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11/18/2021 c7 3DW.618
I'm impressed that either by brive or change, Ava seemed to behave better when the boys wouldn't agree to go on her desired rollercoaster.

I loved that Faith felt like herself again when she was laughing. It is sad that so many of us have a moment when we feel like our younger self...too bad things arise to take those things away from us.

Loved, loved the conversation between Jims and Faith...especially about missing their mothers. And Jims' relief at Faith not wanting to marry Ken. However, it was gutting to hear his reason for his relief...that moms always die...and Faith's fear that you always lose those you love. Until reading your reply to DogMonday, I hadn't realized that you are almost finished with this story! I feel like I'm just starting to get a good understanding of your Faith, Ken, and Jims.

Question: do you have appearances in mind for what Ken, Jims, Ava and Faith kook like? I sort of see Jims as looking like a young Daniel Radcliffe and Ava like McKenna Grace. Did you have any celebrity references for these four characters?
11/17/2021 c8 12MrsVonTrapp
Forgive me for leaping in after many weeks of radio silence - I am determined to play catch up - but meanwhile I am enjoying this story immensely and must comment on this fantastic chapter whilst it is all fresh in my mind!

Firstly, I really love the way you have drawn Faith so gradually into the orbit of the Fords and their own one-foot-in-front-of-the-other progress; on the surface they had appeared to be coping much better with their own tragedies, but this update emphasizes, as we have already seen, that appearances are deceptive. The healing that Faith is helping the Fords achieve - both actual sprained wrists and emotional - is also healing she needs herself, desperately. But additionally so is not closing herself off - even from the joys of the rollercoaster - which is a lovely metaphorical image and used very effectively here. It is also great to note that though little Ava is the mistress of coercion, unlike other times when Faith has been pressganged into doing things, in this instance the decisions are hers - to accept Jims' invitation and to accept the ride with Ava. I love how her joy in the moment reminds of her past self, and yet she is very aware of the disconnect to her current self and the reasons of self-preservation behind it... the sort of self-preservation techniques the Fords in their various ways have also employed.

Faith has her moments of connection with both children on their level and it is lovely - and heartbreaking. Jims in particular is a finely drawn and affecting portrayal. He has his share of guilt and it is awful to know how he shoulders it, whilst overcompensating for Ava alongside Ken over the loss of Rilla that he feels at least partly responsible for. He has a stoicism and pragmatism that calls to Faith in their very revealing chat, and his guarded (even risk-averse) nature is Faith now reflected back to her, just as Ava's more adventurous streak calls to young Faith's pig-riding days. All this is beautifully and gently done. "One motherless child to another" is powerful and wrenching, which makes me think, for the first time, that your endgame is not necessarily a Faith-Ken relationship (although you have done great work in preparing the possibility) so much as Faith helping to heal herself through helping Rilla's children, particularly Jims.

It must be so disconcerting for Faith to be cast in the role of Rosemary in this instance with Jims' classic "Will you be our new mother?" question. But of course, you are a wiser writer than that, and Jims is sadly wiser too - he knows that it is "safer" for Faith to just be a friend, as "My mothers always die." Argh, kslchen, what a way to break us! And in his experience, the poor boy is not wrong :( This is a really heartbreaking world view that they both share... and I am looking forward to the way you will navigate these remaining few chapters.

"Light the light" of course can refer to the illumination achieved through Faith's better understanding of Jims (and even of herself) as well as the 'spark' that was lit inside Faith with her rollercoaster ride. I really hope it is the light of hope for all your characters here, too x
11/17/2021 c8 18Alinyaalethia
It’s probably some kind of omen that an English seaside outing didn’t turn rainy.

Though I enjoy Ava and Faith bonding over the rollercoaster. As discussed, those two have a lot in common, not least their spirit. Faith has sort of lost hers in this story, and while that’s understandable, it’s still nice seeing Ava tap into what’s left of it.

Though really the heart of this seems to be with Jims. It’s his birthday, and presumably his idea to send that letter. Which is interesting for all sorts of reasons, but especially given he likes his people to be happy.

Anyway, there’s lots of overlap here too, and the connection between motherless people goes straight to the heart of that. It’s telling that Rilla is mum - obviously his biological mother died before he knew her and clearly Mrs Anderson Mark II didn’t stick around, either because of death or other stuff, to make an impression.

