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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

9/13/2021 c27 32Feux follet
I still can't get over the fact that we lost Jerry. It's unfair that he never get to see his daughter, and never had enough time to enjoy his married life. It makes me think about what you said in the first chapters, about Nan wishing to have a beautiful wedding, and waiting a year to have it, while if she had known about war, she would have marry him without the great ceremony. It just makes me think about how life is fragile, and how it should be enjoyed, though it can sometimes be complicated ...

I was touched by Anne's letter, but I can't imagine how hard it must have been for them all at Ingleside, but I was particularly touched by the way you showed what he meant to each of them and how, though he's the same person, he will be mourned in different ways. The paragraph about the officers and nurses sending reassuring letters to the families moved me, too, though unlike Rilla, I think it is an attempt to be merciful. If the families were next door, it would be different, I'm sure, but here, with so much distance, I think that the intention if kindness before all, as the last thing they can do for the soldiers they had under their wings and couldn't save, but maybe that's just me '

On another hand, I particularly enjoyed the end of Anne's letter, dedicated to Rilla, telling her that they're only waiting to have her in their arms, which is particularly strong as no one can be sure to see each other again until the last peace bell rang

Thank you for the good news about Polly, I'm so glad for her! After all those deaths, injuries and illnesses, you start to think that there won't be peace again, and things like that happened and it reminds you that, though it's hard - and here it's hell - there is always hope, and that life can still be beautiful. Thank you for this!

Also, I hope that Cooper will be alright! It's terrible to think that war isn't enough for some of them, and that they harass some of their own sides just for fun. I can't believe they are stupid enough to do that, for they're on the same side, doing the same efforts, and they still hurt him and treat him like this! I'm looking forward to see Cooper again soon!

Now, thank you for introducing Dr Robertson, and again for all the work and searches you did for this story! There is always something new to learn in your chapters, and I'm grateful for this!

(Also, I'm sorry, I think that this review is a bit of a mess ...)
9/12/2021 c26 Feux follet
No no no no no! Jerry can't be dead, that's not possible, he never saw his daughter! I can't believe they sent him back to this hell, what on earth were they thinking? That's not fair! Those men, those women, whether they are soldiers, nurses, officers, or else, they all give everything they had to a meaningless war, where the ones who decided it never put a foot on. Why, when they came back with injuries, either physical or psychological, where they sent back to war without a single piece of mercy? That's not fair, Jerry had all his life before him!

I know that I'm rather unfair, too. You said his pronostic wasn't good, that he may never have recovered from his shell shock. You showed his fears, and the non-understanding institution he was facing. You showed us how hard his life would be after this, and showed that it was a decision he made, though maybe not with all rational thoughts. But it's hard to let their hands go. And again, if there hadn't been all this mess, he would be safe on the Island, enjoying life with his wife and his daughter. That's what's truly unfair.

I'm glad it was Shirley who came, and not one of the oldest, for there is something strong in your story, between him and Rilla, a real sibling bond, which wasn't there in the books but which is welcomed here. He's nearly the same age, they grew up together, spent a year in Montreal together, so no one else could have come here, made all this trip here, to tell her what happened. Also, no one could have make this promise, especially not this way. I was deeply moved by the way Rilla described Shirley's eyes, and how you showed their shock with this promise, coming straight from their childhood, at a time where there was no war, and everyone was on the Island, alive.

I'm sorry for the first reaction here. Thank you again for all your work!
9/12/2021 c25 Feux follet
I left this story with the daisies, and entered again with the poppies, and it isn't just about flowers. I truly enjoyed this chapter, you did an amazing work here!

At first, I thought that someone Rilla knew was dead, and that we were close to the prologue's scene. But then, you started with the poem, and her thoughts about it, and there was a powerful sense of poetry and melancholy there, that it moved me. I stand with Rilla about the torch. If only it could fall and never be picked up again! I was also particularly touched by the larke, trying to sing against the guns, before giving up.

