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12/4/2021 c10 DogMonday
I meant to review almost at once, but then I got to read reviews of others and got a bit hesitant. Especially the review by OriginalMcfishie almost knocked me, it covered so many of my points, but so much more eloquently than anything I could do.

But you did ask for my review, so I will not back out but will give it a try.

I’m so glad Jims will live, not only because he is such a special person but because i think he really is the strong link between Ken, Ava and Faith, and he is, strangely enough, the strongest link to Rilla. Because I maintain that Rilla’s soul and spirit remain a very important part of this story. I hope he will recover completely and that he also will be able to get rid of some of his demons. The day Ken remarries Jims should not expect that woman to die.

Ava somehow not only grows, but does not make her self the center of attention. She realises the strength of bonds and emotions and the feeling of being powerless. She wants to keep and strengthen the bonds with Faith through letter writing. I love the scene with Ava and Jims in the same bed with camel Lawrence between them. Do they btw represent PEI and Newfoundland ;-)? Anyway, I doubt them sharing a bed when one has diphteria would meet today’s requirements for medical isolation. I was reminded of when I lived in a very far away country many years ago. I contracted typhoid fever (yes, really!) and ended up being cared for at a health station with a few beds. My daughter, who was four years old at the time, used to lie in my bed and read her favorite stories to me (she knew them by heart). My doctor back home just about choked when he realised this several weeks later. Should be the same problem with diphteria?

But this is Faith’s story and her story is about breaking out of her hiding place and admitting there is an old world, where she has strong bonds and a new world, with possible adventures waiting for her. But for the time being it is not about romance, and I’m so relieved, it didn’t feel right. But it is so right that Faith through Ken, Jims and Ava with their bond to Canada, to Glen and to the Blythe family and through her remarkable friends and roommates finally manages to bring out the old girl within herself and dares to think of he future. And in doing so she forms deep bonds with Jims and Ava, children of the Blythe family, and she becomes a friend of Ken. Even more important is that she wants to catch up with the remaining members of her own family and even attend a possible wedding. And she is prepared to reconsider where to live. There is so much hope here. There will be room for new romance one day, but it can wait for a while. I hope Faith still will keep in touch with her present roommates, not least with the loyal and steadfast Esther who in her own way has been very instrumental for Faith’s new, bold steps.

You really manage to capture all this development in this comparatively brief story. It has been interesting and fun to read. By now you certainly deserve a break and what month could me more suitable than december. I hope you have beautiful holidays but also that you and your dear ones stay well in these difficult times. And when the New Year arrives I have to admit that i will be very much looking forward to one of your long stories.

Happy holidays, whatever way you choose to spend it.
12/3/2021 c10 47Tinalouise88
Gonna try to bang this out before Lily comes over and takes up my spare time.

I do hope that Jims will be alright, but I have a feeling he will be which is good I think. I find it very sad that Ken never saw himself as a guardian angel to Jims, or in the very least not in the way that Rilla or the others may have been. Maybe that why I like this Ken so much because he's essentially an adoptive/step-parent in a way and I connect to that? I understand the dynamics between him and Jims and how it changed and is ever-changing because that is life with those sorts of relationships.

I do also like that Faith is going to face her past in a way and visit home, I know it must be haunting to be there again with so many people missing, but it will do her good I think, and travelling for Jem as well, just another dream to fulfill for him.

I feel like these two will keep in contact, even behind the children wanting to keep in contact with Dr. Meredith. Friends they have become, and they were one of the first things to make Faith not fear home as much as before.

Ava reminds me a bit of Nan(i think it was Nan in Anne of Ingleside, trying to bargain with God to save dear mother!) With all her wanting to help save Jims. The stuffed Camel is a lovely touch, I am curious as to how he became Lawrence, though I suppose maybe Ken had been reading the seven Pillars of Wisdom, or how I mostly know it as Lawrence of Arabia.

Hope you have a wonder advent break!
12/3/2021 c10 18Alinyaalethia
Lovely ending. You strike a nice, optimistic balance without ever getting saccharine. Ava wanting to do something shows huge growth. I don’t think she’s selfish by design, she’s just used to being the sun in her little universe and they orbit her. But she takes the shift of focus to Jims in stride and you really feel they are siblings here. Throughout he’s been making concessions for her but she’d be adrift without him to boss around. Buffy can relate.

