Date: 23 Feb 2018 10:46 am Title: Chapter 36 - A Visible Grieving of The Heart
Loved this chapter. Ellie is such a sympathetic character and every word she says is beautiful and thoughtful. Your preparation for the conversation Hilda must have with Meg is brilliant - we already know how she may react and are prepared for how she will be handled in Hilda's inimitable style. Considering how much you are suffering yourself, Mary, you have done a magnificent job!
Author's Response: Don't compliment me too much, Jenny. It will go to my head! *grins* I do have long periods when all I can do is lie down, so that peaceful time gives my brain time to reflect on what the characters will get up to next, and rehearse their conversations in my head. I'm so pleased you find Ellie a sympathetic character, as I love her to bits and wonder where she came from. Yes, Hilda has already thought a great deal about that conversation with Meg, but I have a feeling MA will be left to carry a lot of it, as she was the one who met Meg's dad. And also the one who got her interested in her studies. But Hilda will have her say, never fear. She knows MA can be a bit off-putting sometimes. Thank you for your loving thoughts, Jenny.
Date: 21 Feb 2018 10:12 pm Title: Chapter 36 - A Visible Grieving of The Heart
Love the way Ellie is getting to know Kate better, especially as she needs someone else, Hilda may be too tired after talking to Meg to have much time for Ellie. It's not long till the Boston trip, she does need to rest and build up her strength for that. I do wonder if it is wise for her to go with just Ellie as support, just thinking who might go with them but not sure who would be able to take the time. Maybe Gwynneth? A few days away would be good for her.
Author's Response: I love how you're worrying about Hilda and the Boston trip, ivohenry! She's not real, you know! *grins in sympathy* But that makes me feel my characters come across as real and not just caricatures, which is a great compliment, bless you. She knows she can't really drag anyone else across there - or, indeed, afford to pay for their ticket - so did promise that she'd take care, as she was determined to go. I have a feeling she will have rallied by then - but I don't know, since they keep things secret from me till it's time. Tank you so much for reading and reviewing. I keep you busy!!
Date: 20 Feb 2018 12:06 am Title: Chapter 36 - A Visible Grieving of The Heart
Ellie is growing and developing before our eyes. She quickly grasps the extent of the jealousy felt by Meg's mother and her anger on Meg's behalf is tangible as is her disgust at the cowardice shown by Meg's father which has lead to him denying his love for amen the whole of her life. Ellie is desperate to know how she can help Meg but there is great wisdom in her realisation that she would betray her feelings to Meg before Hilda and MA are able to break the news of Meg's father's pending arrival. Hilda's solution is a really good idea.
I do love the way Ellie is blooming safe in the knowledge that she is now loved by so many people.
Thank you Mary.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for responding, Linda. It really cheered me up after a dreadful hospital visit this morning. She is blooming, isn't she, bless her? And has so much understanding of how Meg will feel, having had a coward of her own for a father. I have to confess that even I am impressed by Ellie, as I have no idea where her character is going. It's all wrapped in mystery. *grins*
Date: 17 Feb 2018 9:28 pm Title: Chapter 36 - A Visible Grieving of The Heart
Ellie is lucky to have those two very strong women in her life showing her how to live life with compassion for others. She has Vivien, Matey and Ian too to help her. Jealousy is such a destructive emotion but Ellie does not seem to have this emotion. Her empathy for Meg has now dissipated the initial anger she felt for her. I wonder what would have happened to her if she had not met Hilda? She would not have behaved as Meg but would have kept her feelings to herself and become frozen over time.
Author's Response: I agree entirely with the last statement about Ellie, Seven. But Ellie did become very jealous in the convent when Hilda first met her, when Hilda was so worried about Mireille. It took the wisdom of MA and Vivien to calm her down while Hilda was otherwise engaged - and then Hilda spent quite some time discussing jealousy with her. It seems to me that very few of us escape this failing at some point in our lives. Asa you say, Ellei has any number of wise women - and Ian - helping her. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing.