I'm so sorry to here that Jem is ill! He was always the most "alive", if I may say so, because it always seemed as if Walter already had a foot on the grave, and Shirley was not mentioned enough to tell. I can't imagine him dying of malaria, or any illness. A bullet, a gun, maybe yes, but not an illness! I just hope that he's not the one in the grave, in the prologue. I can't imagine how hard it must be in P.E.I., with everyone fearing the next letter, and at the same time hoping it.

On another hand, I truly enjoyed Laura's way to tell Jem's story, at least what she witnessed. I was moved by the small sentence about the rescue. We only get a glimpse of it, but youu managed to show how important it have been for her, and that's amazing to read. Also, this way of having these stories with him echoed with what Rilla was thinking earlier about the dead soldiers buried under the crosses, and what always hit me in a cemetery. The fact that one can't help but wonder what those people lived, during their life, and what they leave behind. There is something deeply moving here, and it's even more powerful that we have two persons who know Jem, but who doesn't have the same moments with him, and who can only completes the story by talking to each other.

Strangely enough, I had the feeling that you made this cemetery a place of life, not a place of death. The guns are killing away. Close enough for Rilla to be afraid, but still away. None of her brothers or relatives are here, and with Jem it was particularly strong. As if she came there to be sure that he wasn't dead. That no name matched his, that no cross marked his fate. Without any sign of this, there is the feeling that he's still holding on, in a way. There is also Laura who come, and they get out together of this place alive. I don't know what would have happened without Laura's presence, though.

On another hand, it feels as if she left something here, or war killed something in her that she buried here, and I think it is her youth. The battle ahead seems worst here, which means more horrible situations, more injured soldiers, more death, and I had this image in my head with her leaving the cemetery and her youth behind, and walking towards hell like a woman and, again in a way, as a veteran, if I can use this word. And it seems to be confirmed with the poppy, which is wilted as she goes away.
9/10/2021 c24 Feux follet
First of all, thank you for presenting Matron-in-chief MacDonald! It's always great to discover new historical figures like this one! I went looking for her on the internet, and found a photograph. I understand the mentions to her gaze and completely subscribe to the fact that she wouldn't even tell God about her plans! Jokes apart, I really enjoyed the way you presented her here

It was great to see Colette again! Especially to learn that she's now engaged to Maurice. I like what you're doing with her character, and the way she brings Rilla to open a bit about what she lived during her CCS. However, like Rilla, I would be tired to hear everyone telling me that I should marry someone like this. I particularly enjoyed the way she described what their relation would be, and I think that this attempt to smother her (though maybe not intentionally) was already starting, with all the attempts to "protect" her.

It seems strange to read a chapter, imagining the sun, the sea, when we were still in blood and dirt a few chapters ago. There is a sense of peace, welcomed here, but also a strange feeling that it's just a window, that soon it will be blood and dirt again, and that maybe we will ask ourselves if this chapter, this time away, existed. I liked how you associated this time with the daisies, though, and how you described the scene around.

Again, thank you for your story and your work!
9/10/2021 c23 Feux follet
My first reaction here was that it was terribly unfair to force Rilla to leave, when Dr Murray is the one who's responsible of this situation. It reminds me situations I saw where the victims of harassement are forced to leave, and may find themselves in difficult situations while their persecutors can stay in their place, and enjoy things as if nothing had happen. Some things hadn't change, apparently.
I can't understand why he would do that, when he knows that she's not in love with him, and that his attitude can only causes her troubles. When you love someone, you don't try to trap them or cut their wings. You let them fly. The fact that he even asked to the matron to re-post Rilla where she was before is terribly selfish, for he didn't even asked her if it was what she wanted. It's slightly oppressive and scary, to see him act like that, as if he could control Rilla's life and make it what he wants it to be.

On another hand, I admire the matron for her work. I don't envy her situation, here, with the fact that even it would be the fair thing to do, she can't sent him away, and have to ask Rilla to leave. I enjoyed how you described her concern for the nurses under her orders, and how she cares for Rilla. Though I don't really like the idea of "take him, just in case nobody shows after him", but you put it in such a way that we see the difference between both generations, and how things evolved (a little) between them.

