|Reviews for All Is Mended|
| YodaChick chapter 3 . 5/6/2022
I can just hope Una finds Carl, Li and Iris.. And I wonder if Iain has found a war bride ?
| OriginalMcFishie chapter 3 . 5/6/2022
beautifully written like a meandering river as your take comes to life. sleeping on the floor would indeed be preferable to those soft beds. Funny what a body gets used to. So much to love here. the colours and sound of the m arkets ooze off the page, the evening dresses signal a slow slow return to the life that was. I really love Iain. his acceptance of the woman and puck. His partner in crimeness, his acceptance of Una. He seems to realise he's a long way frim the Glen. Weaving in the news of victory , and hiw nothing initially changed for the women was beautifully done. There is hope here, but all the while a sense of dread too, where are Li and Carl and just what became of the firecracker?
| Tinalouise88 chapter 3 . 5/5/2022
Oh you told me I would have some pretties to look forward too, and you outdid yourself! I figure that I would get this out before I am completely taken over by the Rona lol...
The market must be so much sensory overload for them, but it is lovely that Iain is there with them and of course all the talk about telegrams and what not and how to tell them about Robin, or the decision not to tell about her just yet.
But the pretties and the dresses, all the colours and fabric, its music to my ears. Poor Robin has never seen such lovely stuff and I get how una feels when it comes to the colour red. It would be a terrible thing to deal with the association of the colour. I hope that one day maybe Una see's Japan in another light atleast it's people and differentiate the war that the government made, and the actual country and it's people I feel she would love the scenery and shrines.
It's nice to the see the women talk about going home, or to find where home is for them at this point. Una has choices to make and thankfully people understand that she needs to find them. Carl, Li, Iris are much her family as her family in Canada is. Poor Puck though, surely they can figure out a way to smuggle him in lol, was there really laws about that just yet in canada?
I also enjoy how Walter still sneaks into this chapter, how he just weaving in and out of her thoughts after so many years. .
| Parnokianlipstic chapter 3 . 5/5/2022
Here I am an emotional blob.
Absolutely amazing description in this chapter.
Of course, the cots are too soft, and naturally the room is hot, and Unan’s private grief she covers from Robin is staggering, as are the women’s wordless and clear communication that they sleep on the floor, despite the banging, and back pain in the morning.
The memories of camp and the reading of the proclamation was extremely impressive,as the crowd of women, and the deep friendship, and the turmoil, of the British bombs. The guards playing Go were a tremendous detail, and so true. Sure, they keep killing time, even if the women they guarded are dead.
And then, breakfast.
The sense of displacement once again, all that abundance, and naturally Una feels guilty that a child growing up in camp conditions doesn’t recognize the dishes, but I guess if rice had been available, none of them would have eaten it, too many associations to bad camp portions, and a little later the tapioca memory is almost painful.
And then, getting clothes!
All the colors, and emotions, and memories, of the shades of Walter, Golden Verses, in the Rainbow Valley, of course he knows the content of the book by heart, and of course Una, too. So that is the book that Una has been quoting Yeats and others for years, is it? The best thing about certain books is the beauty of the covers, which seem to emphasize the glow of the words from within.
A wonderful spark of hope and romance in the air, hovered, Raffles shiny hardwood floors, and the scent of sherry, as well as making plans.
Una’s mental love confession for Singapore and Puck, was overwhelmingly wonderful.
| Alicedreamer93 chapter 2 . 5/1/2022
If I thought Centre Must hold was gorgeously written, this is breathtakingly beautiful. The way you describe everything reminds of the all the Literature I read back in University. You have a great sense of direction and never draw things out more then they are needed. You give us what is needed in a beautiful way. You never seem afraid to bring out the full stops of the time period/genre. Yes you spared us the camp, but the time period and everything else is vibrant. I always find it disappointing when something so large to the story falls off to the side because it feels like the author is too afraid to commit or lean into something they have chosen. You also have an excellent banter for friendships that makes me believe that you are and fun friend to have . But above all you make their friendship stands outs against all the horrors these women have seen, and one can barely imagine what these women have gone through.
| Tinalouise88 chapter 2 . 4/30/2022
Oh dear, it's heartbreaking to know that to have a bath is like a luxury experience for them after so many years.
It lovely to see them all giddy and happy about bathes and soaps, and of course the lipsticks. Funny how a simple cosmetic can make any woman feel simply put together and extra pretty. I love that Robin got to enjoy it as well.