Date: 15 Feb 2018 9:28 am Title: Chapter 36 - A Visible Grieving of The Heart
Author's Response: Thank you, Sarah.
Date: 14 Feb 2018 2:12 am Title: Chapter 36 - A Visible Grieving of The Heart
"Funny, thoughtful, generous," - Ellie is certainly all of these things, but she is also mercurial, uncertain, and quick to show anger or hurt. In some ways, she's a typical teenager, half child, half woman, but she has experienced far more sorrow and hurt in her sixteen years than so many others have done. Hilda's coming into her life and the unfailing love each shows for the other is doing so much to rebuild her confidence, but even with all her new found family, Ellie remains vulnerable, as we see here.
How much more surprising then, that she has found it in herself to extend such a sincere and loving hand of friendship to Meg - and is prepared to do even more now that she knows the full story of Meg's life until now. And yet, in a way it's not so surprising -we've already had so many examples of how deeply Ellie can think and reason things out, but it is exceptional. MA was so right to put the true facts before her, (and I think that at heart, Hilda was very grateful that she had indeed done so) but I think even she was amazed at how quickly Ellie put aside her very natural spurt of anger,at the situation. While recognizing that at 16 she is still a child in so many ways, both MA and Hilda have put their trust in her here as if she was an adult, and responded to her reactions with the love and reassurance she so badly needed. I love their plan for keeping her and Meg apart until after the latter's talk with MA and Hilda, too - and that Ellie is so self-aware that she knows she wouldn't be able to hide the fact there was something wrong if she did encounter Meg earlier.
An extremely loving and tender episode, but filled with poignancy as Ellie struggles to accept the changes coming to Meg, even as she herself continues to struggle with her grief for her own losses. And yet at the same time, her quiet faith, as she assures MA why she is so sure Hilda will get better shows a maturity which both stunned MA and reinforced what Ian had said about her own momentary 'crise de confiance' only a short time earlier. Everything in this chapter can only serve to reinforce the love between MA and Ellie, both for herself, and for the joy she has brought into Hilda's life, a love which I'm sure will only deepen as the months and years go by,
Thank you, Mary - and apologies for yet another essay.
Author's Response: You're so right, Elder. Ellie is indeed a typical teenager in that she's up and down very quickly, and indeed her emotions seem to be stronger within her than most of us - the result of her very unhappy childhood, perhaps? Just as the latter has, as you say, left her very vulnerable, but she's highly intelligent and very willing to listen to those who care for her, which has proved a real saving grace. Love redeems us all, doesn't it, if we let it? Who knows how all this will pan out for Ellie - or indeed for Meg. I certainly don't!! *grins* Their future is shrouded in mystery, even from this puzzled, unworthy teller of their tales.
Date: 11 Feb 2018 11:15 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
Lovely insight into the twins developing relationship, Mary, and to see MA quite undone...I hadn't expected such a crisis of faith from that direction at all, but on reflection very realistic. Thank you, Mary.
Author's Response: Thank you, Blueskye, but we all have our breaking points, even the strongest and wisest.
Date: 07 Feb 2018 7:07 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
It's wonderful to hear Ian and MA open up to each other completely. They are so much more in tune since Hilda appeared in their lives and they both love her so much. That love will allow them both to support her and to help each other. They are going to need all the help they can give each other where Hilda is concerned!
Author's Response: Thank you, Seven. I think between them they will help not just Hilda, but the twins and Meg and even Ellie, for flawed as they bother are, they have so much experience of life, and love each other enough to be totally open and honest and each of them allows their wounds to be healed by the other.
Date: 05 Feb 2018 3:13 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
This opportunity to eavesdrop on Kate and Ian's conversation was absolutely wonderful. They both care for Hilda (and Ellie's) so deeply in their own different ways but Hilda has helped them both to a deeper faith and greater understanding about the tragedies which they have suffered in the past. It was really lovely to see how much they car for each other too and I am sure that their ties will only deepen when Ian takes up his new role in Norfolk.
