Reviews for All Is Mended
oz diva chapter 30 . 11/20
I was so happy when I finished this chapter. Sheffield and family are lovely but I thought it was time for Una to forge her own life away from Carl and Li. It's not like they're less important or that she loves them less, but she has spent years of her life trying to reunite them to her own detriment in some regard.

Now she has her own family, Robin & Martin need some stability. And that last line says it all, Singapore is home and the place where she can really be herself with her man and her daughter. It's the place where she matured and which she knows better than anywhere. Good luck navigating this vibrant city, Una. You'll do it, and your supportive community proud.
oz diva chapter 29 . 11/20
The old rule is a brilliant one, that's all I have to say about it and I think I might even have to adopt it.

Sheffield is an intriguing thought. I never really imagined Carl anywhere but Singapore, but hell why not? They have bugs there too, though I admit I worry a little how Li and Iris will be received, not to mention the climate.

It's a conundrum for Una of course. She's spent years searching for her family, to reunite them and the thought of having done all that for them to be parted, or leave Singapore must be a strange one. In a way, it reminds me of her camp dreams of going home (to Canada). You can fervently wish for something only for it to go tits up when reality hits. Because life does have a habit of moving on. People are unpredictable beasts.

So, I'll be interested to see what decision Una (and Martin) make in this scenario.
oz diva chapter 28 . 11/20
Carl's conscience getting the better of him makes sense, but even more so does Una's response. He did it to survive and though the British officials might have reacted differently, I put it to anyone to be that brave or foolhardy under the circumstances. Those who did often wound up dead, so we never heard their stories anyway. Anyway I was pleased Una & Li put his mind to rest. He's there, he found them, it's over.

The reunions are delightful and we see everyone putting two and two together, and although at times they come up with five, everything's getting sorted out in this delightfully cheerful chapter.
kslchen chapter 30 . 11/17
Much as I wail at the unfairness of making Una chose, I can't deny that this is exactly the ending I advocated for many months ago and of course, it turns out to be just the right ending in your hands. Would it have been easier for everyone to happily settle in Singapore? Without a doubt. After investing to much to get everyone gathered together again, it would also have been what Una hoped for and envisioned - and who could blame her for that? Yet, for all that, this feels more realistic. Because lives change and to a certain extent, people do to, and that's alright. It might not be easy, but as long as it's right, that's ever so much better, and this chapter does an excellent job of showing us that it is, indeed, perfectly alright.

I'm glad that Una, Robin and we get to accompany Carl, Li and Iris to Sheffiled to make sure that they're happy and well-settled. It takes the sting out of their departure a bit, to know that they're in a place that leaves them content. Of course, there's no knowing how long they end up staying there and whether a few years down the road, a return to Singapore or Canada or even further travels to another place altogether are in the cards, but for now, it's okay. No guavas and no front yard, certainly, but I imagine that Carl, especially, needed time elsewhere to recuperate from the memories he made in war-torn Singapore. In fact, in that respect, I imagine he's a bit like Jerry who also needed to go to a place that calms him to move forward?

Despite the lack of guavas and front yards, there's still enough to tie Sheffield to Singapore, improbable as it might sound at first. There are the jade bowls to be a counterpart to the red and gold ones that Una kept safe for so long. There's Una's piano music and there's Una and Li understanding each other without words, just like in the old times. More than that though, there's Carl, again, bringing pets home and I feel that this, more than anything is a sign he's healing okay. The others adopted them later on, but those animals were family to him first and foremost, so Gladys truly signifies a chance to start anew.

Naturally, Solace grooming Gladys evokes memories of Nenni and Papatee in a bittersweet yet lovely way. It feels both like coming full circle and like a sign that they're finally able to start on the next phase in their lives. It's not the same as it was before, but it's good the way it is now. I also like the mirror of the pets acquired in Sheffield and those populating Trinity House now. Pets with big personalities were as much a part of its spirit as the people living in it were and it feels right to have it overtaken by animals again. There's Harry the Immortal Vampire Lizard, obviously, and there needs to be a cat and the otters, obviously, delight me. Mainly, there's Kiki causing as much mayhem as Puck used to do and while living Puck would certainly have thrown a never-ending supply of peanuts at her, I have a feeling Spirit Puck approves of her as a fellow guardian to this house.

