I like the story (and I suppose it does show how bitter divorces can be) and I will keep reading, but I think Cressida is a little over the top. (Much like the Dursleys I might add). I think it might help if you showed that Cecilia and Ursula are not always so rotten.
For instance in the velvet dress escapade, if the father did bring it to the Wizengamot he and Cressida would have to prove that the bill was only for the 3 dresses that the girls wore and not for 5. Really the mom is too much of a carpet.
Also aren't those curses Cressida did breaking the law?
Author's Response: Dear Rambkowalczyk, Yes, this is a fairy tale, and some of the characters and situations are over-the-top! The point about Ursula and Cecilia is that they are young, and no one has ever taught them any better. You probably won't have any sympathy for Cressida before chapter 12, because she is being seen through the unforgiving eyes of her stepdaughter. Yes, Julia is a bit of a doormat, but she knows that if she complains to the Wizengamot, someone will have to pay court costs, and it could all end up being more trouble than any individual incident is worth. Similarly, Cressida's Muggle-baiting is against the law, but the legal punishment for such temporary damage would only be a fine, which Julia would probably end up paying. So Cressida is used to getting away with behaving however she likes. It isn't necessarily good that Sally-Anne and her mother just keep on putting up with it, as you will see. Thanks for taking the trouble to write a thoughtful review (don't you always?!). I'm always glad to hear from you. Best wishes, GhV
Ah, very Cinderella-y. If I were Sally-Anne, I'd burst soon from the unfairness of her stepfamily. Good chapter, of course- can't wait for the next!
Author's Response: Sally-Anne can't afford to burst because she is so desperate for her father's love. Thanks for reviewing, GhV
OMG, you do realise Im crying, I mean, have you been spying on my family or something?!?! God i HATE step-mothers and step-sisters and dads. they cheat and steal and lie through their teeth. you have written an extroadinarilly realistic story and its a favourite, keep it up because i just know Sally-Anne is going to get back at her dad's family and realise that her dad has changed and is just as bad as her step-mum. the sooner the better.
keep it up!
Author's Response: Dear Cocomaloco, I am so sorry to hear that Sally-Anne is a girl like you. I haven't been spying on your family, but I have been spying on human nature. However, I hoped that my story had a fairy-tale awfulness that would never quite be rivalled in real life. I don't necessarily hate stepmothers, but I definitely hate cheating, stealing, lying and adultery. I have a son of your age and I would be so furious if someone like Cressida entered his life. Anyway, I have now posted a new chapter, and it includes a few happier events. Thanks for all your support for my writing, GhV
This was yet another brilliantly written chapter. It's so typical of step families to pass the buck when it comes to paying for anything. I'm extremely angry right now and i know what you'll say, it's only a fiction, but these sorts of things happen. Also, I've got a very boring life so I tend to live through what i read. And that last line about the free tickets had me fuming. Couldn't they have Cressida arrested for performing magic infront of a muggle, and for performing hexes on a muggle? Wouldn't it be nice if they could perform the fidalius charm on the house and not have to speak to any of those vile people? Anyway, I love this story and can't wait for another update.
Author's Response: Dear Binka, While I'm not in a stepfamily myself, several of my friends are, and I know only too well that my fictitious characters are only slightly worse than real people! Wizards' spouses are an exception to the Statute of Secrecy, so it's all right to perform magic in front of Raymond. It is not all right to hex him, but as these hexes did no permanent damage, the penalty would just be a fine (guess who would end up paying it), and Cressida would take revenge by hurting the girls. So Julia has better sense than to report it. One of the points I am making here is that Sally-Anne might still have her Mum, but Julia is also a "Cinderella" figure - she can't do much to protect her children. Anyway, I am extremely pleased to have made you angry. There is some light relief in the next chapter! Thanks for your support, GhV
This was such a change from last chapter, but still an excellent read. You've really portrayed the drastic change in homelife perfectly and included all the feelings that go along with it. I feel quite choked up after reading this. I feel so sorry for Sally Ann's mother, and maybe her father is a nice enough man, but it's disgusting what he's done to his family. I look forward to the next installment.
Author's Response: Dear Binka, Thank you for understanding Sally-Anne's father. He isn't evil, but I did mean to show him as selfish. (In the original Cinderella legend, you always wonder why her father let it all happen. What was wrong with him?) Cressida parrots the politically correct lines about blended families (and families in general) but I hope you were wondering how a child as young as Ursula learned all those other lines. I'm aware that this kind of family story might bring up some emotive issues for some readers. Next instalment introduces the other stepfamily. Best wishes, GhV
You have an interesting backstory for Sally-Anne. Reminds me a bit of Cinderella, naturally, with a few changes here and there. Overall, a very good chapter, and I'm anxious to read the rest!
