Actually, make that two more for now. ;) Last one for today, though.
Wow, what a kick in the feels! You managed to pack a massive amount of emotion into one chapter, and you did it without sacrificing anything about the way you write your main character. You never give in and have her scream and yell and spill out all of her roiling emotions. Yet she manages to express so much without saying anything at all. It takes a crazy amount of talent to do what you're doing here.
I absolutely love the way you wrote Fred's "confession" to Josephine. The two of them balance each other out so brilliantly. She speaks a word or two at a time and he's infected with permanent verbal diarrhea. I should state for the record that he's extremely lucky that Angelina didn't fling him off of a tall building for that little stunt with the teddy bear. But it's such a Fred thing to do. The twins are pretty tone deaf when it comes to the possibility -- nee likelihood -- that other people won't find their pranks all that amusing. I love the fact that Angelina is able to frustrate Fred so. For starters, I think he <i>needs</i> some of that in his life. Someone he finds as infuriating as other people might find him. It's very humanizing.
Before I get into the heavy material in the second scene, I have to say how much I <i>LOVED</i> the mis-transcriptions you created for the Quick Quotes Quill. Those were hilarious! Especially the long array of poo-related ones.
Both George and Josephine go through a lot of stages of grief in this. Starting from George's accidental near-mention of Fred's role as Chief Supply Orderer, the conversation spirals into a lot of dark, difficult territory. I love the fact that you weren't afraid to explore some of George's less logical reactions. The fact that he's still angry at anything and anyone that might have done something different to prevent Fred's death. And Josephine's reactions to his emotions are spot on, even if she can't find the words for them. To wit:
<i>It's okay to miss him. You're allowed to miss him. You're allowed to be sad, to be angry, to break snow globes; to be anything you need to be because you miss him. I miss him, too. You are not alone. I love you.
No, not that one.</i>
Oh, you know I wasn't leaving out those last four words. ;)
George's thoughts on his mother rang perfectly true to me. She's hurting every bit as much as he is. So much so that she can't see how her grief is spilling over onto him. It isn't anyone's fault, per se, but it's clear why George would want some space.
<i>The moment the door clicks shut behind him my head falls heavy into my hands, and I, as quietly as can be managed, fall apart.</i> -- A perfect ending line to this heavy, emotional chapter.
Beautiful job and congratulations on reaching the 200 review mark. It's very well deserved for this amazing story!
One more for now, but it's good to move reviews to a happier place!
Fred is a special kind of annoying. And Josephine is a special kind of stubborn. I don't want either one of those statements to come off as cheap and flip. Fred is literally impossible to ignore if he's decided that he wants your attention. And Josephine has that special type of stubbornness born out of a paralyzing fear of doing or saying something if it might be the wrong thing. We're in "irresistible force vs. immovable object" territory here. It's nice to see that irresistible force won.
The snow globe was such a cool idea! Honestly, it was cool enough for me <i>before</i> it started talking. That was like extra decoration on a cake that was already iced.
<i>Utter, utter git.</i> -- But it works, because the git gets the girl. Ha! I slay me.
And then we move on to the sad half of the chapter. :-|
You did a really great job of writing it with an awkward, claustrophobic feel, like the world was collapsing around Josephine and George and -- at least from her point of view -- everyone else in the shop. It seemed painful for both of them. When George throws in the towel at closing time, it's pretty obvious that he's done enough "recovering" for one day.
Fred's voice in her mind, urging her on to try to help George recover, was a good plot device. It really doesn't matter whether it's real or just in her head. (Obligatory: why should that make it any less real?) The imperative is there to try to ease George's pain.
I really love the way you paced the scene in the back room of the store. I have to imagine that you're always tempted to have Josephine move a little faster, to have her step a bit out of character and rush to George's side. But you resist the urge and keep her true to form and I really appreciate that.
Your writing was beautiful in this. I couldn't see a thing wrong with it. In fact, from now on, if I don't say otherwise, just assume your writing was brilliant. ;)
Great job! I shall return soon, but probably not soon enough to keep someone else from scooping review #200. :-/
Super-long review, finally making its way to its new home!
Hi, Tanya! I'm back again, taking in some more Josephine.
One thing that makes this story tough to review -- and please don't take this as a bad thing; it's anything but -- is the fact that there are <i>so many things</i> I want to comment on. You do such an awesome job with Josephine's inner voice, her observations, her expressions and her unspoken responses to things... it's overwhelming at times as a reviewer. I want to point it all out, say how much I enjoyed it. But if I did, the review would be nearly as long as the chapter itself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it frustrates me in the best possible way.
Anyway, let's move on to the substance. I think you've created the best and worst job interview ever. There's just no in-between here. The experience careens back and forth between amazing and awful, spending plenty of time at both extremes. It all starts with the help wanted flyer, which was classic Fred and George.
Josephine's motivations for interviewing are sad and kind of sweet at the same time. You can't help but feel bad for the girl, even if you're also a bit frustrated with her. She's the perfect wallflower, living a life of unrequited devotion to a person who doesn't seem to realize she exists. I don't know whether to hug her or shake her, possibly both.
Fred gets the interview off to a roaring start, sneaking the whoopee cushion in on her. Their reactions are perfect, as well. She's mortified, desperate for him to know that it wasn't her, which sends him over the edge into a debilitating fit of laughter. She's so far outside of her comfort zone she can barely stand it and he's so deep in his own comfort zone that he doesn't feel an ounce of restraint.
<i>"Five Galleons each: a steal!"</i> -- A showman and a salesman! Fred is perfect.
I loved the interview questions. I really need to remember some of those for the next time I have to interview somebody at work. Especially the fruit one.
<i>I feel a pang of envy at his level of comfort and can't help but wish that his continuously carefree attitude would have rubbed off on me after all this time of observation.</i> -- This one line kind of summed up the entire interview experience for me. As a reader, I just keep hoping that somehow the twin's carefree attitude is going to start to infect her, but I'm fairly sure that isn't going to happen.
Wow. Josephine's one shining moment of the chapter came when she laid out her pitch to manage the shop's finances. She sounds so put together and polished in this one section. She probably rehearsed the words a thousand times in her mind, but for that one golden moment she was more than just wallflower Josephine. I wanted to cheer for her.