Iain Blythe I did not expect him, but what a sigh he is to behold for Una, having it been so long seeing her family, even extended family him being a Blythe Child. Also for Iain to be the one, to have mostly seen either the camps potentially or have had contact with the POW, he gets a better understanding of what these women have gone through, and helps them without being over bearing about it.
I do love puck through out this as well, and the not so much of a threat but a reminder that he does not eat birds. In other words don't steal from the child, you won't like it.
I know I've mentioned it already, but I can only imagine what the surprise will be when the Merediths get Iain's telegram or letter about finding Una. Faith had a sixth sense to send that photo. I cannot imagine after so many years of no contact, not knowing whether they were dead or alive to know she is alive! What a huge relief it will be to have that news!
| kslchen chapter 2 . 4/29/2022
What is striking about this chapter is the oddness of it all. We haven't been to camp with these women for real, so all we have to understand their experience are snatches of conversation and slivers of memory. Even without knowing more than that about camp life though, it's apparent just how *different* Raffles is. It represents a bygone era, with all the splendour and the rich food and the sheer Englishness of it, but it's those same attributes that also make it feel unreal. During the years at the camp, the women probably thought they'd never see a place like Raffles again or even that a place like it didn't exist anymore, so to suddenly be surrounded by it must be baffling. In fact, in some ways, it's almost absurd.
Speaking of bygone eras, it was almost prophetic, the way Una thought about how the memories of her years in Glen have a dream-like quality, only for Iain to turn up a mere second later! He's such an unexpected piece of Una's past, representing a family that she is connected to by blood and memories, but not by shared experiences any longer. It was fun, seeing him again, and it reminded me how curious I am to learn more about the fates of all your other characters, but Una isn't strictly worn when she calls him an interloper in her head. He's polite and well-meaning and genuine, but he doesn't really get it.
The importance of shared experiences to build bonds and understanding is quite a prominent theme in this chapter, too. It's their time at the camp that ties Una and Cressida and Bernice and all the others together, forming a bond of instinctive understanding that somehow feels even closer now that they're back in the outside world. It means that they also understand Una as she is, whereas the Una that Iain knows from photos and conversations is a Una of decades ago. She hasn't been the girl she was on the eve of the harbour dance in such a long, long time, but it's that girl that remained frozen in time in the memories of so many of her relatives, while the real Una lived on, changing and growing and becoming the woman she is today.
Interesting, too, how big a role memories still play in this chapter and in the minds of Una and the others. On paper, they should be all eager to move to the future now, but there's a certain apprehensive, a mistrust as to what that strange future holds, which they also voice themselves here. I imagine that at the camp, they lived very much in the present, just trying to survive, so with that taken away and the future uncertain, they're focusing on memories, both shared and individual. Those shared out loud are mostly talked about in a joking way, though we also see the more painful moments come to the surface at time. In Una's mind, there are also the very painful ones, brought on by the absence of Carl, Li and Iris and of everything she endured even before going to the camp. I'm sure all the other women have memories like that, which makes me even more glad that they have each other for support and comfort and togetherness.
| Parnokianlipstic chapter 2 . 4/29/2022
What a start!
Intimate bath. The cleanliness, bath, and camp-reality and past details are tremendously described, blisters, bedbugs, and other vermins. And of course none of them does stand ceremony, anymore, if ever again. I already love Cressida, Bernice, Emily, and especially little Robin, who is certainly utterly stunned by the luxury of Raffles.
Makeup, a little setback before, wonderfully depicts Una’s inner reflection, and Carl, Li, Iris’s recollection is downright heartbreaking.
And it’s only natural that under these conditions, Una tries lipstick, as it’s also a kind of armor for femininity. The steel of Una is wonderfully displayed here, and as are the family the ladies are all to each other. Raffles Dining Room; The utter sense of displacement, amazing!
And Iain Blythe! That whole scene where Una reflects on the past and the present is breathtaking. That photo, and of course it would have been the Harbor Light epoch, at a time when the world had not yet disintegrated ...
And naturally the food would be the most British of the British, and of course sherry and brewed tea smells everywhere, the echos, the echos, of Walter, of world Before- that Raffles very much is. One example of worst British Imperialism and Colonialism.
The fragrance associations of this chapter are other worldly well described, and of course Una can’t eat chicken because the memories and abundance are too intense.
And Dancing! Oh! What a contrast, the royal and somewhat bossy Cressida and Iain, as well as the camp-reality, are staggering, multi-faceted, and extremely touching, especially the song selections! Brecht !, The Minute Waltz, Sentimental Journey!