Yes, Colette! I can't wait to see her again!
I must say, with all the unfairness of Rilla's situation, I forgot to tell you, but I particularly enjoyed the beginning of this chapter, where Rilla and the matron are circling around for a while. It was funny to see them, especially the matron, tiptoeing around before saying what was the problem
9/9/2021 c22 Feux follet
I can understand that Zachary asked her to go out last time, because like Rilla said, her vision was blurred by the shock, and it could have leaded to some problems. But here, there is absolutely no reason for him to push her away like this. Of course, I can understand that he wants to protect her, but again, not only it is too late for that, but moreover Rilla's a grown young woman, she can make up her own mind, and shes an excellent nurse. Besides, she's already treated injuries like this one, so again, absolutely no reason for him to push her away.

I enjoyed how Rilla took her "revenge", by treating the syphilitics case, and going through with it, even though it was awful for her. The thermometer's mention made me laugh, too.

At first, I liked the idea of the garden. It made me think about Jem's letter, in the books, where he says that they are fighting so that others can play in the gardens they used to play in (or is it Walter who says that?). I thought it was a way to apologize, and to offer her a place where she could be alone, when things would be hard. But I was certainly not expecting this. After what happened between them earlier, all he thinks about is proposing to her like this ...
I'm sorry he lost his sister, but I don't see why he brings it up here ... I'm sure he's not a bad person, that the circonstances they are living are hard, that many things, but can't he just think for two seconds? Can't he see that no woman would accept to be patronized like this by a colleague, even less by a husband?

On a better note, I'm glad to hear that Rilla wrote to Di, and that Nan and her are talking again! As for Jerry, I just hope that they won't send him back to the front. I liked the way Shirley put it, that the doctors are lunatics if they send him back in France.

Again, thank you for this story, it's a real pleasure to read each chapter, whether they are hard or not! Thank you for your work on this!
9/9/2021 c21 Feux follet
Your title is perfect here, because it is either hell or a nightmare.

I was particularly touched by the way you described the whole atmosphere, which was perfectly shown by Rilla's nervous laughing. I can imagine Zachary's face when she told him that the soldier's head was falling into pieces and that she just had picked up the brain - the top of this being that she put away the dust. You described her reaction in the best way possible, with the shock that allows her to carry on for a while, before the horror strikes again. And the way Ken announced that Beardless was dead ... I think it is too late to protect her from her work, though. Too late to protect any of them.

Which is why I was touched by the way Ken confessed that he was only trying to cope, with the jokes, the drinking and the smoking, and moreover by Rilla's answer that she didn't know how she was coping. It was a big step for Ken to break his shell like he did here, even if it's only a little. The way he talked about the clock ticking, and the fact that he's afraid to stay next to dead bodies because if Death comes, maybe she'll remember him and take him too ... I felt the cold too.

The truth is that I don't know how everyone who went there mentally survived to this, how they carried on. How were they able to get up and walk away from this to enter back into "normal life"? (If such a thing exists). I remember my grand-mother telling me that her own father chose to never speak about it. He only said that, when he was prisoner in Germany, he had been well treated. But that was all. The rest went into silence.

No human being should have been sent into this hell, and no human being should ever know another hell like this.
9/8/2021 c20 Feux follet
I'm not familiar with Vimy since long. Two years, maybe. Before that, I had never heard of it, and was shocked to discover this disaster, and even more that no teacher talked about it. Since then I tried to gather informations about it, and had more informations when Ken and Rilla went to Vimy's memorial in your other story, but it was still safe, as it was only the memorial. Here, it's just ... It's just a disaster ... Aderno said that there couldn't be poetry anymore, after Auschwitz, but I think it was already applicable with this ...

