How have I not reviewed this yet, Jo?
This story is one of my absolute favorites on HPFT. It's gorgeous, as is all of your writing, and I'm so happy to have come across it.
The way you characterize Vera and Nina throughout this is beautiful. Their love is evident through every word and interaction, and it makes me so happy.
Vera herself is stunning. I love how much she loves. She's the epitome of love. She's just so full of adoration for the world and for people and possibility that it's hard for her to contain it. Though that sadly means she also feels grief when she's rejected. And I was so sad when she was. The way you write her emotions make them so real and heavy, and it's like I was there with her in her sorrow.
This is a stunning portrayal of a polyamorous relationship. Nina's support of Vera through her grief is stunning. Their love makes me want to know them.
And the way you write the holidays and the scenes with Nina's family is just beautiful. It encompasses everything I relate to holidays—the family and love and togetherness—and even though it isn't perfect (Vera is still sad, and Nina's family still doesn't know the truth), there's still comfort in it.
Fantastic job, Jo. I absolutely love it.
Hi, Jo, my love! I'm here checking out Chalices' noms! Congrats on your nomination and good luck! ;)
This was a lovely piece. I always love your writing and I loved how... ordinary? I mean the word in the best way possible... this was, how recognizable and real. Also, I love the Christmas atmosphere, even if it's just a background and it's mostly the melanchonic part of it, the lonely part. If that makes sense. Anyway, I love it.
As you know, I'm just learning to discover the complexity of LGBTQA community and polyamory in particular is still a bit of a foreign concept to me, but I feel Vera's pain at being judged for who she is, at being forced to live into certain standard, to fulfill certain expectations... and her doubt about what if one day I'll be forced to choose is so sad... Nina was so sweet and supportive and I loved the two girls together. I also loved the familiar atmosphere you described in the house, it filled me with warmth.
As always, your writing is delightful and your descriptions stunning. I'm so happy that you've ventured into OF and that I got an excuse to read this lovely piece. I need to remember to stop by your AP more often (I'm sure there are a few things I still need to read... :P)
Sorry if I'm cutting this a bit short, but I have a lot of reading to catch up with for the Chalices... but really, lovely job!
Lots of love and snowball hug, dear!
I’m here for the Magical Menagerie Review Event on the forums as well as the Gryffindor Red vs Gold review battle for 2019! I was so excited to see that you’ve posted something new! I feel like I haven’t seen you around for ages.
This was sweet and sad and melancholy and a whole lot of emotions all in one. Poor Vera seems to be getting wrung through the ringer. Between the family situation, the complication with Markus, and the uncertainty of everything, it just seems like too much.
I’m glad that Nina is a stable piece in Vera’s life. It’s good that she has someone who loves her in such a confident, assured way.
It’s really sad to hear about her family. I can understand that change is difficult for some people, but to be so rude and condescending to her is so unacceptable. You would think maintaining a relationship with her would be more important than any petty hostilities. I hope at some point they realize they are wrong and accept who she is.
As for the open relationship, I guess I never gave much thought to how complicated it would be to have to pick between two people you loved. I just sort of assumed that it would be something that would be discussed before falling in love? I guess Vera and Markus didn’t plan on falling in love so maybe that’s why.
I liked that even though this was sad in places, the ending was happy.
Kaitilin! It was so good to see you stopped by and read this. Thank you!
I'm not surprised at all that you find Vera's family's behaviour unacceptable. You have such strong principles and you stick to them—I imagine Vera's parents are quite different from you, they are very concerned with what the neighbours do/think, they don't have much education and they've never lived anywhere else than this tiny village. They simply don't know how to better handle the situation. There's an awesome book called "Far from the tree" in which the author explores which kinds of identities parents can easily accept in their children and which kinds they rather would just go away. He calls them horizontal identities (as opposed to vertical properties, which are passed down) - those are like disability, sexual orientation, predisposition for crime and the like, but also extreme talent. I only read that after I wrote it, but it describes well, how Vera's parents probably feel. It's not that they want to lose her, they just don't really know her, they expected her to be like them and she wasn't and they can't find it in themselves to get to know her.
You've picked up on something that's very true about open relationships as I see it (and any relationship really). Most people don't decide to fall in love, it just happens. It might happen to someone in a mono relationship as well and then the person would have to decide between two people they loved (because the relationship they have defined with their partner doesn't allow for loving them both). It's not all that different in poly relationships. If three people are in a poly relationship with each other and only one of them changes their mind and wants a mono relationship, the other two can be poly all they want, they'll be forced to choose… Markus and Vera started off as friends with benefits really, so they both knew it wasn't exclusive. But then they fell in love and imagined a life together - only when Vera brought it up did they realise they'd been imagining different scenarios.