But it all ends so quickly. Fred is a pretty sharp judge of character, or at least his survival instincts have taught him how to sniff out a situation where things don't quite add up. There's one missing piece to Josephine's story, one gap. And then he walks through the door...
Josephine's response was about as far from elegant as you can get, but it was perfectly in character. Again, Fred is on to her. He puts the pieces together and hurries George out of the room. And then he's got her!
<i>This time I do run. Without another word, I make a break for the door.</i> -- Aww, poor Josephine! I feel terrible for her, but not terrible enough to want to see her get away. At least not yet.
<i>"Wow, that's... You must really, really like him. It's actually kind of sweet. But mostly stalkerish."</i> -- Well, Fred said it, I didn't. Not that I completely disagree.
Fred's proposition is, literally, too good for her to turn down. I'm amazed and somewhat in awe of the lengths he's willing to go to in order to be constantly entertained by her discomfort. Not that there's <i>nothing else</i> in it for him, obviously. Her business plan sounds quite brilliant and he might have found a girlfriend -- thinking long term here. Stalker, in the short run -- for his twin. What's not to like if you're Fred? But he puts so much effort into convincing her to take the job.
Ouch. Now back to reality. Back to the present day when Fred is laid to rest in a box. That phrase hits me every time, the sobering finality of it. I love your thought that Fred and George never gave up on their business, even when they were forced into hiding. They're so irrepressible, and they knew how much people needed laughter to keep going. I also think it was a testament to the spirit of the magical community in the aftermath of the war that they were so far from correct about how the grand reopening of the store was received.
I really, really enjoy reading this story, no matter now much Josephine frustrates me. And I suspect she'll frustrate me a lot more before it's all said and done. It seems that there are turbulent times ahead. Great job!
Hi, Tanya! Another review makes the leap...
The first section sounds so much like Fred. He's always one to want to spread the joy, but do it in his own, distinctive way. I love the way that he uses his sense of humor to keep Josephine off her guard. She probably should have seen it coming, but it's hard when he's being so disarming. He lures her in with all of his faux flirting and endless kidding around. Then, he switches gears and gets serious on her for a moment. He lets some genuine concern show through, which pushes her even farther out of her carefully constructed comfort zone of denial. Then he goes for the kill...
We got to see a little more of Josephine in this chapter, and I found myself feeling optimistic for her and horribly sorry for her at different points in the chapter. What on earth happened to his poor girl? She's alluded a couple of times to having nobody aside from Fred. I'm guessing that means she's an orphan, or at least estranged from her family. With the war raging, it isn't hard to imagine how either situation would come to pass. Whatever happened, she seems to lack any sort of self-confidence. Fred is able to pry her out of her shell, but only by relentlessly being himself.
It's a shame, because she's obviously a clever person. I love her inner monologue. You did a fantastic job with that. I think she speaks a grand total of three words to Fred, but the section still felt really engaging because her thoughts were so amusing.
<i>Fred Weasley is lying in a box.</i> -- I can see why you kept coming back to this. It's such a powerful statement, with its devastating simplicity.
The pictures were just heart-breaking. Great choices.
<i>Quicker than before I approach the casket, alone with Fred again. With one hand on the tomb I fix my eyes on the portrait of Fred.
“I will keep my promise.”</i> -- I really wish that she will. Although based on the story summary and all that I've read so far, I have the feeling that something is going to go terribly wrong in the trying.
Great chapter! I'll be back soon...
Hi, Tanya! I'm moving some reviews from the old place to their forever home!
Tanya! How have I never seen this before? You have a story set in my favorite era (post-war) to read. You certainly have a compelling plot idea and a lead character who seems to be living the horror of Fred's death from the periphery. Again, <i>HOW</i> have I never seen this?
You set a very stark tone from the outset. Six months after the end of the war -- six months after Fred's death -- she's completely alone. It seems pretty obvious that she's done something terrible. Or at least she thinks it was terrible. But what?
The section that flashes back to the funeral was also beautifully done. This is my favorite type of first chapter to read. You don't bother introducing anyone or anything. All of that name, rank and serial number crap can come later. Instead, you pulled me right into the gut-wrenching emotions of the story. It didn't matter so much whose funeral she was attending or who she was, because I could relate to exactly what she was feeling. I've read a dozen or more different authors' versions of Fred's funeral over the years. I didn't need you to tell me who was there or how anyone was dressed or how devastated George looked or what anyone had to say. All of those emotions are inside. You just set the scene from the perspective of someone who feels like an unworthy outsider and that was the context I needed right there. Brilliant!
I'm really looking forward to reading more! Great job!
I absolutely ADORE this story! Please, please, please tell me you're going to finish it! (I've been following since you first posted it on harrypotterfanfiction.com)
This is so incredible to hear that you followed me over from HPFF! I'm absolutely blown away by that information! Thank you so much! And I promise I plan to finish the story! I've actually made a decent amount of progress on the next chapter these past few weeks, so fingers crossed chapter eight is up soon! Thank you again for your continued support, and for leaving this lovely review!
the start of this chapter seems to actually be the end of the story (though lets hope it isn't for real because i like my happy endings) and it just pulls you right in. i think it was a great way to start the story because first, you want to know about the events that led up to it and then you hope that the story will continue even after this opening scene.
the main character is obviously extremely shaken up and sad at the fact that fred, her best friend, has died that she can't even bring herself to celebrate the demise of lord voldemort. i think that this is perfectly understandable and she is most likely not alone in feeling like that because a lot of people lost their loved ones during the war. it's all well and good when the hero defeats the villain, but there are always the ones that had to suffer through the villain's reign and deal with the aftermath of it. you've definitely made me feel for josephine even if she does tell us at the start that she lied for a couple of months to everybody.
Hello Kris, and thank you for this thoughtful and lovely review! I'm so glad you were intrigued from the start (but no spoilers on whether this story will have a happy ending or not :-p)! I'm really glad the intro worked for you; that's always a relief!
I completely agree with that assessment. The end of the war is obviously an incredible moment, but it's also when a lot of reality hits. I doubt too many people were strictly happy and celebratory about the war ending, as so many good lives were lost. I'm glad you were able to feel for Jo from this first short little chapter, too. First impressions are obviously important with a fic, so yay!