You did a marvelous job here, though I can imagine it must have been hard for you too. The horror was so impressive that I don't remember reading. I just watched this scene, completely helpless. It was like not being able to breathe, just carrying on until the last soldier have been taken in charge. I admire the courage of everyone here, and especially Rilla! She was maybe one of the less prepared, and she did brilliantly! Not everyone would have had her courage on that night!

What moved me the most was the end, when it's all over, and that Dr. Murray brings her hot chocolate, and it brings her back to her childhood. The way you wrote this touched me a lot, and I admit I was closed to tears. What's strange is that during the horror, I wasn't able to do that. I was just carrying on, trying to know what would happen. But when it ended, and Zachary offered the hot chocolate, the humanity in this simple gesture just opened the gates.

Again, I can't thank you enough for the amazing work you did here! You can really be proud of yourself and of your writing! Thank you for this!
9/8/2021 c19 Feux follet
I enjoyed this chapter, and how it brought us to this scene between Rilla and Ken. It's maybe just me, but I particularly enjoyed the dynamic you created between a public scene placed inside, while the more personal scene, between Rilla and Ken, is placed outside. It was interesting to see how it impacted the scene :)

I enjoyed the description of the trio you created here - and the nicknames seems to be perfects! It's great to have this moment of peace, away from the distress that war is causing. Also, the Matron seems to be a lot nicer than the Parisian's one! I enjoyed how she took Rilla under her wings, here. It's reassuring to know that Rilla's not alone in this, and that someone care for her, and pay attention.

I had heard about the song, but I never listened to it, and never read the lyrics before now. I understand better where the title comes from, and I think it's even more perfect :) Also, the line "they were called in from the glen" particularly hit, here. I enjoyed how you described this moment, and the fact that they don't applaud for the way she sing, but for the song and the moment it created. It was quite emotional to imagine them all here.

The talk between Ken and Rilla was one of the best moment, though. I hadn't thought he would have a fiancée, but it makes it even more interesting, and I can't wait to discover what you're going to do with this!

It was also good to know that Di is in love, though I find it hard for Nan here. I'm on Rilla's side here when she says that there is no rejection of their relationship, but just of the way Mildred talked about war in front of Nan. No wonder she fought back! None of these men wants to stay there, and it is cruel to say that they are complices of anything. I'm sorry to hear that Di left for Toronto without making peace with her sister. Like for Ken and Rilla, I can't help to wonder where it will leads, and if we have another Jenny Penny or Delilah with her or not.

On another hand, I enjoyed how you treated this event with Ken saying to Rilla that they're more than friends, that he writes to Di, and that he talked about it with Walter. Here he was like an older sibling to Rilla, and it was interesting to see him talk to her like this - though he still seems to have a high opinion of himself, but less than last time. As for Dr. Murray, I can't wait to know what will happen!
9/7/2021 c18 Feux follet
I'm glad we heard from Colette! It's understandable that she didn't recover straight away from both departures, and didn't forgave them easily, though it wasn't their fault. I can't imagine how hard it must be to lose them after losing Aimée, but this time they're alive, so she can still write, and there will be an answer. I hope we won't lose her, and will hear from her often! Betty and Polly still have each other, if I'm not mistaken, while Colette seems quite lonely (you got me with the snoring nurse, there is nothing worst than someone snoring while you're trying to sleep!).

Ken arriving as if nothing had happened, trying to read he letter above her shoulder, calling Rilla by her name, etc... I'm on Rilla's side, here, it would get on my nerves easily. But as a reader, there is something very funny here. The relationship you built here between them is quite interesting, and I like how you explored their teasing, between a Kenneth who seems to have a high opinion of himself and Rilla who's a lot more mature than in the books, which brings a great dynamic. On another hand, Dr Murray doesn't seem to appreciate the joke, and I can't help but wonder if he's in love with Rilla, or if it's just friendship's vigilance.

