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5/23/2013 c11 103847
Hands down, this chapter is the best one so far. It doesn't have the lighthearted feel of the previous chapter, and I'm actually glad it doesn't - too much joy and ducky-bunny moments can make a story seem frivolous rather than meaningful. I am very impressed with the two women you've created to fill the posts of lady's maid and temporary nanny - so nice to see a relative of Mrs. Patmore make an appearance! After all, the last servant relative to show up on the series was Alfred Nugent, O'Brien's nephew (thank the Lord he's nothing like his aunt!), so it's really awesome to see that you've created a relative for Mrs. Patmore when we still don't know too much about her background and family. If you don't mind me asking, did you have any actresses in mind when you created these ladies?

Regarding Mary's feelings for Charles: I love the way you've written this particular paragraph:

"She had actually caught herself longing for the man to break the very promises he had made to her just yesterday in good faith, wondering with a heated shiver just what it would feel like to have him whisper a sonnet in her ear, how his breath would feel just barely caressing her neck in delicious madness as his words stroked her mind. Her intoxicated thoughts then drifted helplessly to his lips, imagining the sensation of them ever so softly brushing her cheek...and the utter tenderness of how his fingertips might tease their way down her shoulders…the forbidden comfort of large hands encompassing her and drawing her hopelessly in, sheltering her as they hypnotically warmed her back...the heady possibility of his generous mouth moving on her…"

Some romantic stories can get a little smutty in descriptions like this, but you've managed to make it sensual and beautiful without being explicit or trashy. I read Christian Regency romances (check out Julie Klassen when you get the chance; if you're a fan of Jane Austen, you'll love this woman's books) that are of this very nature, and I've learned that there is a way to convey romantic feelings and certain cases of the "warm fuzzies" without making it seem like the characters are simply lusting after each other. When I write about characters' feelings in my stories, I write that they feel warm internally and sometimes get a little tongue-tied at the sight of the one they love, but I'm praying that it's not coming across as lust. There is such a thing as feeling warm and respectful toward someone else without being in total lust for them, and that's the vibe I'm getting from Mary's feelings for Charles.

I'm also glad to see that you've revisited the Kemal Pamuk incident, as it seemed like it was simply swept under the rug in Season 3, probably to create less drama in that respect for Mary and Matthew. But I think it's a thing that will haunt Mary forever unless she learns to drop it and forgive herself, and will she tell Charles? It's a good question. But I was also glad to see that Lady Catherine knew exactly what Mary was going through - sad for her having to experience nearly the exact same thing, yet relieved to see that she wasn't judging Mary, rather accepting her and loving her because they were kindred spirits; survivors, as Lady Catherine said. One thing Mary said during that exchange really caught my eye:

""It was so very long ago," Mary began softly, speaking words she had never dared to utter and taking small, slow steps back towards the chair, hugging herself reassuringly. "He just showed up in my bedroom one night, you see. I'm still not even sure how he knew which room was mine."

What intrigues me about this statement is one name only: Thomas. Will it ever come out that he was the one who led Pamuk to Mary's room, and will he finally get kicked out of Downton for good then? I can't imagine Robert, Cora, Mary, or Carson, especially, merely accepting what he did as a thing of the past. In my opinion, if it does come out, I think that Robert is going to be enraged, but Carson is going to be the one who explodes like Vesuvius - not only is he the head butler and therefore Thomas's boss, but he is very protective of Mary and would never want to see her harmed in any respect. To learn about her honor being disgraced in such a manner through the doings of a trusted member of the staff would not only infuriate Carson, but wound him as well. I sincerely hope that this is an issue that Julian Fellowes addresses in the upcoming season; it's about time Thomas gets what's coming to him.

It's going to be hard to wait another week for Chapter 12, but it will undoubtedly be worth it, as it always is. God bless, my friend!
5/23/2013 c11 7Eternally Romantic
I really enjoyed this chapter! I hope we get to see more of Mary and Mr. Blake interacting because I find that so interesting. I can't wait to read more!
5/23/2013 c11 Audrey C
Really awesome chapter all around. Loved how you brought up Mary's trauma. I agree that it hasn't been dealt with properly. So looking forward to her future interactions with Charles Blake.
5/23/2013 c11 8oiseaus
What a beautiful, well-developed chapter! I really have to applaud you for taking a deeper look into the Pamuk episode. You're right, it was never really addressed or resolved for Mary, and I agree that she blamed herself for far too long. So, bravo for that!
I also love the fact that she is admitting to herself that she is attracted to Blake, yet she isn't quite comfortable with that feeling yet. It seems very realistic and characteristic of our Mary. I think it's quite nice that you're bringing her about it slowly instead of rushing her into something with him. Taking your time is always good, and I think Mary would definitely take hers.
Anyway, a wonderful chapter, as always! I can't wait for the next update!
5/21/2013 c9 readingfrenzy
Wow! You are not only a very adept, thoughtful writer, but your metaphorical usage of Rapunzel lets us see the richness of your literary knowledge. So well done! Your writing, especially, the scene in the cemetery, is ever so poignant. I do, however, struggle with one thing regarding your writing...your characterization of Charles is overshadowing Matthew. I now like Charles better than Matthew! Thanks for creating these wonderful new characters and fanfic. RF
5/20/2013 c10 103847
How do you do it? You managed to make this chapter hilarious one moment and then beautifully romantic and warm the next so effortlessly. I have to say, I totally enjoyed the escapades of Jimmy's dog - it sounds just like something he'd do. But the best part of the chapter - aside from the romantic bit at the end, of course - is Mary's relationship with Mrs. Hughes. It's no secret that Mary and Carson have a special relationship, but I've wondered what her relationship with Mrs. Hughes is like, and you've made it totally believable and deep here. They're able to communicate wordlessly and wonderfully, and it's so obvious that both of them love Carson more than words can say. I'm still waiting for Mrs. Hughes and Carson to get together, so it was really nice to see some banter between them.

