So... hello there again, my dear giftee :) I've heard a lot of wonderful things about this story - a lot of recommendations floating about the place, gushing compliments, etc. etc. - and thought it was about time that I stopped by. So. Here I am.
This is a beautiful and desperately sad glimpse of Lavender after the war, and I love it. I have to admit first off that I always felt Lavender got a rough ride from the fanbase after book 6 - there's nothing wrong with being 'girly' or liking make-up and boys and giggling or whatever, you know? - and I've always had a soft spot for stories which show her coming into her own, especially after the war. And stories like this, which do both so well and so beautifully, are so, so good (though there aren't near enough of them!).
I love how you characterise Lavender - how she's so broken by the fact that she doesn't look anything like how she used to, and I loved the admission that she used to be pretty but now her scars disfigure her (at least in her eyes, yk). It's such a sad thought and it's something I think more people would find it difficult than would be willing to admit they did - one of those things people don't like to admit, you know, that they want to be pretty or hope or think that they are, and so when they feel that that's been taken from them, it hurts. It also says a lot about Lavender that she thought of herself as pretty rather than clever or brave; that she almost considers herself to be cowardly, when she hates being told she's a hero. It's so incredibly sad that she thinks so little of herself, in a way.
(Honestly, why can't she be happy?! You do realise that now you've got to write a happy ending to this, right? I demand it! :P)
But, no, seriously, it's amazing how you deal with the themes you tackle in this - they're incredibly serious themes, disfigurement and the depression and self-hatred Lavender feels in this - and you do so, so well with them. They're handled so brilliantly and so realistically, and you capture the balance of hating someone and loving someone at the same time so wonderfully and so simply.
Honestly, it's a real skill to be able to convey something which is kinda complicated so easily, and I really envy you for it because I waffle. Badly. All the time. Your writing is so lovely and so clear and your description in this is so beautiful - it portrays the emotions you show you perfectly.
Seriously, this is a beautiful, beautiful one-shot and I completely understand why people praise it so much - because it's all completely deserved. This is amazing <3
Ah, don't mind me, just sweeping up the pieces of my broken heart... *hands then over* Here you go.
In all seriousness, this was so poignant and emotional that I was surprised it was your first attempt at angst! The level of description and thought put into this is so clear through all its subtle elements; I liked how you showed how alone Lavender felt, her shame. I liked that you showed her pain, doubt, and anger--not just at herself but at the rest of the world too; I think this is a very realistic emotion that's complicated and not always the easiest thing to talk about. Her doubt of her relationship with Parvati, however heartbreaking, is also so fitting. Really, you definitely explored all the complex emotions after Lavender's attack and portrayed them so well. I had tears in my eyes.
Two lines stuck out to me, though the entire thing has very beautiful prose. "After that, nothing; it was like her tears had drained every inch of human out of her." Oh god. Talk about an emotional sucker punch! This, to me, was the most heartbreaking line in this fic, and it painted a beautifully sad visual. Wow. The second line was "Words were so easy for her", which to me captures another aspect of Lavender's pain after the war—she doesn't know how to talk about what she's feeling, which is so realistic.
I think the ending was beautiful. I love that Lavender focused on Parvati's scent, something familiar and comforting that was also everlasting; she didn't focus on her beauty because that would fade and change. Gosh. I was practically full on crying by then. This whole fic, to me, is a masterpiece in description and emotion. You were able to accurately portray all of these emotions without being over the top, which to me is stunning. Well done!! ❤️
Hi there! I'm here from the staff review thread!
The disconnect between Parvati and Lavender at the beginning hurts my heart. You've written it so well - how Parvati just wants to help Lavender and how she's completely unaware of how she's a constant reminder of her trauma. It saddens me how Parvati is concerned and how Lavender hates that concern.
You've written Lavender's distress at her scars amazingly. I think this sentence is particularly amazing and revealing about Lavender's character -She knew the truth but it took a while to admit it to herself that she didn't have a good enough personality to be ugly. - It's a very sad demonstration of just how miserable Lavender is. I also think that it's an excellent way to connect who she is after the attack with the sort of vain, shallow person that Harry sees her as during their Hogwarts years.
The paragraphs where Lavender is drawn to the door are perfect as well. To avoid repeating myself, this entire story is perfect.
Their conversation at the end is amazing. The transition from their disconnect at the beginning to Lavender's realization that Parvati would be there for her was perfect. I also think the way you ended was perfect; optimistic, but not so optimistic in a way that would have been out of touch with the angst in the story.
So, in case you couldn't tell :p, I loved everything about this story. As I see this is the third in a trilogy I'll be back at some point to read the other two!