I say "house" when I should have said "home". It's the perfect ending to this story (just like the quote is the perfect beginning to this chapter), because in many ways, Una has been trying to reclaim *home* since the very first chapter. She wasn't unhappy throughout and she couldn't have envisioned quite how things would turn out, but the feeling of home has been at the heart of her quest all along. Obviously, home isn't just Trinity House, it's the people whom she loves and the animals to breathe life into it and it's tea and red-and-gold tea bowls. "Home" is a feeling, made up of so many things coming together, and it's just the right ending to this story for Una to have found it again.
Tinalouise88 chapter 30 . 11/16
It's really all finished, for these ones anyway. It's was a whirlwind, between war, and then all the searching. It was a long journey but the ending so ever so lovely.

You really through us for a loop, having them in Sheffield at first, I kept looking for Martin, but there was never a mention of him and I was so confused! Though Li and Iris settled in England with Carl is lovely, even if they don't have a front porch to sit on these days. I love that Carl got Li a new tea set, Jade is a lovely colour and I love the symbolism of the new designs.

Of course you did a whole switch a roo on us, but it is worth it. You gave us the best of both worlds, and how each choice could be, but ultimately her choice was chosen and it was the right choice for them. I love Bernice's quip about proper greetings, I am sure that if she was not there, or a sleepy teenager following her there wouldn't have been proper greeting haha.

It's a lovely evening, back in Singapore, another baby for Ian and Emily. Kiki and Robin, Cressida and Bernice, the piano. Family is always there in her heart, but this Family is the family that kept her alive and supported her in some of her darkest days. They share a bond and nothing can break that now.

oh also before I forget A Cow CArl! Really! okay, they are bloody adorable and I am sure Li is half ready to slap him silly and revel in the knowledge that he never changes and that is what she still loves about him.

Oh and Iris being thoroughly kissed, poor poor Carl, though I am not sure who would scare that gentleman more, Carl or Li...I feel like Li would lay on a lot of sweet sounding but very threatening sayings to warn him haha.
Parnokianlipstic chapter 30 . 11/15
Absolutely amazing! The Shakespeare quote glows, in its own bubble within this verse, like a pearl in sunlight. References to Puck, and Robin, like the ribbons of a silk bow that loosely flow to border this wonderful, captivatingly sweet gift, of a chapter, where the rhythm of life and the year fall into place and the families of all various chosen too.

Sheffield summer.
Carl's and Li's and Iris's home, on a summery evening, where the lilacs smell and Li draws, his surroundings come true, as always, and enjoys Una's music - all delicious, almost a banquet, Rosemary's piano! It's kind of sweet that Una handed it over to Carl and Li.
And, as in Singapore, at Trinity House, Li and Una are drinking tea, from teacups, jade green, a wonderfully captivating gesture from Carl - and they seem utterly charming, what details. And naturally, the original reds stayed at Trinity House - rightfully so.

Robin and Iris, are on their own, Robin moved from Blyton to Patricia Highsmith, I approve! And, Iris, is full of first blush of courtship, in this summer of, probably 1956-1957? Una and Li softly tease and share memories, and the radio glows, a captivating, lingering electronic version of Peggy Lee's Fever, and Iris's light amusement that she cares, or claims to care more, about the jazz Una plays, on the piano - perfectly carelessly arch.

This part was glowing, sincere happiness, and calmness, the Merediths are home, and building a new home for themselves - and of course, Carl brings a new animal to the place. And of course it's a cow. The whole scene was a lovely callback to Papatees coming, years, and years before.
Although I laughed out loud, at the name, oh Carl, Gladstoe Blue Ribbon, proper Homage to his Mother, in a way.

