Date: 24 Apr 2017 3:35 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Sorry to be so late reviewing, Mary. My mother had a fall and crushed some vertebrae . . .
Poor Matey - I thought she was getting used to the idea that it was counter-productive to try and thwart Hilda's plans, but I guess it takes time really to take it on board, especially when your patient looks so frail. I did enjoy Hilda's astonishment at Jack not complaining but actually telling her to enjoy her supper party! And as for the bathroom - magnificent!
Date: 23 Apr 2017 8:38 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
The sure yet gentle way that MA manages to persuade Gwynneth and Jack to step back and allow Hilda to do as she needs to with the dinner party is lovely - and a mirroring of her own way of thinking where she plans on stepping back to allow Hilda to absorb her thoughts and choices re Ellie and the convent. That's exactly what will help Hilda at the moment, someone who is there for her, cares for her and wants the best for ehr but acknowledges that the one person who really knows what's best is Hilda herself.
What a bathroom - the contrast between that and the softer colours in the other rooms shows the real Hilda, a lady of depth, warmth and passion. It's so telling that Hilda keeps that passionate love of colour, glitter and sparkle hidden just as she keeps her true self hidden from all but those who creep into her heart. She's kept that inner part of herself hidden for so long it's not surprising that letting down the walls and allowing a number of people in within such a short time has left her bewildered.
I hope that Nell's diaries will help, even if they are hard to read at first. Their friendship was one of love but also of laughter and Hilda will remember that and hold on to it once she is able to move past the great grief enveloping her at the moment.
Date: 21 Apr 2017 6:14 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
I loved the description of Hilda's room, it sounded very sunny and comfortable but the bathroom!!!... Stunning! I want one just like it! I can understand Hilda's need to have a huge photo of her and Nell together, a reminder of all they meant to each other and that Nell is still there watching over her. And the bathroom is the ideal place as it is so very private.
I don't wonder Matey is struggling. Her nurse's instincts tell her that Hilda needs to rest but this conflicts with God!s plan. She is also struggling with her relationship with Hilda, fearing that these new friends, MA, Ian and Vivien have taken her place, even though she has been assured that Hilda and Ellie want her as part of their family. MA dealt firmly with both Matey and Jack, without being dictatorial and I think she has helped them both to see that they need to let a God work out his plan through Hilda. Interesting that Hilda's pulse is completely normal despite everything.
I am looking forward to the supper party. Thank you Mary for this very interesting chapter which demonstrates yet another side to Hilda's character.
Date: 12 Apr 2017 7:50 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Lovely instalment – I can just imaging MA hauling God over the coals! Poor old Matey, though; it’s tough trying to break the habits of a lifetime as a nurse and to watch the dynamics of Hilda’s relationship with herself and others changing. Lols to the bathroom though – fabulous! Jack is on a similar learning trajectory to Matey and also making heavy weather of it…hopefully now MA is on the case they will both back off! And what is in Nell’s diaries?
Thank you, Mary.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, blueskye, and yes, I feel for Matey, but Hilda has a whole other life now outside the school, and other people are becoming important. But at least Matey knows she's loved, having been asked to be part of that new family. Glad you liked the bathroom! We know Hilda likes red, as she often wears it in the books. As to the diaries, she wants them, remember, to find out how Nell coped when Hilda seemed to be on the point of dying, in the hope Nell's strength might help her. She also wanted to read what Nell thought about the fun time Hilda organised for her 50th birthday, in *Hilda's Revenge*.
Date: 11 Apr 2017 5:40 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
I'm so glad MA has talked to Gwynneth and helped her to understand that she is loved by Hilda even when she pushes Hilda too hard. MA has put Jack straight - again! - about not pushing Hilda to rest.
In Hilda's earlier dream when she swam with dolphins, Nell said she had refused God something. Are the diaries Hilda asked for going to reveal to her what that was?
Love the red bathroom!