Hey, Abbi! I'm here for our swap :)
Abbi...oh my god. This is...holy crap, this is absolutely amazing. I'm a complete sucker for a really well done Lavender/Parvati story and this is one of those by a mile. I honestly don't believe that you don't write angst very much because this is some of the best I've ever read.
Lavender is so well done here. When I first read the books, I would never have imagined that I'd be as protective of Lavender's characterizations as I am now, but I absolutely adore the version you have created here. I know that in my own writing I kind of gloss over the effect that the attack had on her and I love that you just went straight for it. Her pain is so real here, I could feel everything that she was feeling. It was so raw and powerful, I found myself tearing up reading it.
The relationship between the two girls is so incredible. It is so obvious how much both of them care about each other and how much they've been through. I love that Parvati has never given up on Lavender and that she still believes in everything they had wanted when they were younger. As much as it broke my heart, the way Lavender reacted was incredibly realistic and made so much sense with her mental state during this.
Abbi, this is absolutely incredible, I don't think I can express that enough. I cannot wait for the other two stories!
*I have no idea why it took me so long to transfer this review! My apologies!
I'm so glad you chose to write about Lavendar, and her story after the battle of Hogwarts.
"She knew the truth but it took a while to admit it to herself that she didn’t have a good enough personality to be ugly..." This was one of my favorite lines just because it's such a humane reaction to her tragedy. She felt so dependent on her beauty, and once that was taken away, she didn't feel like she had enough left to offer. I think it also aligns pretty well with the Lavendar we knew from the HP books.
I'm also glad to see that Parvati stood so strong. It must have been incredibly hard to see that Lavendar had survived (thanks to her from what I gathered) but that she wishes she hadn't.
The last lines were absolutely beautiful. The imagery of Jasmines blooming in darkness and admitting she wanted her... It made the reader be able to sympathize with the hope Lavendar was beginning to feel.
This was so beautiful! Great job :)
Hey, Abbi! :)
First of all, thank you for suggesting me to read this. It's not something I would have probably read otherwise and it was so beautiful! I really, really loved your writing in this!
Poor Lavender, it must be so hard... I would say that physical appearence isn't important, but I guess it's different when an attack leaves you completely disfigured... and for someone who was always so invested in her appearence it must be even worse...
Poor Parvati, too... She only wanted to be there for her, Lavender shouldn't have pushed her away, but at the same time I can't blame her... still, it's so sad... :(
It was so painful to read Lavender's thoughts about herself through the whole piece, it's horrible how she thinks of herself as a bad person and how she feels that death would have been preferable... but I'm so glad in the end she let Parvati in and decided to give them both a second chance!
Your writing was just stunning in this! So heartfelt and strong and addictive! You really are talented, such a wonderful job! I'm so impressed!
Thank you again for sending me to this wonderful story!
Lots of love and snowball hug,
Hey there Abbi! I've been so excited to read this after hearing you talk about it on twitter!
Poor Lavender, I can see where she's coming from, it must have been a lot easier to die than to live life the way she has to, I do feel for her! She isn't the same person she was before the war and unfortunately that means her relationships aren't the same either.
It's so self deprecating, but I definitely think that Lavender would have felt that way. And I know Parvati probably means well but I imagine things got a bit overbearing, and maybe crowded for Lavender.
I do think Parvita is doing the right thing though, Lavender totally needs her and I'm glad she realised that by the end, even if it was just a glimmer. That's better than nothing! I can also take hope from this haha.
I assume this will come in the earlier series but I am so excited to see what kind of life they talked about! They totally can still have it though, can I just shake Lavender. and make her see that they would be amazing together? No, oh okay, as long you do it :P
Aww, this was actually adorable and I love this so much! I'm so excited to read the rest of this, you've written them so well, and it's so amazing! A great first chapter! :)
Brax recommended this story so here I am. It says this is the third story in a series and what I want to know is where are the other two so I can read them ASAP because I love this ship and this story and I want more.
But anyway back to this story. Omg this line: Lavender was ready to die a hero, but she was not ready for a life as a martyr. -- This is perfect. It says so much about her just in that one line, and really sets the tone for the rest of the piece. Lavender is in such a rough place here, and you write her depression very well.
I'm especially glad you chose to write about Lavender because she's such an interesting character. All we see of her in the books through Harry's eyes is a somewhat vain, shallow girl, and here I love that you don't actually try to make her seem like a less shallow person, instead you build upon that, and it adds to the growing she has to do to overcome her current situation and makes her story so much more dynamic. To Lavender, as a shallow person who was concerned with her appearance and put a lot of importance on outer beauty, it comes as a huge blow to her that her appearance is changed in a way that's out of her control - she has to change a lot to realize that it's okay to have scars. Her misplaced blame and her self loathing here are really heartbreaking to read, but also so very believable for someone in her shoes.