I'm glad that you liked the story and I'm sorry, this response feels really nonsensical, I'm a bit rambly today.
I hope you are well, sending hugs your way!
Hi Jo! I spotted you around on the forums the other day and it's so lovely to see you popping in - even if it's only for a few minutes every now and then :) So I thought I'd been a long, long time since I read anything of yours and I saw you'd posted this super recently, so I thought I'd stop by.
You know, all your writing is good - it always is, whatever your writing - but, I don't know what it is, but this, this is incredible. You've improved and I can tell and I'm so so pleased for you because every progression is good :) Ahhh no, it's an incredible story, this, and I love that you've written it - and that it's OF and it's poly and it feels so incredibly personal to you and because of that it feels very brave, yk, because writing personal stuff is brave, and you've just created this beautiful little world and such complete characters and relationships and it's amazing.
I love all your characters - Vera and Nina and their families - and I love how there's this sense that, well, honesty isn't always necessarily good. Honesty can hurt, honesty can result in difficult things, bad things, complicated things. Honesty can mess up good things. And I love that so much because it's something which I don't think is often explored in stories in that way and yet it's such a big part of life: the little white lie.
The other side to all the honesty in this is the simplicity and the depth of the relationships: relationships which, with Nina and her family and Vera and Nina, aren't always entirely honest (Nina's family don't know about her and Vera, but Nina and Vera are - so it seems - entirely honest with each other) but nonetheless are strong and warm and so real. Honesty almost feels... sort of irrelevent, and indescribably precious - and I can't really fault Nina for not wanting to upset that and I loved how Vera understood that, having had her parents turn out to be not quite so understanding, and her own honesty with them backfiring on her.
The best thing about this story is the relationship between Vera and Nina. It's easy, it's comfortable, it's familiar and sweet, it's so normal and ordinary and there's a very every-day quality about it - it's just another day for them, almost, even if it's Christmas. This is how they live, and I love that quality about it. I can't really put it into words, but you've captured that exact feeling you have when you've been in a relationship with someone for a long time and you know them, know their moods and their mannerisms and it's almost seamless.
I love, as well, how you didn't solve Vera's issue with Markus - you never tell us what Markus said, how he responds. And I love that: it leaves it open. Maybe he's cool with it. Maybe he's not. But Vera's got Nina, and they're okay, and there's this real sense of resilience through it at the end: that even when things are tough, you can go on and get through them.
Ahhh I'm rambled a LOT in this, haha, so I'm sorry about that - but I loved this story! It's a brilliant, beautiful, heartwarming piece, and it's such an incredible snapshot of a real, real experience.
Thank you so much for this loooong review! It was so nice of you to stop by and then you leave such nice things and so many of them :O
Reading you saying I write well is high praise and makes me very proud because I know your writing and we all know it's amazing! Also you're right, this is my first OF on the archives and after I posted it it was very reassuring to get such a good review on it.
I love all the little details you pointed out about the story, about honesty and relationships and about resilience. It's an incredible feeling to get feedback like that, when I feel a reader really gets what I wanted to say. Thank you for that.
I hope you are well!
Congratulations on posting your OF on the archives! So I thought this piece was really good. I'm very impressed by your ability to set the scene. I think all your little details which explore the senses e.g music playing on the subway etc. I think it makes your writing feel really rich and vivid.
I love how you use the small village theme through out the story. I'm from a little village so I can relate to everyone knowing everyone. Everyone knows the gossip. I have strongly relate to that so I felt very realistic to me.
I thought you did a good job at characterisation especially in quite a short amount of words. I thought Vera had a very strong inner monologue, I love the relationship and dynamic between Vera and Nina. I thought you wrote them as a couple very well especially when documenting their challenges too. The dialogue between them was very good, I like Nina's humour. I would love for Vera to get her wish to be with both Markus and Nina!
I do like the ending and how she is happy with Nina's family at Christmas. though.
- Abbi xo
For: Magical Menagerie/RvG
Hey Abbi :)
Thank you for your review! I was very curious to find out how someone else might like the "story in my head". And it was so good to read you not only liked it but also found the characters likeable, both Vera personally and Vera/Nina as a couple <3
I've been trying to cut down unnecessary descriptions in my stories and I'm glad the remaining ones worked well for you.
The small village theme is something I'm very fond of, where one grows up does influence one's view of many things, and it's cool that you relate so well to it too.
Thank you for taking the time to reviw!