Thank you again for this sweet review!
Hi Tanya! I love the twins! I can't believe I've never actually read this before. Anyway, I think this is a wonderful start to a story! I'm really curious to learn more about Josephine. What happened to her family? Why is she alone? Why is she so afraid to talk to anyone? She barely seems to talk to her own best friend which is quite interesting. What did make Fred so interested in befriending her in the first place? Hopefully some of my questions get answered in the following questions.
I do feel very sorry for Jo. This is such a tragic way to start a story, with her losing her one and only friend. Of course she feels completely and utterly alone now. But I also hope she doesn't continue to shut everybody out. Poor George, I wonder what he thought seeing her there? And what he thinks of the girl who works for him but doesn't speak? I wish Molly hadn't interrupted him from talking to her, and that she hadn't run and hid from them both.
I really liked the bits where Jo chastised herself for being selfish. Of course, she misses Fred dearly, and he holds a special place in her heart, but she's also trying to remind herself that other people loved him to and also need to mourn.
I'm really curious to see how this story builds and how Jo intends to keep her promise to Fred. I'm really glad she decided to do that for him, but I know she's also doing it for herself now that she's lost the only person she had who cared about her.
Great first two chapters, Tanya! I look forward to reading the rest very soon.
Transferred from the old hpff,
16th April 2017:
Jailbreak for Sian
I forgot to tell you, Tanya, the previous CI and this CI are so fantastic, which suit your fabulous story so well! And this chapter is so heartrending. They were going to close the shop!
The dark time was coming to twins’ joke shop. You cut the very right dramatic scene, Tanya. I spotted this:
“he begins again, voice softer and gentler than it's been all day. I brace myself for impact.
I was very impressed by the sentence. ^
..ur big.. ol' family of blood-traitorous gingers... ...putting you all in danger, having you work here so openly... ...have to board the place up, make it look like we've shut down for good... ...want to continue undercover... ...anyone willing to help out” So severe facts!
Oh, Tanya, I am so lucky to be back to this story, ‘cause I am struggling with one story challenge where I have to write the mind movement between one female character and one male character.
I spotted this: “A dance around each other. He steps right, so I step left. I step forward, so he steps back. We move away together, skirting around each other in perfect unison; a poorly choreographed duet of solos. And in retrospect, it shouldn't feel so strange, so foreign.” I love these expressions very much. How could you think of this?
Wow, I was so amazed by the next movement : "Fred always sent them?" These expressed everything around George and Josephine. They lost Fred and they were forced to notice how big his existence had been and once again lamented for him” I understand George couldn’t stop repeating to get fury and be sad. And then I’m relieved George said ‘sorry’ to her.
I like your story line, Josephine took a role to comfort George who missed his brother Fred. You really did a great job to analyze George’s mind from Josephine's POV.
Transferred from the old hpff,
21st September 2016:
Hi, I came back to your story, grabbing a chance at Gryffindor Tower, CTF game.
Since I hadn't been aware of romance of twins until I read your story, I enjoy your ship with Josephine. Your Fred is lively and unforgettable through your author's mirror. Each move, each word spoken by him are all energetic.
You captured his characteristics. He never gave up until Josephine glances back to him. Both of them are very impatient. Most of the boys give up when the girl does not pay attention or most of the girls stop ignoring when the boy pestered her.
Oh, it's "break the ice" moment. Josephine would help Fred with choosing the gift.
Ah, the object, your choice is nice, Josephine (Tanya)! I remembered my child was happy to see a small replica of New York City, sadly, it was confiscated by the officer due to the strict management of terrorism at the airport.
Agh! It's a quiz time. No, I'm not good at, but Josephine is very good at response.
Well, she loves George, but as I read, it seems Josephine is getting fond more of Fred.
Oh, the story on June 10, 1998, is so heartbreaking. I understand why your story was chosen for Dobbys. Everyone can't stop grieving Fred's death and feeling sorry for George after reading this. Imagining so broken George and Fred's voice let us feel strongly sad. Oh, Josephine determined to say goodbye to him?
HERE IS THE ORIGIN STORY FOR JOSEPHINE’S PARTICIPATION IN THE WAR.
[I gotta be honest, I so desperately want to call Josephine “Jo,” but I also call JKR “Jo,” so sometimes I get a little confused. But I have decided that because Josephine is, at present, of higher priority to me, I shall start calling her “Jo” and JKR “JKR.”]
I love that Fred just Apparated on top of Jo’s face. Of course that these two would meet up again this way, after so many months of not seeing each other. And I love how you managed to tie this meeting into the later reveal that Jo is actually so talented at healing (and I love that Fred was at first like “Jo you can’t fight please don’t strain yourself” but then later Jo realized she was amazing and valuable and was like “um you can’t stop me”). I wonder if Jo will be able to help heal the Weasley family in some small way, now that Fred’s dead? </3
Also I said last review that I am very bad with dates, but I did actually recognize the date on top! (What kind of HP fan would I be if I didn’t haha.) Granted, I didn’t notice until after Fred said that it was war at Hogwarts, and then I scrolled up and checked, and lo and behold, it was May 2nd.
I love that Jo wanted to help in the war. I love that at first, she thought poorly of her skills, but then realized she was entirely capable and level-headed enough to do healing spells. (Fred almost taking out her nose with his attempt at the healing smell lmao. Also Fred being all sheepish when she actually remembered to wash off the blood first hahahaha. YOUR FRED IS AMAZING.)
These two. When they hugged, I just. This friendship is so amazing and beautiful. </3
Okay now I have many thoughts about this plan of Josephine and George’s, about pretending that Jo was Fred’s girlfriend. Of course I wholeheartedly support their cause, because Molly Weasley deserves all the love and reassurances in the world, but I do have many concerns. (I haven’t yet read the second part, so I’m just gonna list them all out here first.) My main concern is – what if Angelina comes back? I feel like it would be a terrible blow for her, returning to the family of her dead boyfriend only to find that she’s been replaced. Wait, that was my only question haha, nevermind everything else.