And the Rilla he describes feels different to canon Rilla, but if course Rilla as invalid would feel different to green hat era Rilla. But as Jims describes her we see god he came to be himself. Walking on eggshells like that can’t have made for much of a childhood. I mean, he’s obviously loved and it’s obvious both parents try, but a deep sadness permeates the story anyway, maybe because it’s set in contrast to the Rilla that played with him. He’s adjusted around her the way kids do with sick parents, and it’s lovely and sad but mostly gut wrenching that he remembers the deathbed scenes. No wonder he wants Ava to be happy!
11/17/2021 c8 Mammu
Hi again! I found this story too. I admit that I was first thinking that oh, Faith, shall I skip this story. For some reason I never really liked Faith. Not in the books or any fanfics I've read, don't really know why. But I thought I'll give it a try. Your stories have always been good. Not sure if I like her yet (or ever) but I find the story interesting :)
11/17/2021 c8 Dragon4928
I'm a huge fan of your work and just thank you for this chapter. I lost my own mother a little under a year ago and this small interaction between Faith and Jims hit me hard and while I think I might go have a cry, it was beautiful and also what I needed.
11/16/2021 c8 Andrea1984
Ein tolles Gespräch zwischen Faith und den Kindern.
Armer Jins, er hat keinen Grund sich Vorwürfe zu machen. Rilla's Tod hat mit Jims nichts zu tun.
Sie hat vielleicht ein schwächeres Immunsystem gehabt.

Was ist aus Una geworden?
Lebt sie noch?

Liebe Grüße

Andrea
11/12/2021 c7 DogMonday
What a horrible, cruel death Jem endured! And what pain it must have caused Faith as well as his family! I cried, for a number of reasons (I still cry when I reread certain parts of the AoGG-series, especially RoI). Did Faith give Anne and Gilbert all these details? Again, for them it was their fourth child who died before them, but also the first child that lived once upon a time. And for Faith her uncomplete love story will haunt her for life. What happened to Jem in this story is unfortunately a very realistic description of the fate of many men during wars. Come to think of it, it could have been the fate of Ken in Dark Clouds! But that was a different story albeit with the same background.

I’m not surprised that Ypres League and Esther played a part in finding out the truth. Somehow it was obvious from the beginning. And when you answered my comment on Ken’s as well as Esther’s jobs with some words on Ken’s only I got a feeling we would hear of Ypres League again. Now could the information on Jem’s death be incomplete? Could the Canadian High Commission find out even more? Because, while the High Commission would be restricted versus the British Government in many areas, consular work such as searching for still missing soldiers would be perfectly accepted and very much a priority.

What a night of honest confessions Faith and Ken are having. Now Ken is no longer flirting, he purposely keeps it very serious. And then he squezes her hand, a movement while maybe not as bold as before the war still somewhat bold. And I do understand that if there is to be romance there is only Faith and Ken left. Two still fairly young people with certain joint memories from their youth and an obvious connection through the Blythe family and more specifically two now dead Blythe siblings. But I fail to see the spark? It might be what Ken needs, and not least his kids, but this is Faith’s story and I don’t think this is what Faith needs. In my mind she needs to go back to Canada and to Glen St Mary, if only for a visit. and face her own history and not least what is left of her own Family. Maybe she needs to face Anne and Gilbert as well and share her information, also from 1917, and also their grief. Only after that will she be ready to go into a new relationship. I think this is especially important if the new relationship would entail children with their own complicated history.

Of course I realise this possible romance would be an interesting and in this particurlarly story maybe inevitable outcome. And when I say there is no spark, it is nothing against your very interesting and dialogue-heavy writing, I very much admire that.

Now you said we will see a jump in time? So we won’t get to know if Faith got really drunk and how she made it home ;-)? I promise I will follow this with great interest and quite some awe to the end irrespective of outcome.
11/12/2021 c7 audiotrope
I like how this is shaping into the story of two longtime acquaintances having sudden confidences and personal insights as they slowly drop their barriers. With that one shocking reveal from Faith disturbing it for a bit, poor Faith. I wonder why she really chose the letter writing over just telling them, but I think you hint at it, and I feel her reasons. It says a lot about both Jem and her that helping people made her feel closer to him.
11/11/2021 c7 Parnokianlipstic
Hello! A long time lurker here I too have been reading your work for a long time, and it is epic in scale wether modern or not.
As for this story credible what if journey of Faith and as a cultural historian I truly enjoy the incredible minutia of everyday life of the girls - the deep joy and frendships and adulthood and the viceral image of gritty London of workers..
As for Mr Ford, he really is a bit too sure of himself, the certain arrogance and charm that is living charisma and the gloomy bipolar darkness that is one of his inheritances from Leslie, - you have nailed it perfectly, in every iteration of your different verses of him. Faith - her gloden lightness is dimmed by life and state of affairs. The children - Your Jims just keeps making me teary, he just is so mini-adult, and Ava is interesting, spoiled, but there is steel in her.
And congac the bar - well a far cry of the teetotaller exictance of Canadian shores, really brilliant way of highlight the gritty but still lifes little luxuries and at the same time, the deep trauma of the truth of what happened to Jem. Brava!