Author's Response: No, not the diaries, Seven. Matey will be the inadvertent cause of Hilda revealing Nell's words, and also giving her the answer to the conundrum, much to Hilda's distress. Thank you for reviewing and commenting, and glad you liked the bathroom!! *grins*
Date: 10 Apr 2017 1:07 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Meg did so well in not respoinding to the taunts, the nuns have taught her welll. Jeanne is proving to be a proper friend and showing calm common sense.
Vivien has again been a great support both to the girls and to Nancy. Ihope Gwyneth remembers the advice she had about Hilda in the past and doesn't try to limit HildaI hate to think that such good friends would fall out.
Thankyou Mary Ilove this story please carry on as long as you can.
Date: 09 Apr 2017 11:56 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Thank you Mary. Loved Jack's reaction to Hilda's pulse being normal despite all she insisted on doing. Jack will soon learn about Hilda's plans for the future after he and Jo receive the parents letter saying she is retiring in eighteen months.
MA talks with Gwynneth and Jack should help them trust Hilda more.
Author's Response: Hopefully, he and Jo will indeed soon find out, but Hilda has to tell the school first: one of her plans while she's copped up in the Annexe. Thank you for reviewing, Pauline.
Date: 09 Apr 2017 11:37 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
I love Mother's declaration that "[Hilds] and the Lord together make a formidable team." But how true it is. Even though Hilda is completely bewildered by all that has happened in the last 48 hours or so (is it really such a short time?) she still knows in her heart that her Lord is with her every step of the way. And Mother, too is with her every step of the way, working in every way she can to help her daughter come to terms with things, soothing her, resassuring her. It's certainly not surprising that Hilda's so-close brush with death and her equally rapid recovery to this point has left her so uncertain about the future; there's no doubt that she will rely even more heavily on her Mother as well as her Lord to help restore her equilibrium.
Bless MA too, she is probably the only person to whom Gwynneth would have listened at this point - her maternal and nursing instincts to cosset Hilda are totally at war with what is best for Hilda if she is to make a good recovery, but it needs MA to point out to her how she can best help her friend rather than hinder her. The same goes for Jack - his medical instincts are completely at odds with what Hilda really needs at present, but only MA can persuade him to allow her the freedom to keep her mind active as much as possible. Both he and Gwynneth must trust that MA herself will lay the law down firmly if she thinks Hilda is in any danger of overdoing things. I don't think any of the three of them is unaware of the level of Hilda's current depression, though MA realises it more sharply than the other two do, and knows just what treatment will help the most.
But above all MA is there to comfort and advise Hilda, to persuade her to carpe diem, do just what she wants to do - spend time with Ellie, and others, and let decisions for the future wait while she regains her normal equilibrium. With MA's unfailing support, added to the Lord's she will get there and will, in the end, do what the Lord wishes her to do.
Thank you, Mary.
Author's Response: You're right, Elder, when you say that events have conspired to undo all Hilda feels, and make her uncertain about things. I do hope Kate can help her, and also settle Matey's feeling perhaps of being pushed out, even though she's been invited to be part of the new family. Kate's advice to take it slowly and just enjoy being with Ellie is the only thing that will help. God will answer in His own time... Thank you for reviewing at some length, as always, bless you. *grins*
Date: 09 Apr 2017 10:30 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Love Hilda's bathroom! Shows quite a different side to her personality. It's so good that Kate is there - as well being just what Hilda needs, she said just the right things to Gwynneth and Jack. Hope the supper party goes well
Author's Response: So glad you liked the bathroom, ivohenry, but does anyone know everything about us? She quite often wears red in the books... Yes, Kate is, indeed, just the ticket for Hilda. Thank you for reviewing.
Date: 07 Apr 2017 5:22 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
It was never going to be a smooth ride for Meg yet her response was exemplary - maintaining that silence wold have a greater effect than retaliating. I love the idea of mentally fastening a zip on her mouth, such a good way of describing it.