Una married Fred Arnold? Please, tell me we'll hear more from this event, and learn what happened! I can imagine Miss Cornelia's face, though ;)
As for Nan, I can't imagine how hard it must be. I was moved by Faith's letter, when she says that during the day, she carried on, but cried when she was alone for the night. In those moments you just wish you could press a button or something to go back in a time where it was safe, and no one was dead or injured. When there was no war.

Thank you for this chapter, and for all your work, really!
9/7/2021 c17 Feux follet
You got me there! We can call that quite an arrival!
I didn't know when Ken would appear, but in a way, he wasn't missing, for you made Rilla a more independent girl than in the books, and it felt like enough. When you started describe the captain's attitude, I hadn't the slightest suspicion, and was more afraid of what he would do to the young soldiers - and to be quite honest, I was imagining someone older, like a paternal figure for his soldiers, who's ready to give them fair punishment but not to betray them to the authorities. I was already imagining a grey moustache and I had quite a surprise when you revealed that it was Ken! Though, like you said earlier, age is just a number in war, and everyone involved must have grown much more rapidly than in normal times.

I also enjoyed the scene before, with just the two soldiers. There was something definitely strange about them, but I enjoyed the way Rilla handled the situation, between the nicknames and the "morbus mentiri". I just hope that the army have a special supply for the thermometers!

Now, I can't help to wonder what will happen between them, and I'm running to the next chapter to discover the answer :)
9/6/2021 c16 Feux follet
I was deeply touched by Gallou's story and way to speak. The way he said that it was easier to dream with open eyes, because he could see his home, and not be the victim of nightmares that war caused. You picked my interest saying that he was from Bretagne, as it is a place which counts a lot for me, though I never had the chance to live there - only some miles away, though. I was curious about what they would talk about, but when he started to speak, it was just wonderful, and deeply moving. I could picture the sound of his voice, his eyes away, on the land he loves, with the persons he loves, and all those wonders around ... (Can I say that I loved the names you picked for his children? Because I did. You did a marvelous job here, and I will never thank you enough for all that you did here.). Like Rilla, it took me some time to prevent any tear to fall (I failed. I miserably failed), especially when he spoke about his right hand, and said that she was young, but she would learn that all this war and sorrow and ugliness weren't all that the world was about.

There was something bittersweet, both strong and delicate in his words, and the way he talked about Armorica (it reminded me about Finistère, which means "where the earth ends"), about his wife, his children, his farm ... I could feel that there was no other place for him than this land, and that's the most magical thing, when you find your home. It was touching to see this exchange with Rilla, between the translations and the names. They're both away from their homes, and it was great to see that, by speaking together, they could get closer to them. I hope that Rilla will go there, one day. I know it may sound a bit silly, but I really hope that she'll go there, and meet his family and see his farm. Like Gallou, I'm sure it will be a happy day.

Oh Colette ... I had a doubt about whether it was only for the married couples (and therefore, if Colette had married him, she would have be sent home, if I remember well), or if every couple was concerned. I can't believe someone betrayed them and told everything to their superiors. It's already rare to find something so beautiful in such ugly times, why did they cut it? It's not only the fact that they are separating them, it's also the fact that they are sending Maurice to a more dangerous place, and he could lose his life there! Everyday they see wasted life, heartbreaking deaths, isn't that enough? Is there no way to have some peace? And now Rilla going away too ... I'm scared for Colette. I just hope that everything will be alright for her!
9/6/2021 c15 Feux follet
I'm so glad for Maurice and Colette! After all the sorrow we saw, it was great to get this glimpse of joy. It's even more precious with all the war going on. I laughed when you described the scene, with Rilla looking for the noise, then discovering it, starting to go away before stopping again to confirm that it's Colette. This and all the teasing they had made my day. It was like watching two sisters, and this spirit must have been so important in those conditions!

