though maybe now they’ll send him either home or to England? Let me hope.

Because goodness knows there’s not a lot of hope to go around here. If they’re sending Jerry back to the front, he will be dead in a week. He’ll go to pieces and freeze or have an attack and flee and be shot for desertion. And they’re trying to put him in command of men? That’s the real madness right there.

The briefest thought spared for our pal Carl. Where are you, Carl?

We know where Rilla is - right in the thick of things. If she’s seeing red now, I can’t imagine what she’ll think of the fighting around Passchendaele over the next several months. I suppose there’s a decent chance that any of the Glen boys who get wounded will get sent her way, though with such a big cluster of CCS and what I’m sure will be overwhelming casualties, she probably wouldn’t even see them if they did. I hope the benevolent hand of authorship might come down and arrange a meeting, though. Maybe Sister Inglish will recognize a name and fetch Sister Blythe. Though, of course, I don’t want any of our boys to be wounded. That’s the awful thing about this AU – their war records are completely different! Anything could happen! I’m trying to predict who you might send her way. Miller Douglas? Fred Arnold? I guess this Rilla doesn’t know Robert Grant (though that wouldn’t stop you from making him a passing soldier whose name means nothing in this universe).

I half thought you were going to name the dead soldier Willie McBride after the Eric Bogle song. But even if you didn’t you called him to mind.

I fully anticipate that the next dozen chapters will be pure hell, so here’s hoping you can relieve some of it by giving us updates/glimpses of some of our other characters.

I want to know a little more about Rilla’s “hopeless infatuation” from before the war . . .
2/7/2018 c24 19Alinya Alethia
I’ve missed Colette. She’s gloriously wilfull, even as she orders daisies. Right from the start she’s gently needling Rilla into wakefulness and plucking her conscience in all the right places. There’s even an odd kind of innocence to her here, the way she weaves the daisy crown and craves Rilla’s happiness in love. Some of that is, no doubt, as she says, a sort of wish to share her own happiness (how could you hold back those details?! Colette engaged!) but some of it too feels like a wish for good to prevail in everything. It’s the same part of Colette that can’t bear others to leave her. And it means Rilla can ‘sister’ Colette A little, as she hadn’t done for anyone else. Of course, Colette does it right back, invoking Ken with glee, but as ever, I love their give-and-take dynamic. (Incidentally, if you dare do anything to Colette I will personally haunt you. Now that probably guarantees it Rilla happen, but at least I gave you fair warning. So that line about Ken and Colette is really there yo foreshadow their meeting. Otherwise, haunting. I promise.)

I did have to laugh over Colette making the case for Ezekiel/Zachary. She’s do irreverent about the whole thing, she knows perfectly well what she’s playing at -that not only does Rilla not care for the man, but has strong suspisvions as to why. Rilla’s creeping sense of Ken, even in his absence, is also nicely handled. All her justifications for comparing him to Dr Murray are lovely and Rilla and don’t really wash at all. But she hasn’t quite looked at them that way yet, so I’ll leave it.
(Apropos if nothing, I loved Colette and the Dachshund comparison. She really is like one too, right down to the eager leaping.)

As ever, you do historical tourism beautifully. This chapter is seeded nicely with war talk and VAD talk that adds not onky o the dorks but the sense of the girls’ lives. The fact that the two most urgent topics are love and war stands out especislly. At least Ruth Colette on hand they’re that way round. Rilla’s had do much of war -they both have, it must be a relief to talk of something else. Even if something else is Zachary and a Colette bent on gossip.
2/7/2018 c24 5McFishie 7759380
What a wonderful tribute to Matron in Chief MacDonald, and on the anniversary (more or less) that women got the vote here in the UK (if they were over 30 and had property, but it was a start).
Its nice to see Rilla relaxing. You can feel the warmth of the sun and how pleasant the sound of the ocean is after the boom boom boom of the guns. And she's using her time to sort out her feelings for Zachery and (although she probably wouldn't admit it to herself) Ken, or what feelings she may have if he wasn't engaged.
2/6/2018 c24 8Catiegirl
I can feel Rilla’s frustration in not being understood here- and it was so real, I felt, the way that talk of the war would always invade. They can go on leave, but they can hardly pretend that it’s not happening- I love the way Rilla will admit that she tried to like Zachary, but in the end she steers her own course. And of course, I loved that Ken just kept popping up there, even in her thoughts- Rilla’s reaction to that was priceless!
2/6/2018 c24 14elizasky
Important Question: What did CAMC nurses wear on leave? Did they wear the normal blue dress? Did they at least let them swap the apron for a belt? I ask because I have seen conflicting things re: the VADs on leave — some saying they wore the sky blue dress with a belt and still wore the kerchief even on leave, others stating that they had a skirt/blouse combo with a tie and wide-brimmed blue panama hat that they could wear on leave (and, of course, a few instances of VADs getting in trouble for being inappropriately dressed on leave). Though that’s really for summer leave and I’m trying to figure out certain attire for a winter leave . . .

To the review proper:

Thank you for introducing us to Matron MacDonald! (Though I’m sure we’re all glad she isn’t actually there with our friends, peering down her nose at them.) She sounds like quite a force to be reckoned with.

Oh, Colette. She’s delightfully selfish. I enjoyed her scheming about how Rilla could have used her unfortunate entanglement with whatever-his-name-is to put in a transfer back to St. Cloud. Her ticking off Zachary’s “on paper” good points made him sound alright, but trust Rilla here, Colette, it’s a NO. (By the way, I guess Rilla successfully managed to avoid confronting Zachary before she went on leave? I feared she would. Oh, Rilla, that will come back to bite you.)