Erica's in a difficult position as form prefect - she has to both insist on the silence from all without fanning the flames of anger. Jeanne is so peaceful and capable in a quiet manner that she'll be more of a force to reckon with in some ways than Ellie's anger although I doubt those like Sara and Barbara realise that just yet.
Vivien is much needed for her very different approach and the injection of humour although I wonder how many people are aware of just how deeply she delves into things underneath that cover. She has not only helped the girls but given Nancy some much wanted support.
I hope they can keep this from Hilda until Hilda has had a little more rest, she'll need to know but not yet - Vivien, Nancy and Meg herself can handle this while Hilda recovers a little and leans on MA for help.
Date: 03 Apr 2017 5:53 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
The last few chapters have been challenging as there has been so much in them. I have swung between fear for Hilda, admiration for Ellie, hope for Kathie, love for Jeanne, Vivienne, Ian and Kate, sympathy for Meg, irritation with Sara and Barbara ..... so many emotions in so short a space of time. It was all so realistic, though - there was no way al the girls would be so accepting of Meg, even after Kate's and Ian's words to them. I could feel their jealousy of how she has been treated. It reminded me very much of the bible story which talks of different servants being paid the same amount for different hours of work and some of their annoyance over that. They didn't seem to understand that her treatment was actually nothing to do with them - they should just accept it and move on. Their sense of perceived injustice was so palpable, and something that I think we are all guilty of feeling at some time or another! Vivienne's good sense in trying to calm things down was masterly and I hope the class responds to her suggestions. Poor Meg - she must feel as if all her fears are coming true. I wonder what will happen when her father is introduced back into the situation? Will she be able to offer him the same mercy and understanding that she has been offered? Or will she reject him? She is very young to have learnt that lesson sufficiently to be able to show it herself when she ha been so hurt by his perceived indifference in the past. Thanks for a great update Mary, it has been a joy to read, as usual.
Author's Response: Jenny, what a beautiful review! Thank you so much! Once again you remind me how many different and varied thoughts you all take away from each chapter of this saga. I love the way you picked up on Meg's tale and compared it to the workers in the vineyard who all got the same pay for very different hours. You're right that they should just accept it and move on - but can even adults always do this? Much trickier with fluctuating teenage emotions. What they failed to see is that, if they were the ones transgressing, then their Abbess would have treated them in the same generous manner. I love also how concerned you are for Meg and he father. We'll get to that soon, hopefully. I think I wrte too much in each chapter and keep delaying all everyone really wants to read!! *rolls eyes*
Date: 03 Apr 2017 11:10 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Author's Response: Thank you, Sarah! I know how much that one word means, so bless you for making the effort to read and review.
Date: 02 Apr 2017 10:56 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Poor Neg and Ellie, I knew it was not going to be easy for Meg despite the ways that Hilda, MA and Aisn had tried to smooth the path for her. Actually she is coping better than Ellie who is really struggling to hold her temper at the reaction on Sarah and Barbara. Jeanne was very wise to ask if she, Ellie and Meg could work in the library which resulted in the opportune meeting with Vivien and gave her a chance not only to help the three but also gave her the opportunity to try to reinforce MA and Ian's words to the Sixth earlier.
Sending Jeanne, Ellue and Meg to unpack Meg's case key to another propitious meeting with Matey and again an opportunity to be reminded of my favourite Coleridge quote!
A good interlude with Vivien and Nancy. Vivien is so supportive of Nancy who really is at her lowest ebb.
Thank you Mary, as usual leaving us with lots to consider.