And then, the axis shifts, to the Singaporean tale end of Summer and to Trinity House, which literally glows with the joy of returning home. I loved that Una drives, because otherwise they'd probably end up in a ditch, no matter what Bernice says, and Bernice is still her lovably prickly self, full of strong opinions and bossiness. And Cressida, in her own way too.

And then, Ian and Emily, with toddlers, (and the newest daughter with a lovely name!) naturally Kiki swoops down on Robin. And the Tea Ceremony, with all assorted wonderful selection of music, I love Sarah Vaugh! I must point out that I loved, and thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions, the phrases and the furniture, and the light shimmering, full of little nods to what was and is, like Joan near Carl! And it's really addictive in a good way that there are still so many animals roaming around the house, rabbits, and otters in plural, and naturally cats. And Martin calmly, and efficiently, does what is necessary, in his unassuming, but practical way.

Loveable and utterly sublime!

The way Una remembers Puck is extremely moving, and that's exactly how it should be. Robin's lightness, and teasing. It's wonderful that Elise English is still, of course, present in the memories of the camp family, of course she lives in Robin too, but that nod to Fr. Sowerby was wonderful, because it gave the opportunity to create soft humor about Una and her way with all clergy.

And finally: What an incredible journey this has been narratively and emotionally for almost a decade.

And how calm and happy, but travel-weary Una is, as she sits in the probably glowing afternoon sun, where the mynas are singing, surrounded by her family, who have come to her and her heart by different routes, and Fanny Razdan's Assam blend smells, and the purring of the cat is heard, and Robin's eyes flash in the sun, and Martin may be quietly kissing Una's fingertips as the evening turns to night.
Well, that got a little too purple-prose, but I'm not sorry, because it's a Homage to this verse. And what a lovely closing sentence! As you can tell from the length of this review I adored this, almost to pieces!
Crackerjackalope chapter 30 . 11/15
It is…not a buffalo. Not by half. But close. Shaggy, animal-smelling, and if Una didn't know better…(Surely not. Surely Carl has not brought home a highland cow. Carl and the cow – cow? – come into the yard.)
It is simply who he is as a person, and I love that.

(Ten. Thirty. And there it is. A shadow leaps, gazelle-lithe from one of the gables and lands astride the cow. Solace commences washing the shaggy red ears of the animal beneath him. The cow appears unruffled. Hazily, Una registers it's not a full-grown cow. It's a calf. And Carl has befriended it. Well, naturally.)

('Yes,' says Li. 'But besides that. Who is he? How did you meet him? Why is he here?')
I just liked these bits.

And what a masterful bait and switch! I was thinking how unexpected it was, for Una to live in England, when you showed how her heart was in Singapore; the longing you wove through the whole story, for home and for family, and how that is Singapore, for Una. It was tangible; I could nearly taste it.

But it made sense, too, for her to go to England with Carl and Li? Because she spent so long searching for them, it made sense for her to want to be there too. In the Canada chapters, it was clear how disconnected Una was from everything? She loves the people there, but she didn't belong; she hadn't grown up there the way she did in Singapore. If that makes any sense.
kslchen chapter 29 . 11/12
See? You mock me, but it just seems like we can't have nice things! No polio this time around, but just when we've got everyone safe and together in one place, you go and threaten to rip them all apart again! I understand that it makes narrative sense and that it would be too easy for everyone just to stay like this forever, but after everything you put us poor readers through (nevermind the characters!), it wouldn't feel unearned for everyone just to stay together happily and live out their version of happily ever after. You must admit that there's merit to that vision!

Though with this little rant over, I can't deny that it does make narrative sense to through up the questions you do in this chapter. It would be nice and easy if they could slip into their pre-war life again, just with a significantly bigger cast of family around, but it's been years and really too many lives they lived in that time, so it's only natural that they changed. Their mutual love endured, but they're not the same people they were before and their plans and wishes changed alongside them. For Carl, probably more than for anyone else, Singapore must hold a lot of complex emotions, making Sheffield look appealing when it wasn't before.