Your description of the Barrel made my heart sing. I’m not even lying. I was reading that part over and over and over again because I couldn’t get enough of it, of all the little bits of magic going on inside, of the eggs cracking themselves and all that. I love little, beautiful descriptions like this, and you write so beautifully that it just fit right in, and I LOVE THIS PART.
I am so excited for Jo to start being able to talk to George like she did with Fred.
Aww, Molly. Oh, my heart. That image of Molly hugging Jo made me so, so happy omg. (I am a huge fan of hugs. I, in fact, pester my younger sister for hugs all the time, just because she’s so tiny and huggable. So seeing such a full description of a hug, especially to someone who hasn’t had many, just delighted me so much. I’m getting so emotional talking about Molly’s hug, I need to calm down.)
Okay, so. After reading about Molly’s hug I just went and read through the chapter straight, and. Oh my god. My eyes genuinely started prickling with tears at the dinner table scene. And I never cry while reading. I’ve never cried while reading fics, and I rarely, rarely, rarely cry while reading published books, and so I didn’t expect to get teary-eyed while reading this. But I did. And that just solidifies my love for this fic even more, because you captured the family moments so, so well. I love stories about family more than anything. And literally all of their characterizations were so accurate, it was painful. (Arthur’s joke about balding lmfao.) Josephine feeling at home for the first time in a long while, her telling her stories about Fred, the family telling their own…
It was all so beautifully written. I adored this so, so much. And I’m so worried for Jo, because she clearly craves this more than anything, and I think she deserves it all, but the fact that George is slightly hesitant on this makes me nervous. (And what was that question at the end that he asked, about whether Jo wanting to see them again was true? Was he genuinely happy that Jo wanted to be closer to them, or was he happy that her connection with Fred was that strong? EITHER WAY, EXCITEMENT.) But anyway, I wonder how Jo’ll navigate this. I want her to see Molly again. I want her to feel like she has a family again.
And will she really be planting a mango tree in her yard? Ahhh, I think my heart might break further if she does. That’s honestly the absolute sweetest thing. <3
Please update this soon!! I’m dying to read more of this. <3333
I wanted to commend you on your ability to keep dates straight. I’m just staring at these dates and trying to do the math (don’t worry, I can figure out what happened when through context clues, but I am just terrible with dates).
Anyway I love that you wove the war into the pieces of this story. I remember being horrified in the books when it was revealed that George’s ear was cursed off, and I think you painted that picture well here! Jo being shocked and concerned was really sweet, and Fred warning her to wipe her face clean of any emotion was also cute haha. Unfortunate that George lost an ear, though. I was always so relieved that he was alright…up until the point Fred died and then my heart broke forever haha.
Ahhh I love that Fred’s comforting her!! I love!!! their friendship!!!!!!! so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (That was a lot of exclamation marks but just know that for every exclamation point is an extra dose of love for you and your story.) Everything about their relationship is so platonic and so good and I love it. Love love love. Even though it’s under such violent, trying, and difficult times as this. And I did feel sorry for Josephine when the announcement was made that the shop was closing (and I thought it was sweet of Fred to look after her reaction once they said it), because she’s just so lonely, but of course I also understood why the twins did that.
(The twins’ ridiculousness is so perfect. It’s just. Perfect. <3)
You know, at this point, I feel like I should be prepared for the complete and utter heartbreak of the present-day chapters, but I never am. Because you always find a new way to just completely destroy my soul?? And I’m just never ready.
When George took out all his anger on Josephine, I was admittedly furious with him. I could understand why he was angry, but it was unfair on so many levels to Josephine, who seemed to believe that she deserved it, to a degree, and that it was okay for George to speak to her like this. And I was like, “No, darling, you don’t deserve this at all.” So I felt so sorry that the two of them weren’t adjusting to Fred’s absence, but George just. He made me so mad at first, especially when he knocked the folders down.
But then he came back and apologized, and omg there has never been an apology that has made me feel as relieved as this one. I think one big problem I have with people getting unreasonably furious in fics is that…they never apologize. Or, when they do, it’s way, way too late. So when George came in immediately afterwards, and spent the entire rest of the chapter apologizing…I felt a lot better about him. And I thank you for writing him this way, because I don’t know how I would’ve dealt with a George who was horrible and mean to the person who deserved it least. <3
And the plot!! I was so excited here because Josephine was the one who hatched the plan herself. I wasn’t sure if the story was going to be similar to the rom-com While You Were Sleeping (have you ever watched it? it’s adorable), and it turns out it’s quite different! Either way would’ve been fine by me, because I love While You Were Sleeping, but I’m super excited by this turn of events. And I didn’t expect that George would be in on it, too! And that’s even better! HOW IS THIS STORY SO GOOD SLKDFJKL.
(WHY AM I SO BAD AT KEEPING A DAILY SCHEDULE WITH THIS FIC, IT’S LITERALLY ALL I THINK ABOUT, BUT I KEEP. FALLING. ASLEEP.)
Anyway I’m here now!
Okay I just wanted to say, I love the way you structured that first section, where it starts off with Fred knocking only once and then ends with Fred never knocking again. (His declaration about friendship and knocking was literally the sweetest, most adorable thing in the world, and I can’t even imagine how happy it must’ve made Josephine feel.) What I love about this relationship is that it’s largely Fred just talking at Josephine, and rambling on and on about the details of his life, and even though she’s quiet, she’s not cold. I love her reactions omg.
(Also I live for quiet characters becoming subtly more vulgar upon hanging out with the more gregarious, rowdy type haha. Fred’s jokes about her not knowing the location of George were funny already, but then she gave him the [British equivalent of?] the middle finger, and I just about died.)
Fred being so secretive about Angelina is actually kind of adorable? Because he’s so loud and rambunctious that it’s amazing he’s actually working to keep this between him and Angelina (and George). What is significantly less adorable is that he pranked her by having her hug a clown instead of a teddy bear. That is terrible hahaha. I mean, I’m laughing now, but I bet he totally freaked Angelina out. And I love Fred’s dramatics so much, like, he’s clearly playing it up a little bit but also he is kind of clueless about this lmao. (Which is maybe why they break up so much hahaha.)