But Colette is a good friend and I’m glad Rilla has her. I wouldn’t really have pegged Colette as an agent of order (she is temperamental and a bit chaotic), but the way she deals with those daisies indicates that she may be able to set Rilla straight, at least in matters of the heart. Rilla leaves them all crushed and messy; Colette gathers them up, arranges them, and gives them back to Rilla as a crown. Now that she’s an engaged woman (!) she has vast knowledge and experience. Though having Colette engaged to Maurice makes me fear for both of their lives.

Maybe Colette’s interest in Ken will make Rilla think harder about him. She’s already noting that he never babied her in the way that Zachary did. He treats her as an equal (which is a nice change from canon, in which Ken mostly treats Rilla as an idea rather than a person). I hope that Rilla being “secure in the knowledge” that she’ll never have to introduce Colette and Ken means that they will definitely meet, preferably when they are both alive and well after the war.

Lots of good information in this chapter. I felt that I learned a lot, especially about the rest homes and the political situation in the summer of 1917. Yanks late to the party as usual. Thanks for the tour of where things stood at this moment.
2/6/2018 c24 10Excel Aunt
Colette does a good job poking Rilla. And how awful/illuminating that Rilla sees that she might have an interest in Kenneth Ford, although, she respects his engagement. And Rilla does a good job rationalizing why she can't marry Zachary or even think that way by using Kenneth Ford as her yardstick. Not that she wants to marry a yardstick, but Kenneth at least treated her more like an equal instead of a pet.

I really like Collette. I was shocked to learn she and Maurice are engaged. I must have missed that somewhere, but 'yay' for Maurice is a nice man. Did Rilla and Dr. Zach have a talk then?

I wonder if Rilla and Major MacDonald will cross paths soon. That will be a fun read.
2/6/2018 c24 42oz diva
I’m always a sucker for a bit of Burns as he hails from the same part of the world as my husband.

Lovely to see Rilla on vacation away from the blood and guts and those awful guns. The daisies are a sweet touch, because they seem so innocent and something in very short supply further north. A symbol of a happier, simpler time and place.
I loved the mention of the Matron in chief and her relationship with God.

I think Rilla is right about Ezekiel, he would smother her. While as Collette says it’s nice to have someone to look out for you, it’s nice to make the choice yourself. Zach looks good on paper, but we know he’s not right for her.

I can imagine everyone is endlessly speculating about the end of the war. Got a while to go yet though.
2/5/2018 c23 8Catiegirl
As if being a nurse in a war far from home isn't enough! I really felt for Rilla here, unwelcome attention that drove her from a place she loved being, and she will end up having to hurt someone who was a friend. not to mention Matron officially telling her they will move her because of it, saying it's not her fault, but hey- could you like him anyway? Auuugh! At the same time, Rilla is learning and growing, and becoming a formidable nurse in her own right- I do wonder if in her new position if she will be able to see the other boys from time to time- including the ever-fascinating Ken.
2/5/2018 c22 Catiegirl
Poor Rilla here! That frustration of not being allowed to do what she does because of Zachary's squeamishness on her behalf- and there was that Blythe stubbornness- when you reflect that Rilla really is her mother and Father's daughter, you want to give Zachary a hint that he's reeeeeally out of his league here. The worry over family, over Jerry and Nan and Di's woes, she's stretched so thin- but I love that she will do her duty, no matter what is happening. Zachary's expectations are enormous here- and Rilla's determination to never eat blueberries again is telling of just how unwelcome his advances really are. I hope he gets the picture...
2/3/2018 c23 19Alinya Alethia
I knew I could afford to like Agnes Burke. She’s really playing a bad hand as best she can here. Sending Rilla away is hardly the ideal solution, but it’s a solution and it will keep Rilla safe...except I agree with other reviewers that Dr Murray might prove the sort to hare off on a quest. It’s all that old-world chivalric stuff. And if Rilla doesn’t take that advice at the end (and really, this us the woman who kept putting off that difficult letter to Nan, and that was only a long-distance communication, this isn’t) I can well envisage him on her CCS doorstep expecting an open-armed greeting. So screw your courage to the sticking point, Miss Rilla, and be shot of him.

As for the earlier advice about spinsterhood, well Matron’s not wrong about friendship being a good base, but Rilla really is too much Anne’s daughter for that kind of marriage. I’m not even sure she and Anne have the same taste -I can’t see your Rilla on Roy Gardner’s arm at all -but they do share a need to be sincerely loved. How can she not, with Anne and Gilbert for an example? She’s seen first hand what it is to be valued rather than sheltered, and naturally she’s inclined towards someone who offers her that recognition. Not that I grudge Matron. Zachary is endlessly interfering, with his spontaneous proposals and attempts to requisition Rilla to his station again. Matron means a bit of advice that Rilla a) doesn’t have yo cleave to, b) could apply to any number of persons and c) is genuinely well-intentioned towards securing Rilla's happiness. She’s not wrong about all those caught out women that are coming. But I also trust her not to appear after Rilla’s transfer with advice to heed her original advice. So yes, Agnes Burke may stay. And Rilla should seriously consider finalizing her piece with Zachary Murray. If only so I don’t have to resort to that cupboard under the stairs for him.

In other news, I’m delighted we’re due more Colette. And *could* they drop in on Gallou, do you think? Please?
2/3/2018 c23 5McFishie 7759380
I like the matron, she really cares about her charges. Their physical and mental safety as well as their spiritual and romantic health. I'm a bit concerned about Zachary asking her back. Is he in danger of becoming obsessive, is Rilla at risk from him?Especially if she doesn't talk to him. Ah well will see collette again! I hope her romance is well. I bet she'd say a thing or 2 to Zachary?!
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