Nice job! This starts out reading like a letter, which is really unique. It was fun to try to figure out who it was. Then it really switched things around when the second person POV came in. That was a nice contrast.
I think what I liked about most about how you approached this couple was the element of regret on Tobias's part (that was Snape's father, wasn' it?) It makes it more tragic. The end was very sad, and the tie in to the title nicely done. Good to see you around again!
Author's Response: Thanks for the lovely review, Gina. It was sort of meant to be like a letter, or a monologue, and I'm glad it was a little intriguing as to who the character was. Also I'm glad the contrast worked.
Tobias is Snape's father, and I think both he and Eileen regret a lot of things in this story. Glad you liked the ending and title as well, I find titles very hard to come up with.
Thanks again, ~ Katrina
I must say, this really deserves more reviews :( Anyway, I thought I'd review you since you left all those lovely reviews for my stories a month or so ago. Plus, I know that when I read a Katrina story, chances are you'll do something really interesting with the style and also have some great characterisation (and I definitely was right). It’s great to read more of your work after so long.
The premise of this story is unique, I think: a monologue by Eileen Prince about her relationship with her husband after she has died and become a ghost is really original. I know that the whole issue of life after death in Potterverse is pretty complicated, so kudos to you for carrying it out so well. It would be easy to go over the top with such an issue, but you addressed it thoroughly (such as Eileen’s regrets about not going on and how she was so tied down to life that she didn’t want to go on), which I thought was great, because, like I said, it’s a bit of a murky topic. And yet the clarity of Eileen’s voice helped in making it far less confusing than it could have been.
Eileen and Tobias's story is something that I've always wondered about, ever since Snape said that her parents argued a lot, but also in the whole of HBP, when it became evident that Snape really hated his father for being a Muggle and that he preferred to go by his mother’s name because she was a witch. I liked that you built on that piece of canon information a lot and made the characters three-dimensional while also sticking to the characterisation (or what little there is, anyway) in the books. What was great was that both Eileen and Tobias had their flaws, flaws which were really important in making both their characters unique -- for example, the fact that Severus’s conception was an accident, and that Tobias became abusive. Tobias’s backstory, about his troubled childhood, gave a perfect explanation as to why he did the things he did.
The way you began the story, with the description of how their relationship began, and the details of the brownies and the roses, made the chemistry between them evident. I especially liked how things were once romantic for them as a couple -- it makes their relationship so much more valid and realistic, because I think that spark of attraction would obviously be necessary for them to eventually marry. Also, the idea that Eileen had to cling to those memories is so very sad, and it made me sympathise immensely with her, particularly because Tobias didn’t love her back, and Eileen loved him far too much for there to be any balance in their relationship. And it was even more horrible for Severus, who neither of his parents really cared about, although Eileen referred to him as a “good person”, so perhaps she did love her son to some extent. Despite Severus never appearing directly in the story, I felt so sorry for him for having to live in such a household, where his parents were constantly arguing and everything. The fact that I felt anything for Severus at all is an achievement, Katrina, so well done there!
The style in this was intriguing -- the use of first and second person for the majority of the story and then second person for the section in the middle was, I’ll admit, a little confusing at first, but it didn’t take me long to work out who was speaking when. And the style was certainly effective. There was some really raw emotion in this story, Katrina, and I think this was achieved at least in part by the choice of POV -- the first person made me empathise with Eileen but also understand why she fell for Tobias, and the second person made the tone of the story incredibly regretful and gloomy, because Eileen was addressing the person who she was so in love with despite him not loving her back. The section in the middle which is entirely second person worked well, too, because I think it made the narrative seem more detached, and I got a pretty cold impression of what Tobias was like. Also, in terms of style, the sparse dialogue and short, sharp sentences was really effective here, because I think this is a mostly character-driven story, and it was dependent more on Eileen’s narrative of the story rather than dialogue moving it along.
As you can tell, Katrina, I enjoyed this story a lot. I don’t often read about Eileen and Tobias, so this was a great insight into Eileen’s mind. It’s nice to see you back, and I hope to read more from you soon!
Author's Response: Hi Soraya, Thankyou so so much for this lovely review, and I'm sorry I'm a bit slow in replying, I'vej ust been away, and it was great to come back to this. I'm glad you thought the story was a unique idea... I can't really remember how I came up with it, it was about a year and a half ago, and I started the story and got stuck, so it had been sitting on my computer, half-finished, for a long time. Ghosts in the Potterverse half always interested me, and (as you know), I've addressed this topic in other stories as well. I think a person has to have a really big reason to stay on - at first, perhaps, it sounds good, but like the Resurrection Stone, it's just an imitation of life and ghosts can never fit in. Anyway, I'm glad you thought I handled the topic well. I've also been interested in Snape's parents and upbringing since HBP - while I don't really sympathise with Snape often, it's interesting to know why he's like that - if his parents had loved him and each other, would he have hated Muggles etc. - I think him hating his father is very tied into him hating Muggles. But I also like the idea that his mother didn't love him enough, because I think the reason he fell so hard for Lily was that she was the first person who cared. I think Eileen did love her son deep down, but she pushed it down because she was so desperate for Tobias' approval, and she regrets that later. I thought they must have had a romantic beginning, because a Muggle and a witch would hardly have married for convenience, or because their parents/societies told them to etc... although for Tobias it wasn't really love, just being loved. Which ties in with his childhood, and why he became abusive, but also why he married her (am I making sense? I hope so). I'm glad you didn't find the style too confusing, I know it can be a bit like that, but I liked the combination of first and second, because you sympathise with Eileen and the second person because she's addressing him and it's almost accusatory (not sure that's the right word). I'm glad you also liked the short sentences and little dialogue, I do like writing like that, and I think it works for short character pieces. Anyway, I'm not sure I deserve such praise from you, thanks for this lovely review :). Yep hopefully you'll see more of me soon. ~Katrina
Oh wow! I absolutely loved it! Poor Severus! And his poor parents... I'm glad you took the opportunity to delve into their minds. It really helps us to understand those characters better. And I just loved the emotion you poured into this! It was beautifully written! I think you should add more of the song to this story, since the lyrics are really powerful... :) but I still loved it!
Author's Response: Thanks for your lovely review. I think Severus is an interesting character, so it's very interesting to think about how his childhood and his parents might have been. I'm glad you thought it was emotive - I think there must be a lot of emotion involved for someone to want to stay behind as a ghost. As for the lyrics - I wasn't going to put any in at all, I don't think songfics have always worked for me, but then I was stuck for an ending and thought I'd put them in... so thanks for your suggestion, but I think I'll keep it the way it is :). Thanks again for taking the time to review! ~Katrina