I really, really relate to Josephine, though. Like, seriously. I’m not as quiet as her, but being shy and awkward around people who are always confident? Y e s. But also at the same time, I really appreciate having people like that as friends. So when she was just so delighted and hopeful at the idea of being friends with Fred (SHE IS LITERALLY THE SWEETEST OMG) I was just aww-ing left and right. <3
Literally Fred’s entire story made me laugh, but I especially loved the exchange that prompted Josephine to go: “I consider yelling, ya think!?” Amazing. A true work of art.
And I love in the end that Fred just sort of sighs and admits that he needs to apologize. He’s a good guy, and I’m happy that he’s becoming friends with Josephine. Ahhh I love these two so much I could write entire essays about their relationship [my reviews are kind of turning into mini-essays lol], and it makes me sad that Josephine had to suffer the loss of Fred, who I’m assuming is one of her only friends. Poor, poor girl. <3
And now I just read through the entire second half of the chapter and my heart is actually shattered into pieces. (Okay but quick note first, your Quick Quotes Quill notes were honestly so funny, I was chuckling really hard at those. Now back to sadness.) At first, when George came in and started helping Josephine (poor girl was petrified haha), I was a little hopeful. He was smiling a little bit, and laughing at some of the things that the quill wrote… But obviously grief isn’t constant sadness, and he’d only just gotten a brief respite from it. And I loved this entire conversation between George and Josephine (and in many ways, it reminded me of Fred’s conversations with Josephine, where it’s actually fairly one-sided with fairly strong emotional responses from within Jo).
I especially loved the way Josephine reacted to George’s statements of Molly claiming Fred would never know love, and how it spawned an entirely different set of reactions from George. I wonder exactly what he was feeling – was he just surprised? Did he actually feel betrayed? Ahh but whatever it was, I just wanted to hug him, and I wanted Josephine to hug him. And I also loved (I keep saying “loved” when I mean “wanted to bawl my eyes out at this part”) that entire conversation about Josephine’s role in the war.
You go, girl.
And omg. That bit when Josephine realized that if she died, only Fred would’ve grieved…my heart hurts. It hurts so much right now for her, because I hate that she feels unloved, because everyone deserves to be loved.
I KEEP TALKING AHH, BUT I JUST LOVE THIS STORY SO MUCH.
A new day, a new chapter of Lying Josephine! <3
(Or, that’s how it was supposed to be two days ago, but I kept FALLING ASLEEP and so I’m only getting to this review now, which is tragic because this is the best chapter ever.)
FRED SLDKJLSJKG. What I love about your Fred is that he’s like a big, overgrown child; innocent but wise at moments, and very, completely annoying. I couldn’t help laughing though (and I’m sure that Jo was super amused as well, though she was probably also mildly annoyed at the fact that her employer was such a kid), like when he went “hey hey hey hey,” accompanied by pokes. HE’S SO FUNNY. (And you’re such a funny author! How do you get Fred’s characterization so perfect, I can’t.)
The sweetness that accompanies his usual boisterous ridiculousness was unexpected but also kind of expected at the same time. I love that your Fred isn’t one-dimensional, that he actually genuinely cares for George more than anyone in the world. AND HIS PRESENT IS SO GOOD OMFG. Can I just…adopt Fred as a twin brother?? Ahhh that ridiculous boy, why was he worried about George liking it, it’s so good. Lmao Fred, laughing at his own jokes. I love it. I love him. I love Jo. This is all amazing.
And what I love is that you’ve managed to capture this platonic friendship of it all, that there’s no moment where I’m sensing strange sexual tension. (You know, I feel like Hollywood gets this wrong all the time, where they market two people as friends but then have them do…oddly couply things and speak with oddly couply banter? That’s not a problem here, though, which I’m so happy about!)
And now we’re with George. Oh, I can’t even imagine losing a sibling, let alone someone who’s as close to George as Fred was. No wonder why he was done for the day. No wonder why he threw things in grief. My heart hurts so much for him, because I don’t even know what I would do if I lost one of my little sisters. And Josephine – I can’t tell if she was really doing it for Fred or if she just genuinely wanted to talk to George and see if he was okay (why not both, I suppose?) – whatever it was, I’m glad that she talked to George. Because I think he needed the emotional support.
That entire scene had me so emotional, when she was fixing up his hand, the globe, his room…when she asked if he was okay?? Ahhhh. </3
You’re writing such a beautiful story! Your writing is magical and perfect and wonderful and I’m so so in love.
(I love this story so much that after reading this chapter, I went and nominated it for a Golden Chalice Award. It’s so good, I’m in love. <3)
I totally forgot to mention this in the previous chapters, but I love the time-jumps. It’s filling in the story in bits and pieces, and I love stories like this, they’re so much fun to read and figure out.
WHOA I also just realized that you were writing in first person present! Which is literally the hardest thing in the world to do well without sounding too in-your-face, but your Jo’s voice is perfect?? How are you so talented omg.
Okay onto the actual story!
Oh, my dear Jo. It makes me so sad for her that she’s so lonely, to the point where she fixates upon George as the only real thing in her life. I’m glad that she applied for this job, because I feel like, from what I’ve seen in this story, it did present her with many unexpected gifts (Fred Weasley being one of them), but her reasons for applying make me want to hug her. I want her to have more friends, but that’s always easier said than done. But ahh the girl deserves so much more love than what she’s received.
But okay. How perfect is that introduction to Fred Weasley, with his boisterous attitude and cheery voice? Also I love that the guy makes her sit on a freaking whoopee cushion (chair? it’s a chair, why did I write cushion) as a practical joke for the interview. I LOVE IT. THIS IS EVERYTHING THAT FRED IS MEANT TO BE AND MORE. Jo’s reaction made me laugh as well, but omg that girl is in desperate need of friends (for which I happily volunteer – you know, ignoring the fact that she’s a fictional character), she definitely needs to be teased more. <3
THIS INTERVIEW IS MAKING MY LIFE. I wonder if Fred figured out who she was? (And did her crush start from George helping her pick up papers that she dropped??) And SLDKJLS that’s exactly the type of question they would ask!! “If you were a fruit, what would you be?” AMAZING. THIS IS SO SPOT-ON I LOVE. And Josephineee, my smart, darling girl! Finances are literally the bane of my existence so I would so hire her. Unfortunately, Fred is quite astute haha and figured she had some ulterior motive. (I love how smart you made him. I love it.)