Author's Response: Dear PnP, See how many more "Cinderella" motifs you can spot! I had fun with the AU proposition that the heroine's mother was still alive; you'll see that Mum is also a kind of Cinderella figure. Thanks for reviewing, GhV
oh god, it was brilliantly horrible. I know how she feels aswell, keep it up its great!
ps loved the yellow hair accessories
Author's Response: Dear Cocomaloco, I think I had better caution you that the nasty family dynamics will only become worse. If this is a touchy issue for you, you will need the courage of Godric Gryffindor to keep reading. Take a yellow cyber-ribbon from me! Love, GhV
An excellent first chapter, I loved how the other girls protected Sally Anne despite their only knowing each other a few days. It'll also be interesting to see what Hufflepuff house get up to because they're very underrepresented in canon. Can't wait for more.
Author's Response: Dear Binka Fudge, Hufflepuff house will get up to loyalty, kindness, honesty and jolly hard work. (This includes Sally-Anne's mother as well as her new friends.) Representatives from the other houses will do rather different things! I hope the character portrayals will make up for the predictable plot. Thanks for reviewing, GhV
Oh, you're my hero! A story about the Hufflepuff girls- I've always wanted to try that, but I never had a good plot. So I'll stick around with your story... it definetely sounds worth the read!
Author's Response: Dear PnP, I knew it was a risk to write about such minor characters, so I'm glad to have hit a market. I didn't have a good plot either, so I STOLE one. Why don't you try doing the same? Best wishes, GhV
Hi Grace! It’s lovely to see it up somewhere I can review it. I’m still convinced that your writing style is one of the best available on the internet and today I would say it’s because how well you manage to make action proceed through Sally-Ann’s observation point.
You have nicely explained me why exactly it is cool to be in Hufflepuff after all: I really appreciated how these girls where both ready and determined to team up and trust each other – the scene in which everybody was tiding everybody else’s hair on the first day of school was really endearing.
I (like – I guess – you and Sally) really like Megan (really Hufflepuff and definitely not Hufflepuffish!), although her auxiliary-verbs-for-sale speech pattern is always making me jump in my chair: she seems to be so much emotionally involved in whatever she is saying! after all, besides being wenglish enough for your Cambrian girl, it would be in-character enough, wouldn’t it?
I am unable to guess where Sophie is from: maybe she just speaks in a way that would be frowned upon by teachers, maybe it’s something more specific. However, although I don’t totally agree with your attitude about everybody’s language being so fully determined by where he has grown up and his social class, it’s beyond doubt that you use this input well enough to populate your stories with real persons rather than with generic pegs on which any cloak can be hung! I mean, Sarah Webster is Sarah Webster, not any vague out-going friend stock-character.
Cecilia (didn’t her surname use to be “Rivers”?) seems smarter than last time I met her: at least, really good at stomping over Sally’s soft spots. Children can be excellent at cruelty just for fun.
The last scene was both quick-paced and very revealing about this new set of characters. Even if I still miss Ariadne, I do cheer for Megan again! Smashing job – I really hope to see the next chapters soon, so please have fun writing them;)
Thank you again for the beautiful tales - Prisca
Author's Response: Dear Prisca, This must be a first - a review that is almost as long as the chapter! I am amazed how much you have found to say about such a short piece. You have probably worked out from the summary that Sally-Anne is Cenerentola, so while there will be no surprises in the plot, you will recognise the traditional motifs faster than most readers. Hufflepuff is all about loyalty and solidarity. The other girls can all be a little too sensible, so I'm glad that Megan livened up the action for you. She is a Welsh dragon, and the imaginary sapphires that were stolen from her lair were yellow ones! Sophie is from Barnsley, an economically deprived town in Yorkshire. My Yorkshire beta helped me with her accent, which is very thick and distinctive. I didn't bother to write an accent for Hannah, Susan or Sally-Anne, as they come from better-educated English families, so their local accents would be far less marked. As Sally-Anne is a middle-class Midlander, she sounds exactly like me! I am stunned that you recognise Cecilia as the minor character from "Turning the Corner". Yes, I had to change her surname (and her hair-colour). There was both a Runcorn and a Rivers on JKR's classlist, and we now know from DH that Runcorn is probably the daughter of horrible Albert Runcorn from the Ministry, hence in Slytherin. Cecilia is not intelligent in the academic sense, but she has become very cunning about hurting Sally-Anne. There is more about their family background in the next two chapters, and you will easily see how Cecilia became as silly and shallow as she is. I still miss Ariadne and her cast too! It will be a long time before I conceive another story on that scale, as she was a once-in-a-decade idea for a heroine. Sally-Anne is a lightweight in comparison. However, I have finished writing "Hearthlinks", so how quickly you see the remaining chapters depends on how fast I can push them through the system. Very many thanks for all your support, GhV
Author's Response: Thank you!