I really enjoyed this story, I must say that I do have a soft spot for bittersweet endings, as much as I like happy ones.
The bittersweet endings make everything so much more painful. Anyway - great job!
Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm usually a sure thing with happy endings, and they really could have been canon-compliant, at least for a while. But in the end, I just felt the changes wrought inside them by the war were too much. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to review. I appreciate it so much! ~Lori
Lori, this is an exceptional story - one of the best stories of young love that was taken away by the war that I've read in quite some time.
I loved how you started off with quite a sweet teenage love story - even though it wasn't new, it was written really nicely. Lines like this one are really sweet : The corners of her mouth turned up, and something surprised him: when Hannah smiled, she was a lot more pretty than plain. It just captures the two of them and their relationship really nicely. Both of their awkwardness at knowing they liked the other but not knowing if they were liked back was really well done too, you just got right into the mindset of 16 year olds.
I liked how you started to introduce the approaching war through the attack on the train at the end of fifth year, and then of course it all comes crashing down when Hannah's Mum is killed. The last paragraph of the first chapter is perfect, you encapsulate Terry's mixture of feelings so well, as in sadness for Hannah and her Mum but also for himself as he feels he's lost Hannah.
I loved your description of how Hannah feels lost when she returns to Hogwarts, which is going on as if nothing had happened. You really show how much of a disjunct this is for her. I also liked how you described her friendship with Ernie, it's very sweet. Ernie didn’t know what to say either, but it didn’t stop him trying. He was her best friend, like a favorite sweater on a cold day. It might be a bit frayed and imperfect, but when the cold finds you, it’s the one you want. That's just such an original image but also one that everyone can relate to.
This section really brought tears to my eyes - That was all she would be able to manage, at least for now. And her hope was that, if she did it ten times in a row and then twenty and then fifty, that one day far off, she might take a full, deep breath again. / And then, maybe, another. That Is one of the most beautiful and true descriptions of grief I've read.
I loved the whole description of what they do in the Battle, and how Hannah saves Terry and then Michael saves them both. Again it's perfectly written, and there are some great lines like But how, when he was nothing but dead weight? It's so interesting to put death even into the language you use in this war.
I liked their conversation in the Hospital Wing afterwards, it gives the story a kind of closure and yet still shows the grief. I loved this paragraph As he spoke, she pictured every movement, seeing it in her mind from the place where she’d fallen. Her breath hitched in her throat as she fought to stay in the present. It was too soon. It was too fresh. In many ways, Hannah was still in the castle, still fighting, still running. The quiet of the hospital room made no sense next to the echoes of battle that rang in her ears. I think that really shows the trauma of this experience, that it is something they will never forget and never forget how they felt in that moment.
This line - War takes things and keeps on taking them, and the things it takes don’t come back to you. Not really, not in whole pieces, not the way you want. - was really the crux of the story for me, it connects beautifully to the title and really shows very simply but poignantly what could never be regained. And yet it's not quite despairing - they know that life will go on - but yet it is still very sad. I think it worked really well that they then went on to talk about their futures, but at the same time we know what could have been between them but will never be.
The ending of this is just perfect - The cost would never be lessened, but there would be profound comfort for the counting of it. I don't know how you're able to put ideas into words so perfectly.
Anyway as you can probably tell I really love this story. There is so much about it that you just capture perfectly.
Author's Response: Katrina! I have been a puddle of mush since you posted it--thanks so much for reading and taking time to leave your thoughts. I'm so glad you felt it worked. Your reviews are always so helpful and encouraging, and because they are always so honest, I was doubly over the moon when this one contained no crit at all! Haha! I would never have even considered this pairing if not for a drabble assignment in the romance class, but then I grew so attached to them so quickly. I'm such a canon girl that I knew they could not have a future together, but it could still be meaningful, and in the context of the war, there must have been loves like this, I think. Thanks again for considering this so thoughtfully. Your reviews are always absolute love, and I was so excited to see your name there! Take care! ~Lori
You have produced two really nice people and done it so well. Good story.
Author's Response: Thank you.
This was a really happy story until you got to the end. That was a big change. Well written.
Author's Response: I'm glad you thought it was well written. Yes, I realize it takes a sad turn, but that's Hannah's story. Hope you will stay tuned for the second half, and see how it goes for them. Thanks so much for reviewing! ~ Lori
Author's Response: Thank you!