Thank you for the Winnie the Pooh quote, too, Mary. It is a favourite of mine for various reasons, but really describes the way Hilda wants Ellie to feel when the time comes for her to enter the convent.
Thanks again, Mary, for this very powerful chapter.
Author's Response: Thanks so much, Linda! Calling it a powerful chapter has reassured me somewhat. I know what ou mean about seeing how much they care for each other, because we rarely see them together, so don't really know how they interact. Um, did you mean to post this twice? *grins*
Date: 05 Feb 2018 12:41 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
That was very revealing and lovely moving insight into the relationship between MA and her twin. Thank you, Mary, and I am pleased that they both had so much to say!
Author's Response: Oh, they did, shesings, egged on by Kate, as you can well imagine! The blinking woman wouldn't go away! But I can see she wanted me to show more about them both, individually and as family, the latter being something we haven't really seen. Thank you so much.
Date: 05 Feb 2018 12:05 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
This, more than anything before, has really shown how much Ellie ahs changed in such a short time. Her relationship with Ian is beautiful and so relaxed and loving - just as that with a grandfather should be in all ways as Ian's not afraid of letting Ellie know if he feels she's wrong about something as well as showing his love. Their companionship, laughter and ease is wonderful.
It's the altered relationship with MA that stands out for the changes though, no longer is Ellie afraid or uncomfortable but is treating MA as a human being rather than an Abbess. The teasing, gentle explanations and easy confiding of thoughts and feelings show that Ellie has accepted MA in her life as a friend now, also as someone else who really cares about Hilda.
Ian's strength and self confidence has also grown so much that he is able to take MA to task and bring her to a more level place where her feelings are concerned. Her love for Hilda has become uppermost which, whilst helping to heal her own hurts, is also causing resentment against those needing Hilda's help. The very fact that he reminded MA that there was at least one being who loved Hilda more than she did says so much. I hope that Ian is able to continue helping his sister to accept Hilda as she is, his point about her taking over from Gwynneth was so clear sighted as was his comment that she's not fully in the loop where the school and it's inhabitants are concerned. Ian can see far better than MA for once as he knows all the people there so well and can see that yes, they are taking from Hilda's strength but others are also offering theirs to Hilda.
I'm starting to wonder whether maybe Patricia would be better for Kathie at the convent though. Kathie needs toughness and firmness, she needs to be shown just how wrong she has been and how to move on but she doesn't need it to be tinged with the resentment that MA has shown or with an edge that Hilda is so ill because of her behaviour. Patricia did wonders with Meg, who had also hurt Ellie so would be in a good place to help heal Kathie with MA coming in a bit later perhaps.
I love the way that Ian and MA are getting to know each other all over again is coming through, they have had so little time together that the changes in Ian must seem astounding and possibly hard to believe. I'm sure they will be able to help Marie and Emilie by using their own characters as examples.
Also very pleased at the mention of Peter and Jake - fingers crossed they decide to pay a visit soon.
Again I seem to have written an essay rather than a review!
Author's Response: Yes, indeed, Clair, Ellie is becoming what she clearly once was, before her grandparents died and she was left all alone with a father who couldn't bear to be near her. The love and acceptance bestowed on her by Hilda and Ian and many others has allowed her to relax, and show her true colours. How could a father not love such a girl? Patricia is already in Mother's mind for Kathie, alongside herself, simply because Kathie was the one who hurt her niece, and hopefully her forgiveness will make Kathie think, as it did Meg. I see now why Mother insisted on this being about them, as she wanted to reveal even more of herself, as she did with her life story, showing how her rather bombastic nature found, and still finds problems as something to fight against rather than accept. She's as human as the rest of us, and questions God, as we all do in extremis. But Ian has been a true blessing for her this morning, revealing more of himself into the bargain, and she knew she could be herself with him and not be judged. Does Ian ever judge anyone? They have seen each other now and then, and written, and he does say that she was one of those who tried to put him back together, and Mother did tell Hilda that Ian came out to France to see her, bringing that letter from the murderer.Sorry, Clair, I seem to have responded with another essay!