The line about how emotional scars are easier to hide is a really telling one as well, as it hints about how scared she is to be vulnerable (at least how I interpret it) - she doesn't like having her faults all written across her face for everyone to see, and in that sense, she believes that emotional hurt is easier to cover with a fake smile and and act. And here in this story I feel like she's at a crossroads having to learn to think a different way, because who she was as a carefree young teenager isn't really compatible with her current life, and in that struggle she has walls up emotionally but she can't hide her physical scars. Which makes it all the more symbolic when Lavender opens the door and finally lets some of her walls down. The ending is so hopeful, with 'jasmine blooming in the darkest of times' and it's such a perfect end to this piece, hinting that this is at rock bottom for Lavender and everything else will get better from here, because Parvati's unconditional love has finally gotten through to her and Lavender is beginning to internalise that she is still loved, and it gives hope to the idea that maybe Lavender will eventually understand that the scars on her face don't define her. A perfect touch of hope to lighten the angst.
You did such a wonderful job handling all of Lavender's various emotions in this story, the buildup of this emotional and physical wall she has aroud herself, and and the moment with her and Parvati at the end was so beautifully cathartic as she finally begins the process of emotional healing. Parvati is so good for Lavender, and I'm glad she persisted until she was able to get through to Lavender. It gives me hope that someday they will indeed go to Paris and live out their dreams. :)
I'm sorry I got a bit long-winded here :P but I can absolutely see why Brax said this story was so good! Reallly well done and now I know I need to check out some more of your work. This was beautiful writing.
Abbi my love! It's about time I dropped by to review this story; I've been meaning to visit for a little while now, and having had the pleasure of reading this piece in its infancy, I'm keen to read the finished article :)
I absolutely adore the succinct clarity of this story and how evocative your writing is. It's such a gorgeous piece, and I think it is my favourite out of all of your stories that I've read. It maintains such a wonderful fluency throughout. Lavender's character is so subtly portrayed, and her development through the story is so thoughtfully done; from broken, to the early stages of acceptance and healing. Her viewpoint is so cleverly handled and you've really sensitively captured the essence of her depression here.
The dramatic beginning to this story really pulls me in and makes me want to read on. Lavender ignoring the knocking at the door, determined to shut everyone and everything out of her life. It must have been so incredibly hard for her, a teenager faced with the destruction of her outer beauty, and she seems incapable of seeing any other worthy features in herself. Her healer may have had good intentions, but grrrr!! His thoughtless words must have really destroyed Lavender inside (ooh, some members of the medical profession really need to learn to exercise tact and diplomacy). "Emotional scars could be buried" - gosh, this line haunts me, because we know they can't always be pushed away, and I suspect Lavender knows that too, but her world as she always knew it has crumbled, and she thinks anything else would have been preferable to this, I guess. :( How the world has become a happier place, but she hasn't, is another line that grabs at me hard.
When Parvati finally does make a bit of progress with Lavender, the words "if she fought then she would be on the losing side" is such a unique but true way to describe how people feel when they are locked by the power of their own emotions - Lavender must really feel as though she's giving in if she allows Parvati to help her. Parvati, never one to give in easily, persists, and it's a relief when Lavender actually physically shows some emotion. I so so understand Lavender's sentiment about her not being "a pretty crier"!!
The finish to this chapter is just lovely - "Jasmine always bloomed in the darkest of times" - it's such a delicate, hopeful note to end this chapter on.
This was utterly superb, and I am REALLY looking forward to reading more "Tealeaves and Jasmine" stories. Thank you so much for a fantastic read! <3
This is the third but I can't find the others, unless I'm going crazy? (Likely)
Aw so sad that Lavender would rather die at the Battle. I guess I can understand her reasoning - it'd be a hell of a lot easier than trying to put yourself back together. I feel Lavender is brave in a heat of the moment kind of way, but not for what comes after.
Omg I love this so much already, even if it's cracking my heart. You write Lavender so well and I have so much empathy for her - her jealousy over Parvati's unscarred face, and how the Paris mural doesn't inspire, but reminds her of what was lost.
A hopeful ending! Which is good because I swear I was close to tears! This is my first dip into your Parvati/Lavender series and I am so in love already. I. Want. More. Make that happen! You've written them so wonderful, even through the horrors they've seen. Really beautiful work, Abbi <3