For Una, of course, that means giving up either this place or part of her family again (or both, as it were) and I really feel her frustration with having to make that choice. She's had her fair share of hard choices and like me, she hoped they would be behind her and that from now one, things would be nice and easy, so while there's understanding there for others making choices as well, it's not making things easy for her. I think I know how she will decide, because as Martin points out, there's really only one choice for her and when it comes down to it, going with what her heart tells her is the only thing she can do.
Parnokianlipstic chapter 29 . 11/10
Oh! This is like peering into a kaleidoscope.

Colors, glowing music, Singapore nights, and Carl's surprising but not so surprising proposal. Sheffield! Traditions to be recreated, and soft satin-like evenings, and the shimmering note of music, being between chosen families, indecision a sudden tearing pain. No wonder Una is in a thoughtful mood while cooking with Bernice, I can almost see her cat-like glower and efficiency.

There are no easy decisions and Li verifies this with her own vision, as always she and Una are on the same wavelength, amid sleepless toddlers.

The conversation proves why Martin and Una belong together. He is present, and gives space, and sometimes advice that takes into account everything, even one that you wouldn't normally think of.

I loved the colors in this chapter, the shimmer of the embroidery and colors, and the sensual, vibrancy of the music mixed with the brightness of the hymns!
Alicedreamer93 chapter 29 . 11/10
This has been hauntingly beautiful, finding everyone and now having them all together. I had been catching up since the summer and it hasn't been disappointing at all. I love how Iris, and then Li are found and brought home. Then of course Carl who has been almost hiding in plain sight for so long, how he led his own resistance is wonderful in itself. Martin and Robin are wonderful together as well, I am glad that she and martin found each other and after years of dancing around each other finally got married. This feel like this is close to the end as everyone is found and now decisions of what to do next are happening. Again wonderful and beautiful.
Tinalouise88 chapter 29 . 11/9
I love Martin in this, and his voice of questioning what does she want out of all this?

No one can go back in time and make life what it was like before the war. They love each other but are different people and in different places of life. Una has Robin and Martin these days, Carl and Li and Iris are a family again and most likely are reconnecting and learning how to live with each other again once more.

It's a tough decision, but ultimately one of the heart and how Una's own heart has changed since everyone has been found and alive. There are no underlying questions or wonderings. There will always be telephone calls and letters. No matter where they are, together or apart, family is family.

Of course, it is lovely to see them all together, dancing, laughing, having nights out and dealing with crying babies. But I understand Una's wanting to not make choices like that again. Choices are hard though I do agree with Una... Iain doesn't need to learn to adventure, but I love how Martin is all for it!

Lovely chapter all around!
Tinalouise88 chapter 28 . 11/3
Oh this is all sorta lovely and homey and just cozy!

I do love Carls realization upon Una's wedding ring, but it's also bittersweet as Una flashes the war, being alone and then when she wasn't alone, it's all very 'Una' if that makes sense. But Martin was someone who came out of no-where and supported her and waited for her which is lovely and romantic! (at the same time I'm still gonna bug you for that one honeymoon story!)

But then Bernice and Cressida, Emily and Ian..and Baby Luna! I do love the name and how they came about it. It is very sweet and lovely, I do love how Iain, isn't directly related to Una, it's all by marriage but still, she is the one honoured by the baby's name. I can see it from Emily for sure of course, but all the same I am mainly rambling out of the sweetness of it.

I said before I am surprised at Martin's joke about Robin growing up, and offering to cut her off at her knees to keep her young. Yes, it is, a harmless joke and would be more so back in Canada. But for some reason in Singapore...it just seems like it could be taken in a way to throw them back into the war. I mean don't get me wrong, I love it either way but my mind just went there!

It's also bittersweet, but understandable that Trinity house isn't theirs anymore. It holds many memories, but also it's the past and while they may try to make up for the lost time. It may be best done in places that aren't haunted in my mind.
Parnokianlipstic chapter 28 . 11/3
Glowing, insightful, and so sweet, tangy happiness that it almost hurts. Music, togetherness, and acceptance, and new members of the next generation.