Ava isn’t the only one growing though. Faith going home feels like finally pulling a scab off a healed cut. Hurts hideously while it happens, but it’s worth it. The Glen will be like that I think. Painful, but she’ll come out of it with more integrated trauma and maybe able to talk more about Jem. I love the idea of her seeing more of the world. She’s outgrown the Glen in many ways, but that doesn’t mean she can’t circle home for rest sometimes.

And you end on this lovely suspended cadence, musically speaking. They could meet again, and if they did maybe it would take the right turn into romance but maybe not. And either way, Faith’s connection is as much with the kids as Ken. She’s helped them with that motherlessness and found ways for them to talk about Rilla, and maybe muddle through that a bit. So I enjoy that she’s keeping in touch. Bruce might have been Una’s baby and younger Jims was Rilla’s, but the way we leave the Fords they really feel like Faith’s. Lovely work.
12/3/2021 c10 4OriginalMcFishie
I always tend to think FF stories are romances, and I’m so glad this isn’t. For a long while I thought it was going to be and I was VERY grumbly about it, so I’m very happy its not. I knew this was a short story so waited until the end to review. Confession time: If this wasn't you I wouldn't have participated past Chapter 1. Its all to do with me thinking it was a romance and not wanting that. So I’m glad I persisted.
I like the idea of Faith as a doctor. She always had too much spirit to be a wife and mother (not that there is anything wrong with being a wife and mother but in the 1920s that was a very different proposition to the 2020s). I think it makes perfect sense that she wasn’t able to go back home just yet, that she had to stay in London while there was still a glimmer of a glimmer of hope for Jem. Of course, life doesn’t let you stay and grieve a potentially dead potential husband all alone. That would be far too easy. I can’t begin to feel the pain she went through losing her father and Una to the Spanish flu. She was truly alone . Then, on top of that, having to write to Anne and Gilbert the truth of Jem when it was known. Brave doesn’t begin to describe her existence. You really get a sense of how it is existence more than a life and how meeting a connection from the Glen would unnerve her.
I like the Ken that you created. Dedicated to the memory of a wife he never really got to know, , capable, but completely out of his depth. I’m reminded of how Rilla has outgrown her strength at the start of ROI and it seems the Flu had the same effect. It all feels so ….hopeless. I could really feel Ken draw to Faith, not in the romantic way (I rally rallied against any idea of this throughout your story), but in a way to bring back the life that could have been.
I like that the horror we’re dealing with here is disease (appropriate for our times). Spanish Flu then and diphtheria now (now in the timeline of the story) are a more frightening, realistic and effective killer than the war and you can really feel the battle that Faith is fighting.
Ava is a brat, no doubt about that. I kind of get the feeling that Rilla bordered on this herself, and it was only another time’s manners and a rather strict mother that stopped her tipping over the way Ava has. Oh how I feel for Jims. Having lost an unknown mother, Rilla, his step mother, Rilla again and then being left with a father who seems emotionally stunted and a bratty quasi sister The boy is a saint.
I love the Faith of old popping through. Blunt to the point of rudeness, that’s not rude because its laced with truth. Of course, she won’t go to the zoo, why should she? And yet she does and its good that she does. You can really feel her opening up, touching old wounds to see how painful they still are and skirting around others as yet to painful to touch upon. I enjoyed how she got caught up in the quasi-family obligations of helping Ken find a home. There was more risk of romance here and I’m so glad you avoided it. Instead, they formed a sort of friendship, bound by shared grief and memories, a shared experience in loneliness. This is a much harder, and yet more fragile Faith than we knew but still you can see the girl grew up to be an amazing woman.
This family seem to bring that girl out of her. The excitement of the amusement ride (more quasi family obligations but still every so healing. It amused me that both boys hate them). And a heart-warming connection with Jims. Jims who really is the hero of the story. The boy whose mothers die (what a heart breaking line), who tolerates Ava to be close to the memory of Rilla, who is glad that Faith isn’t seeking romance with Ken (as am I!), and who causes everyone to rally together. You talk of Jims having guardian angels, and yet its Jims that saved Rilla from being a pampered prig in ROI, who saves Ken from becoming an absent father (he could easily have dumped baby Ava on a helpful female relative, but with Jims he had to be a sort of father), who’s almost death saves Ava from succumbing to her complete bratty-ness and who in the end, and Jims who helps Faith find , well faith again. Faith in life, in hope in dealing with old wounds and finding new adventures.
I’ve no doubt that they will meet up again in a far off land. It would make a lovely series of short sequels, dropping in on each other’s lives and finding how they navigate the future. But for all that, don’t write them. It is much lovelier to dream the rest than to have it written down for you.
Beautifully done.
12/1/2021 c10 Andrea1984
Danke für die tolle Geschichte und dass Jims am Leben bleibt.
Faith will zurück nach Glen, Carl heiratet.
Und Ava mag Faith, irgendwie.