Now for my favorite part: the poetry and the rose. I totally agree with what you said to me in your message; that Mary deserves to be truly courted and romanced, because she and Matthew had so many stops and starts that it never really felt like they had that period to enjoy each other's company. Charles has chosen a sweet and beautiful path of courtship to follow and lead Mary down, and it'll be so amazing to see how everything unfolds. Matthew will always be watching over her - I'm actually of the opinion that he sent Charles to Mary. Blessings, my friend!
5/18/2013 c10 7Lady-Finwe
Still loving it and cant wait for the next chapter :)

Lots of accidents at Downton, Poor Carson
5/16/2013 c10 Guest
I am really enjoying this. I have been hesitant to read too many "Mary, post-Matthew" stories, as my heart is still broken over Matthew, but I recently started reading this one, and it is wonderful. I love that it's been a year, and Mary is starting to see some light again. I love her back and forth emotions, and I imagine there will be a lot of this in the show next season. You've written her so convincingly, I almost believe I'm watching season 4. It's such a great story.
5/16/2013 c10 1Pattenrond18
I just love your fanfic. It's very well written and I love the plots. In this chapter, I was very amused by all the small catastrophes in the story. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I enjoy reading new chapters of your story and that it is certainly one of my favourites.
5/16/2013 c10 Audrey C
Just one of those days where everything goes wrong. It was fun watching Mary deal with it all. Looking forward to the garden party!
5/16/2013 c10 Joystar
ABFAB! I can't wait for the next chapter
5/9/2013 c9 salzburg
What a great story and excellent writer you are! Your insight into Mary is stunning, and as far as I am concerned, right on. You wrote,
"Although Mary would never admit it to anyone, she would often lie awake in bed after their story time together, toying with her braid and imagining herself as the unfortunate heroine rather than the evil sorceress who had locked the girl away from the world around her. Somehow, one determined prince had scaled those walls, loved her and tried to help her escape. But in doing so, it cost him his sight and nearly his life.

And it had cost Matthew everything."
Wow! So moving, as well as the rest of the 'Brothers' Grimm' dialogue. Thank you.
5/11/2013 c9 x-x-abi-x-x
That was so good! Looks like Mary's really found her match. Hope it's like this in canon. Looking toward to the garden party, please update more soon xx
5/10/2013 c9 103847
Sweet, sweet, sweet! You absolutely amaze me - each new chapter is like a different chocolate truffle, each with its own flavor and sweetness, but all delicious, savory, and wonderful. I loved the whole fairy-tale discussion between Mary and Charles, and how you're once again using a story as a metaphor for the romance between them. The attraction is clearly mutual, yet Mary's torn between wanting to so much as like him and wanting to keep him at arm's length every time she thinks of Matthew. I loved this one particular quote about her:

"And she could not do that…not yet. Matthew had always believed her to be a storm-braver, her parents had always considered her to be the strong one, Edith had always thought her heartless and unmovable, but deep within the recesses of her being, Mary knew the truth:

She was no stronger than a newly-hatched chick. And brick walls were necessary to protect the fragile."

The only other person who could give such valuable and astonishing insight into Mary's character is Julian Fellowes himself. I know there are still some people out there who think Mary is just a selfish, coldhearted witch, but after three seasons, I know that there is so much more to her than just that, just like there's so much more to Violet. In this story, you've not only captured Mary's voice, thoughts, and emotions, but you've helped her to grow and mature as a character. And I hope that Julian Fellowes does as good a job with Charles Blake on the series as you have in this story. I can't wait for the shenangigans of Chapter 10!
5/10/2013 c9 7Lady-Finwe
Seriously cant get enough of this story :) cant wait for the house party and just how protective Charles will be around Mary and unwanted suitors.

Update Soon Please
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