Aw no, the girl’s life revolves around George. I hope she can fix that soon, but in the meantime, let’s be sad and antisocial together, Jo. <3
That entire exchange where Fred figured out her crush and then negotiated with her into staying was just pure gold. What I loved was how you managed to communicate Jo’s personality despite her silence; she’s so full of reactions and amusement but she’s just so shy and awkward, and I adore that.
And that section at the end, to the part after the war. Oh, that was beautifully written. I can’t even imagine how George would be feeling after having lost his twin, and the quiet way the shop just opened up again was really heartbreaking, in a way.
I LOVE THIS. INTO THE FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS AND I AM ALREADY A THOUSAND PERCENT IN LOVE.
Okay I love how this story has elements of common fanfiction tropes but just turns them slightly on their head, such as the main character being best friends with Fred Weasley but not being in love with him. I love that. It’s such a unique look at this friendship, and it allows for all of Fred’s teasing and self-preening jokes without any potentially awkward romantic undertones in it. I love that Fred is on board with Josephine loving George (well, except for the part where she never talks to him haha), and I love that Josephine works for the twins purely to ogle George.
I’M BARELY INTO THE CHAPTER AND I’M ALREADY VERY HAPPY.
How does she tell Fred and George apart, anyway? (I’ve known a pair of twins for like five years and I still can’t tell them apart. And one of them even got a haircut so it’s not even like they’re completely identical anymore. However, this may also be a Silly Eva moment lmao.) Also, can we take a moment to appreciate what a good friend Fred is?? It takes a great strength of will to watch your friend love someone unrequitedly without meddling haha and setting them up together. GO FRED. I appreciate him so much.
Also also also Jo is literally the most relatable character I’ve ever met in my life. I’m so painfully shy in real life omg. If I’m sitting with someone I don’t know, and they don’t strike up conversation, we will be sitting in silence for eternity. Which is also why I love people who are outgoing and wonderful because they’re so natural at it, and it’s easier for me to talk to them that way. JO IS ME. I AM JO. CAN WE BE BEST FRIENDS PLEASE.
I love that Fred’s trying to push her out of her comfort zone. He’s so adorable about it too omfg.
Oh wait. Statement about non-meddling Fred retracted. FRED, BLACKMAIL IS UNACCEPTABLE. IN FACT IT IS ILLEGAL. (Jk he’s not doing any harm with it haha.) But omg Josephine’s feelings are so relatable, and her friendship with Fred is so precious, and I love this.
Wait now we’re sad. *sobs* I feel like crying actual tears now. Your description of him, this line – “The over-the-top, life-of-the-party, vivacious, prankster-in-chief, loud, hilarious, bordering on obnoxious, rule-breaking, explosive, larger-than-life-itself Fred Weasley… is lying in a small, confined, wooden box.” – is so good and perfect and accurate, and is perhaps the best description of Fred I’ve ever seen. Which makes the juxtaposition to the box that much more painful. :(
And this line – “How could such a big head fit in such a small box?” – made me want to simultaneously laugh and sob, so thank you for stabbing me through the heart with emotion. </3
Holy crap this entire section is just wrecking me. Ohh I feel so badly for Josephine, who’s lost her family (details unknown?), who has no one, who can barely even stand seeing George being comforted by his mother. I feel bad for her, even though her thoughts are selfish in a way, because she deserves to have love, because just about everyone in this world deserves to have love. And I love that you’ve created this wonderfully complex character who thinks selfish things but is also so clearly largely good that you can’t help but want the very best for her anyway. I want the best for Jo. And I’m, once again, heartbroken that Fred has died.
What are you doing to me omg I’m talking way too much. But ahh you’re such a talented writer, and you write characters flawlessly – Fred’s characterization is one of the best I’ve ever seen. He was funny, silly, energetic, lively, and everything in his dialogue reflected that. I LOVE THIS. EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES ME WANT TO WEEP MANY TEARS.
So I have been eyeing this story for the longest time, because it feels like something that leapt straight out of my wish-list of Types of Fics I Would Like To Read Forever and Ever, and I’m so glad that I finally have the time to sit down and read it now!
Oh no! The beginning’s already so sad. Am I going to be weeping all throughout this story? (Be right back, prepping some tissues for the near future haha.) So Josephine is really sad because something’s happened between May and December to have ruined her world. Judging by the story summary, I’m assuming that it’s that she lied (perhaps it was an accident at first, but she probably kept up the ruse because she loved the Weasleys too much) and was found out, and so she was ostracized. I feel so bad that she had to return to an empty home. Already she sounds like someone who’d lost a lot before meeting the Weasleys.
This is just so sad. She’s standing at Fred Weasley’s funeral (okay, let’s be real, his death was the most tragic in the book, and just the mention of Fred Weasley is enough to get me all emotional these days), and they were best friends?? Aww poor girl, so much heartbreak already. </3
I’m so so excited to work my way through the rest of this story, I’m going to have so much fun reading it, I just know it! No wonder why it was nominated for so many awards. <3
I have to tell you now that these back and forth scenes between the past and the present are what really rip my heart apart. It is because you give me just enough of the present to know that things are bad, and just enough of the hopeful past to tell me that Fred was special and wanted to help Josephine with her secret. I feel all the hope of those past scenes, all the anticipation of how things will work out for the best, and then when Fred is gone, it is like the hope has vanished with him.
I suppose that is how Josephine views it too. How is it possible to feel so much?
This snowglobe is going to come back to haunt me. I can feel it. This cannot end well.
But I will tell you this. The jokes are REAL. They are FUNNY. SO VERY FUNNY and SO VERY FRED. I think I cried a little while laughing. I really did.
And now we come to the “after” part of the chapter, which is always so sad after reading the “before”. I am lifted by the fact that Josephine makes herself available finally and listens to the voice of Fred inside her head to go and help his brother.
The snowglobe shatters. I knew it would get me.