Kann es sein, dass du Carl nicht magst?
Entweder spielt er eine Nebenrolle oder er stirbt.

Ich bin schon sehr auf die nächste Geschichte gespannt.

Warum die lange Pause?

Liebe Grüße
11/30/2021 c10 Parnokianlipstic
Well now.
This was fluid ending of an engaging story. You did give an intriguing glimpse of a different Faith and did resolve all the questions therein and some new ones too.
So Im a right to guess that Una and Mr Meredith both succumbed to the 1918s spanish flu in this verse of events? If so tragic, but very effective way of keeping Faith out of Glen, there are the Blythes also. And incidently effective these times that we all are livig now. Life is still so fragile.
It is very nice to ponder this Faith of doing the good works somewhere in the vast provinces of Canada as years flow by.

Thank you for fun times, and best wishes for new storyplans as well. :)
11/28/2021 c9 audiotrope
Don't let Jims die, bring in Mary Vance if you have to!

I feel bad for Ken, but I wish he had talked about Jims and Ava's own value to him instead of not wanting to lose them because they're a part of Rilla. He can't flawlessly monitor his own thoughts at a moment of panic, and it's natural to have attachments for more than one reason. But it seems a little self absorbed, like John Meredith and all his thoughts about Carl having his dead mother's isn't that bad, maybe I'm just feeling judgy. But I also like to see his relationships through less of a Rilla lens.

No wonder poor Faith hasn't been back home recently. If her father and Una died eight years ago, and Jem is gone, probably all the other kids moved away, what's going to keep her visiting? But there must be something if she feels the way she does.

It's hard to believe there's only one chapter left. I could read a lot more of them.
11/28/2021 c8 audiotrope
Faith kept a 'healthy distance' from Bruce since he was born. Could it have anything to do with Una's slavish (according to Mrs. Elliot) attention to Bruce? I'm thinking about a potential Susan-Shirley-Anne kind of triangle.

I love roller coasters so my sympathies all lie with Ava here, lol. I did feel sorry for Ken. Both hearing about his troops laughing over his seasickness (not that it wouldn't be funny), and him having to go on "the whip" with Ava. Such is a father's love, and pride. At least Faith saved him for a little while, and is falling in love with roller coasters herself.

I feel even sorrier for Jims now. His readiness to take blame for Rilla's death is giving "I'll say it before anyone else can." His description of doing pantomimes for Rilla that made her laugh has the feeling of a treasured memory that he revisits over and over because it's the last thing he could ever do for her. At least he knows that fate isn't fair to him, enough to complain that his mothers always die, unless he thinks he's been bad luck to them, no, poor Jims needs a break...
11/26/2021 c9 DogMonday
Wait a minute! Are you trying to make us believe that Jims is going to die in the last chapter? Please don’t let that happen, not so much because Ken can’t loose one of Rilla’s children, but because Jims is too important in Avas life, he is increasingly more important for Faith - and he is simply too precious a person! I can’t bear to think of him dying. But if course it is a genious cliffhanger.

Slightly difficult to imagine how you are going to wrap up this story in only one more chapter? I try to interpret what you said in your comment of my review of the first chapter, that you are exploring ”that Faith might have been changed by the trials of life and what would need to happen for her to regain that zest of life again”. Isn’t there a hint of optimism in that characterization of the story? And also your song chosen as theme for the story, Bye Bye Blackbird, it is melancholic but not necessarily tragic?

You said also in the beginning of the story, that this is a story in which Rilla is not the protagonist. But in a way I think she is! Her soul and spirit is hovering over every chapter and over every person in the story. And at least Ken and Jims cherish her memory all the time, to a point where she rules their lives as much as Ava does. She is somehow constantly present in spirit.