Author's Response: Thanks so much for the loving review, Linda. Yes, Ellie is struggling, isn't she? And Meg can see this and understand that no one is perfect, not even the Abbess's ward. Hopefully you'll see more of Nancy soon, once Hilda wakes up. *grins*
Date: 02 Apr 2017 6:11 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Too much to hope that Meg would be met with understanding and friendship on her return – they may be Vi form, but they are only 16/17 years old and girls too… a combo of teen brain, hormones and inclination to bear a grudge probably all that is needed to throw a spanner in the works! But doesn’t Meg cope well? You can understand Erica’s mistake in confronting the injustice having lost her own mother and gone through difficult times. Vivien has it well sorted though, doesn’t she? Plus she deals faithfully with the form and includes Nancy in the loop. But surely Matey and Hilda are ‘safe’? A bit of a learning curve for Matey who is accustomed to looking out for everyone health-wise, hopefully she will back off a bit.
Thank you, Mary
Author's Response: Thanks, Blueskye, for the interesting review. Yes, indeed, teenage hormones will always get in the way, but not everyone was horrid so there's plenty of hope. As to Matey and Hilda - I take it you mean what Vivien said to Nancy about Matey? MA and Matey will have a discussion about it in the next chapter, so I won't say anymore now.
Date: 01 Apr 2017 9:47 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
I suppose it was too much to hope that Meg would be welcomed back by all her class mates; at the same time there was no real excuse for Sara and Barbara's behaviour. I'm glad Meg and then Jeanne were able to prevent Eliie exploding in Meg's defence though, and that Erica, and some of the others tried to defuse the situation. Well done, Meg, too, for refusing to rise to the bait - she really has learned her lessons well.
A very good idea for the three to simply leave the room, too - I'm very pleased that they encountered Vivien, whose sympathetic treatment really helped calm Ellie, in particular. As for Vivien's words to VIB, they were quiet, well chosen and really helped the atmosphere in the room, though I think Erica, Mary and Claire were somewhat startled when Vivien suggested that they, too, should probalbyhave ignored what was being said to Meg. And I think her explaining that Ellie was so quick to try and protect Meg simply because she,too had experienced a similar lack of love for part of her life made a considerable impression on all her hearers.
In short, Vivien handled a tricky situation with an insight and compassion akin to Hilda's own - something Hilda will be delighted to learn about when hears of it, as she will do when Nancy reoports on what happened in that classroom. I'm glad too, that Vivien shares with Nancy both that happening, and her fear that Gwynneth will indavertently hurt Hilda by being too protective of her, just as Jack Maynard may do, despite his best intentions. We know that MA will be on the lookout for this happening; while she herself will allow Hilda her head, within reason, even as she recovers her physical strength (after all, as Vivien so rightly points out, Hilda's mind is fine, although Vivien too, wonders about that dark shadow she spotted) she will also put her foot down if she feels Hilda really is trying to do too much,
Thank you, Mary - as always, so much to ponder.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Elder, for your usual loving essay, carefully dissecting all that was there. Vivien played a major part in that chapter, didn't she? Playing Hilda's part, as you so rightly said. She has all Hilda's sensitivity and perception, and her willingness to tell the truth when necessary, hurtful though it might be. Like Hilda, she knows how to soften the hurt. I had an awful fear that everyone would find this chapter boring, but you all seem to have found something of interest. Thank you!
Date: 01 Apr 2017 8:24 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Gosh, Mary (replying to your reply) - you're absolutely right (not surprisingly!). I had completely forgotten that. Maybe time for a bit of a re-read!
Author's Response: *giggles* Thanks for replying to my response, Anne, but I dread to think how long a re-read would take you! Now 1,335,000 words, and counting! How many books is that,I wonder! *grins* I had a bit of a struggle myself, finding that extract for you, even though I knew where to look!
Date: 01 Apr 2017 6:12 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Poor Meg, a hard road to travel and Saraand Barbara not mature enough to cope! I wouldn't be in poor Nancy's shoes but at least she has an understanding Vivien there in support.
Author's Response: Thank you, shesings. Poor Nancy, fearing so many things and losing her confidence thanks to the hurt Kathie has inflicted on her. But Vivien can see what she really is, in the same way Hilda sees it. Hopefully, Hilda can work miracles there during her convalescence.
