Reviewer: Amira Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 18 Feb 2015 8:17 pm Title: Chapter 1 - Lausanne

I'm not at all sure I should be re-reading this right now. It's so very close to the bone. Vivien's gifts astound me, and I wish I were more like her. And I had forgotten how very powerful some of the quotations are. Thank you once again, Mary - what a wonderful guide on the path of grief and love this story has been.

Reviewer: MHE Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 07 Aug 2011 11:11 pm Title: Chapter 12 - End of Term

After many weeks RL has finally calmed down enough for me to catch up with the story in this volume of A New Dream.  What a packed volume it has been, with the mood swinging faultlessly from joy to despair.  As always I am in awe of your ability Mary, as you bring to life these scenes from Hilda’s journey towards her New Dream. 

I feel as if I have been really there with Hilda as she has faced these months without Nell’s comforting presence.  I’d forgotten how powerful your description of that nightmare walk of Hilda’s is – every painful step of hers was brought to life by the magic of your pen.  I still wanted to thump Jack for being so insensitive as to brush Hilda’s questions about Ian to one side. Thank goodness Mother Abbess was granted leave to fly to the Platz for her presence was sorely needed.

As for the two new scenes that you have given us here – they were wonderful.  The girls must surely have been wondering what had happened to both Hilda and Ian.  Like Elder, I too think that Mireille's 'definition' of what Hilda does was spot on.  I’m sure that Mother Abbess’ words will have left a lasting impression on both girls and mistresses.

Poor Hilda though, after all she’s been through since Nell’s death I expect that she would much rather that Christmas could be by-passed completely.  Thank goodness though that she will be in Mother Abbess’s loving care.

Thank you Mary, for painting and sharing with us such a wonderful word picture.


Reviewer: Identity Hunt Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 01 Aug 2011 10:48 am Title: Chapter 12 - End of Term

I'd forgotten about the doves !  What fun to read that section again, and experience the delight all over again!

I've never actually heard the Coventry Carol being sung, and must hunt for it on YouTube.


Thank you, Mary !

Reviewer: Identity Hunt Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 30 Jul 2011 9:10 pm Title: Chapter 11 - Letting the cat out of the bag!

I am enjoying this so very much, Mary........... many of the subtle nuances and undercurrents  are much more obvious on re-reading, and so very satisfying !

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed [Report This]
Date: 30 Jul 2011 12:36 pm Title: Chapter 12 - End of Term

Oh Mary...  That was wonderful.

Poor Hilda.  To be in such pain, and feel unable to reach out and get what help she needs.  Thank goodness for Gwynneth, and her kindness.  And how intuitive is Vivien?  Knowing that there is something wrong, then realising that Gwynneth at least would rather spend the time with Hilda without her presence, and coming up with another new way to help.  And the idea she came up with - perfection.

I'm sure that Gwynneth was irritated at first when she realised that she had come to join them, but oh the relief she feels as Vivien quietly does the job she has planned, then after pausing (and praying a blessing over Hilda?) she withdraws.  Like a ghost.  And the relief of Gwynneth at the help is almost palable.

Then the play - thank goodness that the others involved don't have Kathie's temperament!!!  It seems it has gone well for them - for all but Hilda that is.  And at least she has someone next to her, someone who she can open up to, and they can comfort her.

Thank you Mary.  That was wonderful

Reviewer: Amira Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 29 Jul 2011 10:30 pm Title: Chapter 1 - Lausanne

Another beautiful piece, Mary. Hilda's grief and pain are so raw, and the flashbacks...

But she is also surrounded by love: sturdy Gwynneth, perceptive, creative Vivien, and Joey and Biddy's reassurance during the nativity play. You have made Gwynneth so much more complex and real than she was in EBD's books, and her strength and stalwart nature come to the fore here. As for Vivien, I think she is my favourite of your characters, and Gwynneth has it spot on - Hilda's perceptiveness and Nell's love of fun are both there, and it is as if she has been sent to Hilda - what Gwynneth doesn't know, of course, is that it was Nell that nudged Hilda into offering Vivien the job. Please can - I mean may - I take Vivien home with me?

Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Jul 2011 10:07 pm Title: Chapter 12 - End of Term

Mary thank you.  Hilda's pain is so real, glad she is going to the Convent so quickly after the end of term.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Jul 2011 10:01 pm Title: Chapter 12 - End of Term

Poor, poor Hilda - her grief for Nell would be heartfelt enough without all the complications of the shooting at the convent and this latest accident and its sequelae on top of it.  It's really no wonder she is struggling so much and is  beset by nightmares and daytime flashbacks.  Thank goodness for Matey and her gentle but warming comfort, and for Vivien, too.  that display of doves and angels certainly did what was needed to soothe Hilda to sleep once the tablets Matey had given her had taken effect and I'm sure they will continue to bring comfort to Hilda whenever she looks at them.

It's often said that the first year after any death is hard on those who were the closest, especially as each 'special event' approaches.  No wonder then that Hilda was so overcome when she faced the audience to introduce the play and realised that Nell was missing from those in the front row.  Even though she might not realise it, this was a perfectly normal reaction in the circumstances.   Thank goodness she will soon be safely at the convent, and in MA's care during the holiday period.

Thank, you, Mary.

Reviewer: Lynne Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 29 Jul 2011 8:14 am Title: Chapter 11 - Letting the cat out of the bag!

Really loving reading this again. Mary, how far off are we from the entrance of Ellie? xx

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Jul 2011 1:51 am Title: Chapter 11 - Letting the cat out of the bag!

I'm very glad Jack yielded to Matey's persuasion and allowed Hilda to return to school, if only on a limited basis, for the rest of term - she will do far better being occupied as far as possible than being left to a stricter form of convalescence, with too much time to brood, something which in the long run would be much harder on her.  She will still be surrounded by caring people - Matey, Nancy, Vivien - all of whom will help her - when she will allow them to do so.

I actually went back and re-read Turning the Tables this evening.  The words which Nell wrote in the front of Le Petit Prince really sum up not just what Nell felt for Hilda but what Hilda, in her turn felt for Nell:

Your integrity, compassion and courage, your deep faith in a loving God, have inspired and challenged me over the years to be more than I once thought I could be. More than that, though, they have filled me with such love for you that, as we have grown ever closer, you no longer seem a separate person, but an expansion, an interpretation, if you like, of my own self. With God, you have become the very meaning of my soul.

Re- reading that, and indeed so many parts of that story reminded me just how much these two were truly two halves of the same whole and it's no surprise that Hilda's grief here in ND is so gut-wrenching. 

Then, as now, Hilda truly has no concept of just how much she hides who she really is, to quote Mother Abbess.  MA herself was entirely right to make sure the girls and staff fully understood just how heroic Hilda's actions have been both at the convent and following the accident, and to remind them of Nell's own heroism, too.

In Mother Abbess' own words:

"You’re a brilliant leader, Hilda, and a true heroine, but the girls can’t learn as much as they should from you if they don’t know what you are capable of.”

I must say I loved Hilda's final retort, though:

“I do wish you and Nell would stop ganging up on me.”

Thank you, Mary.


Reviewer: PaulineS Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 29 Jul 2011 12:07 am Title: Chapter 11 - Letting the cat out of the bag!

Hilda not only is Nell and MA ganging up on you so are Nancy, Gwynneth and Vivian!  Thank you Mary

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 28 Jul 2011 11:56 pm Title: Chapter 11 - Letting the cat out of the bag!

*laughs* I love that last line Mary. And so many of the rest as well. These two scenes have slotted in perfectly with the rest of the story, so that it seems they've been there all the time.

I love the way that Vivien is able to straighten Hilda out over the course of her chat, even as she horrifies her at the same time... The way she boldly calls Hilda a Ninny is brilliant - and the fact that Hilda chooses that line to pass on to MA.