Date: 04 Feb 2018 3:10 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
I'm so glad MA got her own way when you were writing, Mary! It was fascinating to see the changing dynamics between her and Ian. He is one of the very few people (perhaps the only one?) she can really let go with, particularly now that he is so much stronger and more rock-like in himself. MA needs someone to whom she can express all her doubts and fears, and who better than her twin brother?
Author's Response: Indeed, Anne! She's told Hilda her story, so that was some exposing of herself and her faults, but it's only with our families that we truly reveal ourselves, because they know all anyway, and can't be hoodwinked! And how good he was with her, refusing to let her get away with blaming God and thinking Hilda had no support. I did feel, though, it was brilliant of her to insist on my showing show that she's not perfect, anymore than Hilda is. We all crumble at times. Thank you for your thoughts.
Date: 03 Feb 2018 11:15 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
That scene with Kate and Ian was worth waiting for, great to see them together, lots of insights there into both their characters, and a delight to read,
Yhank you, Mary!
Author's Response: Aw, bless you ivohnery! I'm glad you feel that, as it reassures me it wasn't too boring. *grins* As you say, we've never seen much of them together, except near the beginning when she gets very angry with him. She really wanted us to know them as family, didn't she, warts and all!
Date: 03 Feb 2018 7:44 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
Ah, I love this chapter. How nice to see Kate and Ian together. We've learnt so much about them through ND so far, but they've been in different countries, and not had much chance to be brother and sister to each other.
How much Ian has changed through knowing Hilda - he's wiser than MA when it comes to 'school Hilda' because he knows what she has to do as Headmistress, and the high standards she has for herself. MA primarily knows 'daughter Hilda' who reveals her hurting side at the convent, and so MA (understandbly) wants to wrap Hilda in cotton wool and hide her away until she's strong enough to cope, but that's not how Hilda works, and Ian knows it.
I also love that we're seeing the side of MA that is full of fear for Hilda, and doubt in and rage at God for not giving Hilda a break. Nuns are just as flawed as the rest of us!
Hopefully together they can supoprt Hilda in the best way - and when Hilda goes to the convent and Ian to the parish, they're going to be a combined force to be reckoned with.
Thank you Mary.
Author's Response: Oh, indeed, Bobcat, and MA would be the first to admit that nuns are just like the rest of we human beings with all our flaws and gifts, and, when our loved ones are hurt, we let fly. She clearly decided it was about time we saw her in the raw, so to speak. Obviously, they have been in touch over the years and occasionally seen each other, as when Ian appeared the first time Hilda was at the convent, but they never really have time just to be family. I love how you've identified each of them knowing only one side of Hilda: school Hilda and daughter Hilda, and Ian is trying so hard to get her to accept the school Hilda who's in charge and so has to do more than others. He's very gentle at making people see things for themselves, whereas Mother tends to batter them into submission - as she battered Ian as a child. *grins* Thank you for your interesting views.
Date: 03 Feb 2018 10:49 am Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
They have grown so much, but they don’t realise it! Thank you Mary.
Author's Response: They don't, do they. Sarah? But, you know what, I hadn't realised that till you pointed it out. Neither of them really see themselves as making huge progress, do they? They only see their mistakes - much like the rest of us, really! Thank you so much.
Date: 02 Feb 2018 7:56 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
It took me back to see the quotation from Jim Elliot's book. Ian's description of Jesus as Hilda's captain is very appropriate
MA is very good at supporting Ellie and understanding of the conflict s under the surface of the School. Hope Meg is willing to at least see her father?
Author's Response: Glad someone knows the book, Pauline. I've read all the books about his work, and about his killing by the Indians. The one by his wife is very moving, if you haven't read it. As for Meg, fingers crossed.