I am so relieved that Josephine finally talks to him here. You don’t even know. Well, maybe you do, because you wrote this, but what I am trying to say is that the anticipation of her actually breaking out of her comfort zone was slowly leaking the life out of me, and I kept hoping it would be ‘today’, or ‘now’, or ‘soon’.
She is right, though. Three words were enough for me too. For now.
Your words are true.
Chapter three, here I come!
I love the way you portray the Weasley brothers in their advertisement for the job, and Josephine’s embarrassing confession that she needs to be around George so strongly that she’d get the job just to be near him. The poor girl! I am hoping so strongly that things are going to work out for the best, even after the echoes of the prologue still sit in my mind.
And oh, the farting chair plagues her during that interview so much! I think I might want to throw it out of the window, just to make her more comfortable. This is the part where she and Fred mak that deal from the last chapter, isn’t that right? At this point, you write Josephine’s complete embarrassment so totally convincingly that I feel it in my bones. I feel for her, and I even want to help her hide from the maniacal prankster, that Fred. But then, there wouldn’t be much story, so I suppose that I will have to watch Josephine’s great uncomfortableness for a bit longer. I really, truly hope that there is a happy ending to this story, and I mean with George, since Fred is undeniably gone at this point.
The whole scenario that you have set up here is so very intriguing and I’m getting that ‘need to know’ feeling with every chapter I read. I need to know if Josephine gets her happy ending. I need to know if George ever figures out what is going on. I need, I really need to know whether the prologue is simply the unhappy briefness before things get sorted out, because an author such as you has gone and made me feel like, even though she doesn’t think she deserves it, she really does. She deserves that happiness that she craves, and so does George.
Please, please, let this be so?
Your words ring true.
Fred is so completely adorable in this opening, I can hardly STAND it!!!
Even with all of Josephine’s declarations that she’s okay with loving George from afar, I stand with Fred on this. I worry for her as well, because if there was anyone who could put in a good word for her, it would be George’s brother, but I see how they got into this situation. That was a slick move on Fred’s part, even as he now realizes that it might not have been for the best.
And I also agree with Fred about the ogling. Josephine ogles like a pro.
Ah, but the resolution… that is brilliant, Fred! I am so glad you thought of that!
And look at me, now talking to your characters as if they were real. That is the true mark of a great writer, when you are able to bring to life real people who jump off the page like you do. I feel like Fred is larger than life, and I feel like Josephine is a mousey thing who needs a big hug and lots of chocolate, and prodding. I am glad that Fred is giving her some prodding.
I really like this line: “I should have known he’d do this. Too smart for his own good, that one. (Well, for my own good, at least.)”
It shows that Josephine knows her best friend is right in what he is saying to her. She just needs a little more self confidence, more bravery.
More words would help.
Ah, and then my heart breaks when the flashback ends. Josephine is broken here, but she has a strength also that she doesn’t recognize. I love the last line you give to her, even after she chastises herself for being selfish, which I cannot accept. She has every right to grieve, just as his family grieves. It’s okay. It’s okay, Josephine. And I hope she keeps that promise too.
This chapter had so many highs and lows in it. I was on an emotional rollercoaster with this. The way you made Fred so funny, and then the way you made him gone. It eats at me, and I feel those things that Josephine feels. And I am desperately wanting to know how she will cope in the next chapter.
Your words ring true.
Oh my goodness, what did I just step into?????
I'm left a little speechless, and a little bit shaken up as I finish this prologue. I have been hit straight in the heart. The first part made me feel like I was in the middle of a sad, sad story, and even though it was sad, it was deliciously enticing. There is nothing better than beginning a new story and getting the shivers as if I had been there all along. I wanted to know so ferently what had happened and why the person speaking was so lost and alone and hurting.
I thought I would get answers in the second section, and I did, to a certain extent. I went back into time and received more context about what might be going on... and oh, the tragedy!
I think the thing that strikes me the most about this prologue is the tone of so much loss. It makes me wonder if the whole story is going to be about this loss, or if there is going to be a small glimmer of hope somewhere. I try to look for the hope as much as I can, wherever I go. Right now, this character needs some serious love, and I wish I could reach through the screen and give her a huge snuggly hug. She's so lost and alone, and I feel heaps of compassion for her.
But the burning question, the single most important query that I have deep inside of me, the reason that I am going to revisit this story and click on the second chapter, is WHY.
I need to know why she is broken and alone, and how that relates to Fred Weasley, and what happened in six months to make her believe that she deserves to be miserable like she is.
So many feels. So. Many. Shaken and speechless aside, I must know how she got here, and if she is able to overcome her devastation.
Your words are true.
TANYA OMG OMG OMG DO MINE EYES DECEIVE ME OR IS THIS AN ACTUAL NEW CHAPTER I LOVE YOU SO MUCH
THIS JUST MADE MY DAY, NO WAIT MY ENTIRE WEEK
I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS THAT I CAN ONLY EMOTE IN CAPSLOCK
But that'd be kinda annoying if I did this entire review in capslock, so I'll try to restrain myself.
George is on his way in next, and as much as I'm sure you'd love for him to land on top of you, this is simply neither the time nor place." -- HA. this is during a sad scene in a dusty boarded up Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and the battle of Hogwarts is going on and FRED IS MAKING JOKES LIKE THIS. Bahahaah I just don't know how to handle it.
This whole section really. I absolutely love your use of detail. I can picture the whole scene so clearly. And love, love, love the scene with Jo and Fred right before he goes back into the battle. This scene kind of encapsulates everything about their relationship. He's still managing to bring joy at a dark time and lift Jo's spirits, and he's all talk and she's all silence, and she silently keeps him from getting too cocky. I mean, if she hadn't moved, that spell could have been bad :P And when he kisses her forehead at the end. Gah, these two are so adorable and I love their friendship SO. MUCH.
I love your description of the Burrow and all the sights and smells that make it the home that it is. ♥ Also I am now very hungry.
"I'm scared," I tell my shoelaces. I know she's talking to her shoelaces here rather than the person who asked her a question, but she TALKED. This is huge character development right here.
The way Josephine is welcomed with so much love into the family kind of makes my heart explode with feels. and hugs me like I matter. -- GUH. Is someone cutting onions in here?