Best Wishes! 3
11/11/2021 c7 MwithanE
That was particularly well-written. The pain, the resignation to live with it, despite of it…. You are a talented storyteller, and this chapter, for me, stands out.
11/10/2021 c7 47Tinalouise88
Its a chapter of stories is it not?

We get to see more of Faith and of course Jem finally and what happened to him which is nice to know for sure. But also why Faith became a doctor, it's a bit bittersweet that she did it for him. Trying to make his dream live out in some way.

I am rather surprised how Rilla passed away honestly. That having a baby ended up being her weakness? Though really I'm side eying Ken for allowing her to get pregnant in the first place There are ways to prevent things, Ken! I guess knowing that Rilla dies in such a mundane way because she had a baby... I would just think she would want to fight, to see her children grow up then just accept death? I mean even Beth from little women had a few years after scarlet fever! I suppose if death was inevitable for her in this story, at least she went peacefully, still sad though. I just thought it might be a bit different after all the discussions we had about childbirth, hospitals vs homebirth of this timeframe from when I was writing Sunsets and both of us being very adamant in our stances lol.

Either way, it was a sad but telling chapter and gave us more insight into the character and how they became who they became. The way they talk about is lovely and the choices they made if they regretted any of it. It's things like uncertain plans that will haunt you until you decide if you regret it or not. Things could have been entirely different for Faith possibly if they had eloped as well, and had a bit of a honeymoon. Still it didn't happen and maybe that was for the best if Jem didn't survive the war.
11/10/2021 c7 18Alinyaalethia
Not what I should be thinking but whimsically, just what are the children up to while these over dinner drinks happen? I trust Ava almost as far as my Una trusts a certain monkey if left alone too long ;) Though I’m sure Jims has stopped her actually scaling the walls or surgically operating on the dinner table:)

On to the heat if the chapter. I do enjoy the transparency between Ken and Faith. It’s definitely satisfying to get more answers about a Jem. It’s predictably grim but also particularly well-researched, coming from you. What stands out though is Faith wanting to pursue the dream Jem couldn’t. Ken pride a bit deeper and obviously there’s lots more bubbling under the surface, but even if there wasn’t that’s a powerful motivator. It keeps the connection to Jem alive, it lets Faith imagine maybe someone did the same for him as she does her patients...right up until the moment Esther hands her the awful truth. But Faith never shied away from truth either, so it also makes sense she wants to look squarely at the gory details of what happened.

Her writing to Ingleside ties back to a younger Faith too. She might be more battered but I see a lot of the girl who stood at the pulpit to explain how she and Una accidentally kept house on Sunday in the woman who nerves herself to tell Ingleside the painful truth about Jem.

Lovely seeing Ken’s musings on the relationship with Rilla, too. It’s certainly odd in canon, but it makes sense that given a bit more time and risk taking they could nurture that into more. Though poor Rilla never gets an easy pregnancy, does she? A universe away Jims is saying I told you so in no uncertain terms! Though Rilla choosing love and children over future happiness also shows tremendous growth. Once she only made an exception for Jims when it came to babies, but the war changed her and priorities shifted, and I imagine a big part of her peace here comes from knowing Ken has these two immutable reminders of her to get him through what comes next.
11/9/2021 c7 Andrea1984
Jem ist also wirklich tot.
Sicher oder handelt es sich um einen Namenskollegen?
Faith hat keinen Beweis dafür und muss daher alles glauben.

Was wohl aus Una geworden ist?
Ich bin ratlos, da ich Una, anders als Faith, als treue Seele innerhalb der Familie sehe.

Gibt es bei den Presbyterianern ein Kloster?
Wenn ja, dann könnte Una dorthin eingetreten sein und darf oder will keinen Kontakt zu ihrer Familie haben?

Oder sie könnte zum katholischen Glauben konvertiert und dann ins Kloste gegangen sein?
Wäre das zeitlich möglich gewesen?

Ich kenne mich darin nicht aus.

Noch ist das letzte Wort nicht gesprochen z.b. zwischen Faith und Ken oder zwischen Ava und Faith und es liegt viel Spannung in der Luft.

Herzliche Grüße
Andrea
11/9/2021 c1 Northlandgirl
This story feels like there will be tears...Oh and I thought it will be Jem not Ken... And what happened to poor RillaCan't wait to read this story!
11/7/2021 c6 audiotrope
Ken's explanation to Faith about why he started talking about Rilla to the children was beautiful. He's right about what it would have meant to Jims. I wonder if Jims has any little notion yet of why Ken does it.

He and Faith are also right about gender expectations for a single parent or single professional, and I'm sure they've both felt those prejudices many times, giving them grounds to be more sympathetic to the opposite position. I think right now I might like them to just stay friends so that they keep that sympathy without erasing it through a marriage that would end Ken's single parenthood and probably Faith's career, but I might change my mind again.

And now after that ending I'm really wondering what's going on with Ken?
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