Are we in the year 1955?

Carl, Li and Firecracker, are together, and that smooth, automatic acceptance was so lovely that it really sparkled, there's time for deep conversations, and more harrowing tales, but not quite yet.

And campfamily! I've said many times that I love them all individually and separately, but especially both Cressida and Bernice, because their humor, and irony, and practicality resonates with this verse Una, almost like shades of Marilla Cuthbert.

The litetary musical-intertextual references are amazing, as ever! And the mynas sing in chorus, and Carl's realization that Una wasn't alone, a flash of old horror that seamlessly intertwines with the present.

And the ending, Carls request Rhapsody in Blue, all pairs dancing, and happiness is here, if this is the end of this, I it is wonderful, but I would hope, not yet.
kslchen chapter 28 . 11/3
Ah, this chapter feels just right! Not that Una being with her Canadian family and reconnecting with them was *wrong*, it's just that having her separated from Bernice and Cressida and Emily and Co for so long that didn't feel quite right. Plus, obviously, to have Carl not there wasn't right either and neither was them not being in Singapore and in their home. Therefore, to see all of them united and reunited in this place and this house feels very rewarding and like a lot of not-quite-right-ness is being corrected in this chapter. It took many years to get them to this point, but now that they're here, it does all feel worth it.

I liked how, while also providing us with hope for the future, this chapter also had many nods back at the past. It's tea that ties all times together, connecting this scene to the pre-war years, when there were already quibbles about who got to make the tea and serve it in those very same red tea bowls. The protagonists of those quibbles might change, but the sentiment behind it remains constant. Also constant is the way these women communicate, which always seems like it's half in code, so that it's perfectly comprehensible to them, but a little bit confusing to someone not well-versed in their language. It's something they've done right from when we first met then and it was also evident in their letters - and now it continues as they finally get to be together again.

In addition to the smaller and larger nods at the past, this chapter also holds a lot of hope for the future. It's there in the girls, in Iris and Robin and little Luna, but also in the way that the adults also resolve to look forward and not back. Yes, information need to be shared and reassurances given, but overall, there's a lot of zest for life and a determination to continue living it that gives this scene a special feel. Una is right that Joan is still missing to complete their set, but like her, I imagine we will see her again soon, which does bring them full circle. When looking back at the first chapters of them right after leaving the camp, their companionship was already evident then, but the lightness we see in the dance at the end of this chapter wasn't and this lightness is truly lovely to see.
oz diva chapter 27 . 10/29
Thank you for posting sooner rather than later, it is appreciated and a lovely treat.

Carl, well mate you put your family into quite the bind with your little jaunt down the beach that day. Upon reading it I was reminded of an old beach scene I wrote for Anne when she too got lost in rockpool universes; though thankfully her situation was easily sorted by a handy white knight. Interesting to compare the two though which I've never done. I wonder if Anne saw a little of herself in dreamy Carl? (fanfic idea?)

I digress, back to Singapore Oz diva. What strikes me with this story is how invested in Una's safety Carl continues to be. He believes that Li and Iris will stick together and that will save them, but the thought of Una being alone is what drives him. Was he wrong to collaborate? I guess you could see it that way, but who can say how you'd act in similar circumstances? The survival instinct is strong after all.

Really it's afterwards that he's most lost. He can't go home because it's changed. His letters are sent back (very bizarre) and he seems unjointed and at most danger. You wish he'd just knock on the Trinity House door but I suppose a unknown Una is more bearable than a dead one, so maybe I can understand why he left her dangling like that. But you'd think maybe he might have gone back to Canada? But obviously not, for he didn't.

So frustrating to read, and even more to live, how they circled around each other for years never quite making contact. But now finally they have and the wonderment must be intense. I do hope they can help each other heal now, but it won't be easy. Still, you promised us a happy ending and you delivered, so thank you.
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