Date: 02 Feb 2018 5:59 pm Title: Chapter 35 - The Twins Open Up Their Hearts
I love the teasing exchanges between Ian, MA and Ellie - especially the linguistic ones. But if Ellie does produce that promised list both of words and with a reminder of the 24-hour clock times which MA also finds so confusing, I'm sure it will help. Ian's concern that Hilda is still trying to do too much is tempered a little when the other two point out the need for her involvement with the twins' predicament - Ellie's observations about Sylvie's attitudes show an understanding rare in a girl her age. I have no doubt that both the dinner party and tomorrow's lunch will happen and that MA will take care to keep each to the promised time frame.
MA's own 'crise de confiance' is such a testimony to her love for Hilda, both as a friend and as a mother. However strong she is being in order to support Hilda, she is clearly terrified about how the latter will fare, full of dread that the worst could still happen and of the effect that would have not only on herself, but even more on Ellie. I fully understand her questioning of God, and am glad that Ian is able in the end to reassure her that He really does know what he is about, and that Hilda will respoind to His commands - and that MA herself is here almost at His command, in order to see that Hilda can obey Him, and undertake the tasks he needs her to, without completely overdoing things and relapsing.
It's a joy to see the interaction between MA and Ian too, and how they each find ways to boost the other's confidence. I sense that this is the first really intensive conversation they have had with each other in many, many years, certainyl this is the first time Ian has admitted to MA how much what he saw in the Camps had affected him. I foresee many lively and deeper encounters between them in the future. Their vocations have truly grown wider and deeper since they have been blessed to know Hilda and Ellie; truly Kate has 'gained a daughter,' and Ian, a granddaughter.
I'm sure this interlude will have left both of them strengthened to continue with the rest of their day, and that MA is now ready to deal both with Ellie's inevitable sadness when she has to leave her guardian again, and to support Hilda herself as they tell Meg about her father's wish to now become a part of her life.
Thank you, Mary.
Author's Response: Thanks for all your thoughts, Elder, and yes, Mother's outburst was all about her love for Hilda, and Ian does well to remind her that God is not really at fault here. It is good to see them together, though it has happened before in ND when Hilda first went to the convent Obviously they have met now and then, and indeed written to each other, and Ian does say that Mother was among those who tried to put him back together after the war, so she must have known about the camp. I think she has anointed Ian, in showing him his worth, which even now he refuses to believe, and he's shown her just what Hilda has done for both of them and how lucky they've been in their lives, compared to girls like Meg and Ellie. I'm so pleased MA insisted on revealing herself with all her flaws.
Date: 01 Feb 2018 12:45 am Title: Chapter 34 - Broken Fragments
“‘The heart of a mother is a deep abyss, at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.’”A lovely quote,assuring Ellie that she does have a mother in Hilda and followed by MA telling her that Hilda loved her from the moment they met. No wonder Ellie's face wore a smile of pure bliss.
MA is certainly not relaxing whilst Hilda sleeps.Talking to so many people, both adults and girls, calming and reassuring in her own particular way. Then having time for fun with Ian and the girls in the sixth.
Thank you Mary for another enjoyable chapter.
Date: 28 Jan 2018 11:48 pm Title: Chapter 34 - Broken Fragments
Another amazing chapter, Mary and well worth waiting for. I love the way MA manages to just hit the right note in her interactions with everyone. She's helping Nancy to understand that she can successfully follow in Hilda's footsteps by just being herself but continuing to learn by watching Hilda's example whilst she is still in school.
Helen has really developed as a character in ND. She's long been there in the background but has been such a strong support to Hilda since she ended up in the San after Nell's death. I look forward to more from this quarter when she comes over at lunchtime.
MA took a very different approach to Gwynneth, helping her to see what n impotantrtanr role she has in the Hilda, Ellie, Ian, Sister Patricia and Vivien family. I love the idea of Matey as Ellie's grandmother.