Poor Hilda though - the chat she had with Vivien must have such an impact on her her future plans. She needs to feel that the school doesn't depend on her, for she doesn't want to watch it falling apart - and Nancy, Kathie, Vivien herself, and all the rest of the staff will have to step up to the mark to stop it from doing so!

Thank you Mary - that was a wonderful addition. :)

Reviewer: abbeybufo Signed starstarstarstarhalf-star [Report This]
Date: 28 Jul 2011 11:54 pm Title: Chapter 11 - Letting the cat out of the bag!

Having - finally! - worked out how to get notified of updates on here, I've been enjoying reading all this again ... and loving the new bits! Thank you Mary

Reviewer: Luisa Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 27 Jul 2011 2:13 pm Title: Chapter 10 - Shepherds of their little flocks.

What a lovely addition to the story. The girls won't forget the "other" Abbess in a hurry.

....story of an Anglican vocation to mirror Margot's, anyone?


Reviewer: Seven Signed [Report This]
Date: 26 Jul 2011 11:45 pm Title: Chapter 1 - Lausanne

I love MA's appearance in Assembly.  However, Hilda is going to cringe inside when she discovers exactly how much MA has told the girls about that terrible walk.   I hope MA has learned how to duck!

Reviewer: Celia Signed [Report This]
Date: 26 Jul 2011 11:32 pm Title: Chapter 10 - Shepherds of their little flocks.

The new section is just exactly how I thought MA would be with the girls. I bet Hilda will not be happy when she finds out though ! Mireille's response is appropriate and thoughtful...I have to remember that she is not yet Headgirl.
Hilda is obviously bereft when MA leaves, but knows they will meet again soon, which will speed her recovery.
Some lovely quotes in this chapter.
Thank you Mary.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 26 Jul 2011 10:18 pm Title: Chapter 10 - Shepherds of their little flocks.

 I am glad to see that Hilda continues to improve physically. She will certainly miss MA, and their leavetaking is inevitably sad, but she knows that she must return to the Convent.  Meantime her relationship with Ian has been firmly re-established on its initial footing - I'm really glad that Ian has taken his twin's words to heart and been able to accept this, because there is now so much more that he can do to help Hilda. 

I really liked the new section, and enjoyed watching the effect MA had on girls and staff alike as she spoke to them of both Hilda and Nell.  She will certainly have left a lasting impression on them!  Mireille's 'definition' of what Hilda does was so very accurate, too.  

Thank you, Mary.


Reviewer: PaulineS Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 26 Jul 2011 9:40 pm Title: Chapter 10 - Shepherds of their little flocks.

Your two Headmistresses must have made God smile a very great deal. God doesn’t care if you succeed or fail, girls. All that He asks is that you take your courage in both hands and try! As they did!


Mary that sums up Hilda and Nell well.  Thank you for for the new section.  A pity that MA could not meet Kathy.

Reviewer: Identity Hunt Signed [Report This]
Date: 26 Jul 2011 9:02 pm Title: Chapter 10 - Shepherds of their little flocks.


What sheer delight to find a new piece inserted to this wonderful story !

Doing a Happy Dance :-)

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 26 Jul 2011 8:56 pm Title: Chapter 10 - Shepherds of their little flocks.

Oh Poor Hilda. To have to say 'goodbye' to someone who has sat through so much of your pain with you, who has held you and consoled you, and now you've got to let them go, and pretend to be strong enough to do it on your own...

I loved the insert. MA had me enthralled by her words as much as the people in her audience, and I'm sure that none of the girls will ever forget it. How will Hilda feel when she hears about it though!!! I'm sure everyone concerned will treasure that visit. Well done Mirelle for coming up with that wonderful answer...

I'm also so relieved at the way Hilda has recovered. Thank goodness those feet are practically back to normal, and that the head is so much improved. No, it's not perfect, and is quite a long way off that, but the progress is astonishing - and, indeed, miraculous all round.