Date: 01 Apr 2017 2:26 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Meg has learned the lessons from the convent really well in not retaliating to the nasty comments from some of the girls. A pity some of them cannot imagine what life would be in Meg's shoes. They seemed to have ignored Hilda's lessons on how to be compassionate to others. Love Ellie's reaction and, given she was Meg's victim, it's even more surprising that some do not understand.
I think the way Vivien handled the problem is wonderful and it really is a pity she doesn't want to be head at St Mildred's. Her support for Nancy is lovely and comes at the right time given that Nancy is still not certain of what Kathie is going to do.
Wonderful update, Mary.
Author's Response: Thanks for our review, Seven. Yes, some of lower sixth are being a bit clueless, but after all they're only teenagers, and their feelings change from moment to moment. So long as some are willing to accept her, that's probably enough for Meg. As for Vivien, she's so like Hilda, isn't she? Knowing just what to say to ease the burden. But, as we know, Ellie and Hilda mean more to her than advancement in her career. She's only in her late thirties. She has plenty of time to further in her career, whereas this is her one chance to be a mother - albeit a part-time one.
Date: 31 Mar 2017 8:56 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Mary, what can I say. I read this last night and did not know how to respond then and am no clearer now. Vivien and Nancy are portrayed with sensativity and care. The Sixth formers so accurately, Barbara has not learnt discretion since she was a middle in Jack Lamberts gang. Jeannie and Ellie are certainly showing friendship to Meg and erica and mary are certainly doing their best to back them up.
Author's Response: Pauline, you responded beautifully, so please don't worry. I was afraid it would all sound very boring, so you've made me feel much better about it. Thank you so much for this review, and for liking how Vivien and Nancy reacted.
Date: 31 Mar 2017 6:04 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Poor Meg, but it is not realistic to expect all her form-mates to heed the wise words of Hilda, Ian and MA immediately. She dealt with it very well, I think. I really liked Sr Patricia's idea of zipping up one's mouth! At the risk of being slightly controversial, I think Barbara Holmes has a point. While she is appallingly and inexcusably rude and vicious, she has some reason for thinking that Meg has been "allowed to be horrid to us all for ages". I'm fresh from being a "representative of the community" at the end of a Victim Awareness course, during which the offenders are encouraged to consider the ripple effect of their actions not only on their victims (most of them have never even admitted they had victims) but also on the wider community. In the last session of the course they make acts of symbolic restitution - a letter, a poem, something they've made, something they have grown etc etc. It takes a lot of courage for them to stand up and tell us about it, but it's clearly deeply worthwhile. Meg has certainly made restitution to Ellie, her most obvious "victim", but I wonder if she could somehow make it plain to her class that she really does recognise and regret how horrid she has been to most of them over the years. At that age they will not all have the patience or the insight to wait to see if her behaviour has really changed - they need to have it articulated. A tall order, I know . . . but you get me so involved sometimes, Mary!
So much more here - Ellie's recognition of her anger problems, Nancy's uncertainty, Vivien's excellent handling of the situation despite her later doubts - but I suspect I've said enough. Thank you, as ever, Mary.
Author's Response: Oh, Anne, as always, you've written such a thoughtful review, for which many thanks. The Victim Awareness course sounds very worthwhile, so thanks for mentioning it. I read a book recently on Restorative Justice in the Sates where the victim gets to meet the perpetrator, and that too brings home to them the effect of their crime. But in fact Meg did apologise to more than half the form in Hilda's literature lesson, before she went away. I quote: May I….?” Meg’s throat seized up. Hilda smiled her encouragement and Meg tried again. She looked round apprehensively. “I….I just wanted to say…. I don’t deserve all that you and Miss Annersley have done for me today. To say such nice things….. and stand up for me….I’m just so sorry for…. ” Tears threatened. She bit her lip hard to force them back. “I can’t promise not to be horrid ever again, but I will try to be nicer. That so many of you have had awful things happen m..m..makes me see just how s…s…selfish I’ve been…” I was ahead of you in the fact that, when she can speak without weeping, she may find the courage to apologise to all of them.