But for Faith Ava’s wellbeing is as important as Jims’. I like the clearheaded choices she makes in that difficult situation. And obviously there have been many more contacts with Ken and the children than the ones we have seen. But Faith did not accept a regular date with Ken only, going for the cinema? Has she been on any other date with him only?

So we get get the long anticipated confirmation that Una indeed is dead. Also John. I had thought maybe Rosemary, because of the possible analogy with Jims’ dying mothers. Rosemary must be living on her own then, with Bruce presumably gone off to college and Carl as well as Jerry living elsewhere.

That whole chapter is also about breaking up, taking a new step in life. All Faith’s roommates are on their way to the next phase. I can’t say I was happy when I realised that Esther’s elderly parents were in their sixties... But this is almost a 100 years ago and life expectancy has of course increased considerably. Faith herself has to take her next step. Could still be In different directions. I want Jims and Ava to be there for Faith and she for them but not necessarily as stepmother.
11/26/2021 c9 18Alinyaalethia
I feel like I should protest, but I actually saw this one coming. *I* would have stuck one of them with diphtheria , so I really can’t complain. Also, fun useless trivia you will never get to use on anything, but age 10 the first long-form story I wrote for school hinged around a diphtheria case. So if Faith doesn’t I have an odd sort of soft spot for this particular plot device.

You escalate this beautifully. Of course we’re all eyes on Ava, but Ava is fine and the bait and switch with Jims is just perfect. It doubles the stakes because now Faith doesn’t just have to save Jims, she has to save Ava from turning into this version of Faith where she believes everyone does on her. No pressure, Dr Meredith.

But it’s perfect. Ken’s unbelief is classic parent. No, not possible, because it’s already happened once and Rilla saved him, so I need him not to be dead because that betrays Rilla. But Faith, whatever else she is is honest, and you see that here too. She’s learned to gentle the honesty a bit, so no pulpit declarations, and she’s careful to get Ava out of the way before giving Ken the undiluted truth. Because as discussed, she’s also trying to save part if Ava. Masterful work, because who’d have thought I’d *want* Ava yo stay a bit selfish and spoiled?! But I do. All the kudos. Have a biscuit. Have two. Have the tin.

Not forgetting your opening, of course. Classic Montgomery winds of change stuff as the girls start going their separate ways. And it hints nicely of Faith’s future, too, if she’s spending so much time with other friends that she misses goings-on at home. That’s not to say we have to end with wedding bells, but just that even Faith is unconsciously separating from her chosen we do that when we’re ready to move on, sort of evolution’s way of making the separation easier.

Finally, I see we get details about Una and John at last. Nothing I hadn’t suspected but it does still kick a bit as the information lands. Mind you, I always said flu killing Una would have been the more obviously satisfying ending for a writer that didn’t want the faff of rebuilding her character arc.

My favourite chapter to date. Great stuff.
11/25/2021 c9 47Tinalouise88
I wasn't prepared to cry tonight, hell I'm still trying to sort myself out from the last chapter and now this. So it might be shorter this time.

Jims is not allowed to die. Not of Diptheria because he already lived through it once, and it will break Ken and Ava. Thank god for antitoxins and vaccines for these sorts of things these days that is for sure, at least Ava will hopefully by saved from it. But Poor Ken, dealing with broken wrists, and now this as well since moving to London. I mean he would have dealt with that epidemic in 1921 in Canada as well. He'll have to still worry about polio and what not with Ava in the 1930s'

I see that you also gave us what happened to Una and Mr. Meredith, also from that dreadful flu.

In the end, despite my hormonal blubbering at the end, it was a lovely chapter.
11/23/2021 c9 Parnokianlipstic
Well now. These last chapters have truly upped the ante, havent they? Really exellent dynamic in the amusementpark and the discussion between Faith and Jims were one of the highs for me, and of course the rollercoaster-ride.
As for this. Brava. The interlinkdness of housing situations of working women - brilliant, the housemates are great as are the realities of going to be married or not, the traditional "upward mobility" and doing the live of "paying guests" in different establishments of the times, as for the caring of the elderly relatives bit, too. For a moment I thoght that Esther had some sort of wlw-confession to do to Faith, but the actual info was and is so much better. Of course queer-people did exsist then as well and Im sure that all the girls have me them a lot living in London. City life makes you free, and gives all sorts of opprtunities. :)
Really exellent descriptions of the hospital conditions of the times and the harrowing effects of WWI in soliders even after 10 years or so. So awesome for you to point that out. As for Ken his guilt just leapt form the page, and also his belive of Faiths sklls to keep Jims "here".
And yes, the suave Ken-charm truly does not stick to Faith, but early impressions are not the only ones as Faith has come to find out. I like the dynamic of Ken&Faith sharing confidences and sorrows. Faith has always been the in a way the most city-girl of all of them, (Persis not included of course) so it is simply adorable that you are giving her the opportunity to be so.
Best Wishes!
11/23/2021 c9 Andrea1984
Oh das ist ja heftig: Jims hat Diphterie und ringt abermals mit dem Tod. Doch Jims muss es schaffen. So grausam kannst du nicht sein. Bitte lass Jims am Leben.