Thank you Mary

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 26 Jul 2011 4:27 pm Title: Chapter 9 - The gossamer veil

'A magic wand? No, thought the nun, no magic wand, no fairy dust, just heavenly balm in the hands of a belovèd woman, a woman who was showing that, in her, was found a love that is stronger than death."

What a wonderful tribute to the relationship between Hilda and Nell, and how strong an image for Hilda to carry with her in her journey through her grief.  I do hope that MA will be able to reiterate the gist of it to her again and again; it will do so much to sustain her, even in her darkest moments.

And the improvement in Hilda's condition after that long sleep and her vivid dream of Nell's presence is little short of miraculous.  Not simply in the physical improvement in both head and feet, but the sense of serenity that that dream presence has brought to Hilda, and which MA can sense so clearly.  

Although I know Hilda is by no means out of the woods yet, both in healing from these latest injuries and in her grief journey, there is a great sense of peace pervading this section - it reminds me of the last movement of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony depicting the calm after the storm.  Thank you, Mary.


Reviewer: Celia Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Jul 2011 10:43 pm Title: Chapter 9 - The gossamer veil

It may be a shorter chapter than some Mary, but it is another beautiful piece of writing. God through Nell has indeed worked miracles for Hilda. Her head, feet, temperature all are so improved that she is able to delight in the decorations designed for her by her earthly friends. The Thornton Wilder quote sums up the situation perfectly for us as it does for MA.
Thank you.

Reviewer: Squirrel Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 25 Jul 2011 8:30 pm Title: Chapter 9 - The gossamer veil

Oh Mary... This post is a balm in itself. A balm to the heart and the soul. That a dream could do so much!

OK, hilda is heart broken once again when she awakes, because she longs to be with Nell. Well done Kate for realising exactly what the problem was, and not feeling upset at the fact the sight of her upsets Hilda - she knows that anyone would have got that reaction, anyone but Nell.

The discussion the two of them have is wonderful, and the way that Hilda immediately knows just who is responsible for the artwork she sees in front of her. I'm glad that MA is able to tell her that many hands made the joy possible, and that it is a testament to those who love her.

Helen Graves hopes that Vivien will be persuaded to reproduce this work for the other inhabitants of the San is wonderful too...

And that dream... Its wonder defies description, and the amazement it brings with the easing of that headache and the healing wrought on her feet is just lovely. How perfect an ending. Everything felt hopeless, and there was no light, now this amazing, wonderful healing has taken place and there is hope for the future, despite the hard times which wait in the future...

Thank you Mary, that was just brilliant.

Reviewer: Celia Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Jul 2011 5:07 pm Title: Chapter 1 - Lausanne

Well your chapter headings really hit the nail on its head Mary!
MA certainly did have her work cut out,
and in this part we see a measure of peace come to Hilda and Ian,and the
sterile hospital room become a place of beauty.
I found last night's piece deeply moving, so it was good today to see that sleep is beginning to restore
Hilda, whilst MA has met, in the flesh,
some of those she has only heard about before. Thank you Mary,your descriptive powers make me see each scene so clearly.

Reviewer: Amira Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 24 Jul 2011 11:59 pm Title: Chapter 1 - Lausanne

I love these origami scenes, I can imagine them so vividly, the way you have written them. I can almost reach out and stroke the polar bears (much as another of your characters wants to do on seeing the photographs, later in the story, if I remember correctly and if it's okay to say as much as that without spoiling the story). Could I have a Vivien to take home with me, please?

I was also touched by the way that Mother Abbess's anger melted away the moment she saw her brother, and that she knew that she had to help him to forgive himself. Our own guilt and self-hatred can be far more corrosive than others' anger, especially for someone like Ian who is acutely aware of his own struggles. Compassion is what is needed here, and Mother Abbess was able to provide that.

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