Percy actually reaches out to shake my hand, and while he gives a polite smile, it doesn't quite meet his eyes. I can't help but feel shaken by his obvious skepticism. -- honestly I really loved this line because it's perfect. I can totally imagine Percy's smile doesn't reach his eyes, but that it's because he likely is still haunted by the guilt that he was there distracting Fred with his first ever joke when Fred was hit with the curse. (or at least that's how he sees it). I want to tell Jo it's nothing personal.
Mr. Weasley simply grins. "I have one word for you all," he announces above the giggling, eyeing each of his sons with a pointed look. "Genetics."
And that shuts them all up.
-- If they'd had a science class at Hogwarts, Charlie could tell his father that male baldness is actually inherited through the mother. So there, Arthur. But they didn't, so Arthur wins this round. Bahaha, this whole conversation was so entertaining though. Can I just say how PERFECTLY you write the Weasleys? Not just Fred and George, because everyone already knew that you're amazing at writing them, but the whole family. This could be a scene from the books. They are all exactly what I'd expect from them in this situation. Their mannerisms, their exact type of humor - everything is PERFECT. I love the way George elaborated on Molly's threat about the lawnmower when he told Arthur. Leaving him for Hagrid... I'm dying of laughter XD
Josephine did a really good job holding it together surrounded by all those people asking her questions, I know she's miles outside of her comfort zone, but she does so well. And the fact that she was able to be totally honest about some things (like the story about Fred) really makes it believable. And oh, I think it's raining on my face.
I'm just as sad as Josephine is about the idea of her not being able to spend time with the Weasleys again. That would crush me. Just, it's so good for all of them - for Josephine, for George, for all of the Weasleys, for them to have her around. I know it's all based on a lie, but it's bringing Josephine out of her shell and helping her deal with her grief, and the Weasleys get to relive all their favorite moments with Fred all over again and know that Fred was loved, and it's just so healing for all of them. Which will ultimately make it harder as more time passes, I know, and Jo realizes how stuck she is in her lie, but honestly they need this. Grief is so much easier when shared.
I'm running out of characters, and this is so long that you must be already dreading having to respond to it, but I just wanted to say how beautiful this chapter was and you have no need to doubt yourself on your writing, or on your incredible portrayal of the Weasleys or Harry. They are all perfect, so is this story, and so are you.
Tanya! Words can't even begin to describe how excited I was when I saw this had been updated!! Congrats on finishing a new chapter :) And once again you've done such an incredible job. I'm afraid my review won't really do it justice - there's so much I want to say and compliment but I'm typing this on my phone in one of those rare, brief occasions when I have internet. So while I can't go into the amount of detail you deserve, let me just say this was an incredible chapter. I love Josephine as a character and it was just so painful to read that last section when she's suffering silently and tells George that silence can be a cry for help. Wahh :-( and how their methods of trying to cope are so opposite but both really understandable. I think it would help Josephine a lot to learn how to release her feelings instead of keeping everything inside, and George could learn to not release his pain as anger at the nearest person - and in that respect I think their friendship (or whatever it is) will be immensely helpful in helping them change and grow as they deal with such an intense loss. One particulat line in this section stood out to me - a poorly choreographed duet of solos - I just love this as it's a beautiful description and so vivid. What perfect imagery. just aah. I loved it.
The first section was really intense! Things are really changing as the story works itself towards the battle of Hogwarts and I'm really interested to se how they managed things during that year and Josephine's part in it all.
I just love this story and I wish I could leave a better review but my thumbs are tired from this tiny keyboard so I will just conclude by stating: You are an incredible writer and I love the way you write characters and make them so real. the way you convey their emotions is amazing. And your writing of the twins, both in humorous situations and somber ones, make me wonder if you are actually JKR herself. I will continue to hound your AP and maybe send you annoying yet persuasive PM's until you finish chapter 7 because I'm so eager to read on and because you know how much I dislike even numbers.
Love this story (and you)!
*Transferred with love*
Tanya! Words cannot express how stoked I was to see a new chapter of this! Also, now I know your secret - if your writing is motivated by PM's full of love and pestering, I will get on that ASAP. :p
I love love love the growing friendship between Jo and Fred - their conversations are so funny as it's mostly just Fred prattling on, punctuated by very to-the-point comments (or hand gestures) from Jo. Aw, he told her his secrets! That is the mark of friendship. Besides, it's not like she's the type to tell secrets, or anything really :p
I know the second section with George is much more somber, but I still couldn't help giggling at the sheer amount of poo-related products available for purchase at the twins' shop. Poo d'Etat... haha brilliant. Faecal Treacle? Ew. And brilliant. These shouldn't be as funny as they are. XD
But moving on - I really loved the whole conversation between Jo and George. It was all kinds of awkward, but just the fact that they went through all these emotions together - the guilt, the accusations, the grief - that's bringing them closer together, because intense conversations like that aren't something you just forget about the next day. I only wish Jo had said the things she was thinking about saying! I know she uses a lot of facial expressions and few words which maybe Fred would have understood a deeper meaning, but George doesn't know her as well yet. I mean, I'm sure he knew she was trying, but I think if she'd actually articulated what she wanted to say, it would have helped George a lot. Well, they will have more time for that..
I noticed one small typo in this chapter. It's in the A/N: you wrote "I am the worst", but I think you meant "best". ;) BECAUSE YOU'RE THE BEST! I'll pester you with love and support in a few days to see how chapter six is coming along ;) Awesome work!
Another transfer :)
Once again my feelings went on a bit of a roller coaster here. The beginning section was a combination of sweet and ridiculous - the idea of Fred's gift was just so sincere and the jokes involved kind of cancelled out the sincerity ahaha but I loved the delicate balance between Fred's nervousness and cheeky arrogance while Josephine looks at the snowglobe.
oh and I loved the bit where Fred is secretly just 5 years old, poking Jo repeatedly and saying hey until she gives up, and her determination to keep silent until he gives up!
The second part was so sad, but I'm glad Jo listened to her internal Fred-voice, because I think that did help George. Honestly, I love that Jo knew Fred well enough to hear his voice advising her, because he would know exactly what to do when it comes to George.
Lovely chapter, Tanya!