But I liked how, under all this joy and the jokes between them, you showed us their fears, and even if for Colette and Maurice it is amazing, how war makes it all difficult. Here, it was precious to see how Colette trusts her enough to talk about her fears, and how Rilla replies by her owns. I was particularly touched by Rilla's speech, about making the choice to go for it, even if we're scared, because otherwise we pass next to happiness. I wish I could have had her by my side, and have this speech before. It's strange how emergencies like war, accidents and else can make us reveal our true self, because we don't give time to nonsense anymore, we live, while when there's no emergency, we're ready to wait, to see, to do others things.

The mention to the letter they sent to Nan was heartbreaking, and I particularly touched by the fact that yes, Nan surely already knows how serious it is and what the consequences can be, but until the letter doesn't arrive, there is still this tiny hope that he'll get through without too much harm done, something that you can't control, even less with so much distance and no possibility to see by herself.

Now, I'm worried about Dr. MacIver - though him wishing all the French to hell proves that he's still himself. I hope that he'll be alright! As for Dr. Thomas, I wish him the best in England, though it's strange to think that the operating team won't be the same again ... I hope that the night service won't be too hard for Rilla, and that everything will go right, though I don't think the matron will make things easy for her.
9/3/2021 c14 Feux follet
Oh Jerry ...

It's heartbreaking to think about him this way. And to think about all those men who suffered from shell shock and never received the good treatment, nor the kindness they deserved, and were seen as cowards, and were sent back to the battlefield. At first, I had the same fear than Rilla, about the electroshock, and was surprised - but so relieved - to hear about the treatment he was receiving there. It certainly was rare to find places like this one, who would treat those soldiers with all the compassion and humanity they deserved.

The way you described him, whether it is when he stares at the window, or when he hears Walter talking about the bombing, and the event which leaded him to here deeply moved me. I was particularly touched by what the doctor said, about everyone having a limit. It's already a chance, if we can call it that way, to hink that he have his memories, and that no electroshock will take them from him. But still, I remember his stories in the books, with Faith and Jem and the others. Even if he wasn't much described, but you could sense that life was running in his veins just like in Jem's. To think that he only married recently, to think about his daughter he never saw, about Nan who's waiting at home and can't go and see him ... That's not fair (the war, not your writing!). I know it's silly and useless to say this, but it is.

One thing, I'm glad Rilla wasn't alone to go there. I'm glad Walter was here. I'm glad he took her hand in his before going. The way Rilla helped Jerry while Walter went to seek help was admirable, especially as you said that she didn't have much experience with shell shock. Like Walter said, she's a born nurse. But the way you said that she hide her tears now to cry alone at night was also painful.

You wish you could save them all from this. Catch them, pull them out of war, shut the noises and pictures they have in mind, bring them back to a world in peace. You wish all those governments and those who decided this war without putting a single foot on the battlefield would come and see the results. Isn't there enough death for them? Enough pain? Enough distress? Can't they see that they're sending innocent lives to the butcher, without being themselves threatened by anything? To think that Jerry, and many men, gave them their lives, their families - because Nan and her daughter will be touched by this too, once he'll be home. And who will help them, then? I can't help but worry about what will come next
9/3/2021 c13 Feux follet
it's a relief to see that Colette (again, sorry for the "Charlotte" mistake) is on Rilla's side, now. I like the way you show their dynamic, with Colette playing with the covers, or jumping to say that the cookies were excellents, though her grief is never far, and Rilla, who seems to be the most quiet here. But what particularly touched me here was the remark about the summer, it if will come back or not, and this thought that, of course there will always be summers, but they can't look like what they knew before, and never will, at least for them, who approached the horror like this.

The fact that Louise was one of the first arguments that Colette used against Rilla, and is now an argument but in her favor made me smile. Again, it's great to see them stick together, and help each other in the middle of this hell. I feel for Rilla with her nose, it certainly mustn't be great to help her breathe. It was funny to see Colette wearing a uniform. It must be more practical than the dresses!
I enjoyed how your writing showed this strange moment, between the joy, and sort of normal feeling that the party brings for a moment, and the war, everywhere else, never going away for too long, and always ready to come back in the minds of everyone. It's even more powerful with the title you choose here.
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