Date: 24 Mar 2017 1:11 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Oh dear, where did that come from? I think I can understand though. Ellie has so recently come into Hilda's life and has roused a mothering instinct which she has never felt before even though she has given love and support to so many, many girls throughout her long teaching career. These girls have had families of their own to live and care for them, Ellie is different and once she became Hilda's ward, the live cane flooding in. How can she give this up and enter the convent., just as Ellie is beginning to flower into womanhood and may need her even more. I don't know the answer but hope that Hilda, withbMA, Ian and Ellie herself, plus the other members of their 'family' will find a way.
Thank you Mary, as always a eon derail chapter, leaving us with much to ponder and a beautiful quotation to send Hilda to sleep
Author's Response: What a beautiful review, Linda. Thank you so much! Where did Hilda's sudden confusion come from? I have no idea. She just upped and put with it as I was writing that chapter. She gave me as much of a shock as she gave herself. But to me it made perfect sense. Why would you want to voluntarily give up such closeness, with someone you know will go on needing you? Help! I have to sort this out....
Date: 24 Mar 2017 1:00 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Congratultions on your 12 years with Hilda. What a chapter you have given us. Gwyneth is still trying her best to look after Hilda but is learning she must step back even if she feels Hilda may suffer from it, How wonderful thatboth Ian and MA were there for Meg plus Ellie giving her support to ease her rejoining of her form. Ian again showing how good he is with the girls. I se that when MA was telling Hilda what happened Hilda knew which girls would accept Meg and who may be reluctant, showing Hildas knowledge of her charges.
Poor Hilda what an awful dilemma she finds herself in. On the one hand she has her miraculous recovery which she feels is to carry on with her calling and on the other her deep love for Ellie and wanting to be a mother to her. At least she has MA with her to talk things through with her.
Author's Response: Thank you for reading and reviewing, Sue. As for Hilda's dilemma, yes, it's a conundrum! All she can do is listen to MA and wait to see what God will do in this situation.
Date: 24 Mar 2017 12:29 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
I love the way that Ellie's relationship with Vivien is developing. She really will need her support when Hilda enters the convent and it seems as though Vivien will be a real help in the future. I don't wonder that Jeanne was initially somewhat overawed faced with a room full of adults who have always been in authority over her but she soon sees that they are only human and can let their hair down.
This has been a wonderful reception for Meg too, helping her to relax. I loved the trick with the cake (Where do you find your inspiration, Mary?). Loved, too, Sister Patricia's wonderful paintings, just the right gifts to express her thanks for the way that they have taken Ellie to their hearts.
As for the Hafiz poem - that was just absolutely wonderful, especially the last line which really resonated with me.
Thank you Mary
Author's Response: I'm so pleased you like the Hafiz poem, Linda. If you recall, there was another by him at the beginning of the quote book Hilda made for Meg. He writes so lyrically. As for Ellie and Vivien, they are such wonderful 'mates' aren't they? Perhaps with all these loving people Ellie may herself help Hilda with her dilemma re the choice she has to make.
Date: 22 Mar 2017 11:50 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
I'm so glad MA has turned up with Meg, and I like the insight into Ian's life that she's not had before - it's making her think a bit!
Understandable that Hilda's torn between Ellie and the convent after all Ellie's been through. But, if it's all of God, then it must resolve somehow. Maybe it's another lesson for Hilda in trusting.
Thank you Mary. This story is just wonderful.
Author's Response: Aw, Bobcat, bless you! Yep, most definitely a extra lesson for Hilda in trusting - and her trust was almost absolute until Nell died, but grief has skewered everything, and brought doubt into the equation, doubt of herself and doubt that she's hearing Him correctly.