Schlimm genug, dass du Una und John geopfert hast. Um ehrlich zu sein, bin ich nicht einmal überrascht, eher nur insofern, dass du es nicht früher schon erwähnt hast, was Una angeht.
John, ja mei, er ist tot. Schön. Er hat sein Leben gelebt. Mir fehlt der Bezug zu ihm, sowohl in den Originalbüchern, als auch hier in dieser Handlung.

Faith arbeitet vermutlich deshalb soviel, um den Schmerz bezüglich Una und John zu vergessen. Doch Faith hat keine Chance, weil die Vergangenheit sie wieder und wieder einholt.
Was ist aus Rosemary geworden ? Hast du das schon erwähnt ?

Bitte, bitte lass Jims am Leben.

Herzliche Grüße

11/22/2021 c8 Tinalouise88
I'm with Ava, Coasters are amazing fun and I adore them when I have a chance to go on one of them. So i understand her excitement over them.

But this is mostly about Jims and his birthday and while it seems like a fun birthday. The boy clearly has held on to things close to his heart and what a burden to even think about carrying around! Has anyone told him that Rilla's death was not his fault? I suppose I connect to him in a way a bit, having rather vivid memories of my stepmother sick with some form of cancer. I was a little hellion back then, but I remember the toll it took on my dad, and how she declined slowly and steadily and how I couldn't quite grasp everything. It's a peculiar thing to go through as a child that is for sure.

It's nice that he gets this chat with Faith through who understands him, and I did laugh at his question and faith's response at the end of it as well.

No indeed!
11/19/2021 c8 DogMonday
A chapter where the Ford kids are at the center of attention, but through them Faith also finds more of herself. The whole chapter vibrates in a charming, tender but most of all heart-breaking way. There is also some humour. One interesting feature is that while we get to know some of Ken’s more fragile and dark sides he himself is not doing much of acting or talking.

The roller coaster ride does in a highly symbolic way bring out the Faith we know from canon. But Ava also demonstrates some better manners, showing that Ken’s and Jims’ different strategies towards her, although very well meant, are not as efficient as the more matter-of-fact attitude Faith firmly demonstrates. Also Ava demonstrates a certain indulgent responsibilith for her father. While I felt a certain dislike for Ava from the beginning I’m getting prepared to fully like Ada as you finalize this story.

But the really important part is the conversation with Jims. He is carrying so much guilt and so much responsibility on his far too young shoulders. Part of the reason he invited Faith for his birthday was probably to please Ken and Ava. But he must have felt some kind of connection to Faith before the outing, making him ready to talk to Faith on difficult matters when the opportunity did arise. It is so sad and heart-breaking when he reveals that he blames himself for Rilla’s death. Maybe this sentiment was encouraged by his grandfather who seems to have confused his paternal and professional roles. I’m glad Faith tried to steer him in another direction on this. It was so important for Jims to be able to talk about Rilla without feeling he was vajsing pain. Both he and Ava need caring adults in their immidiate vicinity.

Now I am curious as to how the idea that Faith could become Jims’ mother came to his mind? Did Ken give hints in that direction or did Jims again put Ken’s’ happiness before his own? In that moment I realised that Jims is like Una. I guess Faith realised that too. Una was so scared of stepmothers, for a stupid reason, but still put her father’s happiness first. Somehow this is one further piece of proof to me that Una is in fact dead. I wonder whether mothers in plural dying is true for Faith as well as for Jims? Another connection? But Una’s stepmother turned out to be a very nice person and mothers don’t have to die.

Through this chapter the story opens up for a couple of completely different kinds of endgame. I like that possibility.
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