Rosalie, is so similar in many ways to Helen, always there in the background, an ever present support to Hilda for so many years. She will truly miss Hilda when she enters the convent and I loved the way that MA recognised this and was keen to reassure her that she will still be able to keep in touch.
A fun interlude with MA , Ian and the Sixth then Meg and Ellie were both boosted by MA taking time to talk through the vents in the form room overheard by Ruth Derwent. Meg is blossoming so well, I just hope that the news abut her father can be broken to her in such a way that it does not undo all the good her visit to the convent ha done.
Thank you Mary, I will wait patiently for the next instalment.
Date: 26 Jan 2018 9:57 pm Title: Chapter 34 - Broken Fragments
Thank you for another lovely chapter, Mary. MA is certainly working her magic wherever she goes - lets hope Kathie isn't too scared to talk to her.
I loved the previous chapter with MA and Nancy; Nancy depsperately needed someone to talk to about Hilda and Kathie, and MA seems to understand where others can't always, because they're IN the situation.
Date: 26 Jan 2018 2:54 pm Title: Chapter 34 - Broken Fragments
Wow! This took me 3 sittings to finish - thank you, Mary, good to see it back. MA is in fine form, covering all the bases in a very Hilda-esque manner and our characters are coming along beautifully, Meg and Elllie especially.
Hope things are improving on the health-front x
Date: 26 Jan 2018 12:00 pm Title: Chapter 34 - Broken Fragments
It's good to see Nancy feeling happier and finally starting to accept that being herself will be more than good enough when the time comes. Although she thinks she needs MA to get her through Nancy is more than capable if she can just believe it - it's the personal side with Kathie where Nancy will need most help as she moves forward.
Helen is wonderful, she's fun, kind and thoughtful and is one of those quiet friends who will see a need and do all she can to help without any thought for receiving anything back. That's what Hilda will prefer right now, even though Jack has changed he still has a way to go before being restful as well as caring.
MA is so perceptive realising that Gwynneth will fare better with honesty, toughness and some reassurance rather than the lighter manner previously adopted. I hope that Gwynneth is able to accept that what's done is done, move on and be part of that very real family that wants her to be part of it.
Rosalie's another Helen, always there in the background yet never in the limelight. She really is going to struggle without Hilda, it would be good if she and Nancy were able to work together more closely from now onwards so that the transition is more one of Hilda slipping away than Nancy taking over for Rosalie. Her sense of humour should help as well as her own caring nature. Her ideas about Kathie being outshone by Vivien came from her heart and were more open than when deliberately thinking about Kathie later on so maybe that relationship can heal and become better with time, if Rosalie gives it a chance.
Whilst Vivien doesn't dominate deliberately I can see that she could easily overshadow others, Kathie was already jealous and then to see someone new in the place she was used to amongst longterm friends and colleagues would only have made that feeling worse. Kathie's immaturity would only allow resentment rather than friendship there.
Meg will come through now, I just hope the news about her Father doesn't throw her off course. I'm sure that both Ellie and Jeanne will help her, whatever her feelings prove to be on the subject. As for Ellie she has changed so much in many ways and yet not in the ways that matter as all the love and compassion must have been there originally for Hilda to have drawn them out and built on them. Ellie has let go of her pain, fear, resentment and hurt and turned to the better qualities she has been shown inside herself and that will help her through her darkest fears and the days to come when Hilda enters.
MA is pulling the strings here but the others are all proving their own worth and moving forwards by allowing her into their hearts and minds.
Thank you Mary, I'm sorry life is hard for you and hope it gets better soon and will be waiting patiently for the next chapter, whenever it appears.
Date: 25 Jan 2018 4:41 pm Title: Chapter 1: - And Light Is A Way
MA is doing a wonderful job bolstering Nancy, Matey and Rosalie. I also like her reassurance for Meg and Ellie. I hope Kathie will accept her help later. I just hope Hilda is going to be obedient to MA and realise she needs to rest and certainly after nearly dying, and especially if she wants to visit Tessa.
A wonderful update, Mary.