Apologies this is again a full vague flow of consciousness, but what I liked most was how you continue to braid the events of the camp years into the 1945/1948? situation, it brings great drama to this story, and that way the events will peel away one by one, like an onion.
I simply loved it!
| OriginalMcFishie chapter 2 . 4/28/2022
I love the dream like quality of this chapter. The group are half caught between what their lives were (in the camp), what their lives were before thst (which truly feels dream like), and their now reality (which, if the life before internment feels like a dream almost feels like a derillium). To my shame I haven't read your pre war stories about Una so even the idea of Iain is a complete unknown to me, but in many ways that fits with Unas unknowing comprehension if a nephew she knows of, who clearly know something of her, and yet is completely unknown. I love how Iain plays host to the group and doesn't rush into stories of hime or demand she wore them immediately , or ask if they know she's safe. I must admit I did have one fear, woukd Iain give the plot away re Robin . He know Una to be unmarried and yer she has a child. An innocent question asked the wring way coukd have Mrs Meredith exposed as Miss and leave Una either shamed or Robinless, so I hope his discretion continues. Has he made contact with anyone else as yet? Can he help locate Carl,Li and the Firecracker (in person or at keast their story). I shall be waiting to find out
| oz diva chapter 1 . 4/24/2022
How wonderful to have this treat land in my inbox this week, I have been eagerly anticipating it. Now to start, Puck's speech is wonderful and sets the tone so beautifully and it's heartwarming to see that his namesake is still with us and even survives the horrors of the camp.
No wonder Una wonders where to start. Here they are in the supposedly substandard Raffles Hotel which says so much doesn't it. So obvious that the powers that be have precisely zero understanding of what the women have endured the past few years if they think the hotel is substandard. And it must be so very strange for the women to be there, to have good food, medical treatment, clean linen and even mattresses. But how do you describe that to someone who wasn't there? And again how to describe the relationships, it wasn't as easy as 'friends' I'm sure.
What the interrogators don't comprehend is just how condescending they're being. As though the women have been off playing tea parties with the Japanese for the last few years, while the men have been fighting the war. But these survivors have endured more than anyone can imagine. Death, dysentry, starvation. I was struck by Una's awareness that it didn't do to mention her relationship with the commandant, since collaborator was such a loaded word. But throw two educated people together and they are bound to relate to each other on some level, even as he is systematically starving his charges. The soul needs more than mere food for sustenance (though food is has its uses).
It is lovely to find Una a mother for real at last. I don't know if she has really missed having a partner, but she has always been Iris' second mother more than her aunt, a point that Bernice made as well. Losing Iris was the greatest heartache Una has experienced to date and I won't say Robin makes up for that but she must at least be a nice distraction. When Una says we all had Robin, it doesn't sound right. Maybe it's more the case that Robin chose Una rather than the other way around. in any case she made a good decision because I can't imagine a better mother than Una. Steady and caring. She'll give Robin a good post camp life.
That Joan Makori makes the Raffles man uneasy is a good thing. The thought that horrors! a black woman might be a doctor and treat them, when after all the British have deserted and left them to rot makes him squirm and a good thing too. He asked for the truth and its not a pleasant tale. If he wanted a nice clinical story he should have asked another woman but he did not and here Una is, telling it like it was. And it wasn't easy and it wasn't clean and people died and the British WERE to blame. So you squirm Mr Raffles Man because Una Meredith is not going to make life easy for you. That's not her way and after all she has endured so much, while you appear to have had a somewhat easier war.
Puck and Robin jumping on the bed is a delightful image to end on. I see a lot of Iris in Robin and I hope the two girls get to meet one day and confuse Puck with conflicting loyalties.
| OriginalMcFishie chapter 1 . 4/23/2022
Love the puck quite to start with. Its perfect opening to this tale that is so very real and so very horrid (in what happened, not in your telling).
The truth of the experience of incarceration would have been oh too real and I was dreading it a tad, so I really like that you’ve picked this up after they have been liberated and come to Raffles. I understand why the allies used Raffles for the liberated prisoners, you have to wonder if they ever saw the irony of this depiction of imperial colonisation picking up the pieces of the horror that very imperialization contributed to…. If not caused.
I love the tips to those impressive depictions of what life was under the control of the Imperial ‘Army (Tenko, A Town Like Alice). So beautifully spliced together that we can see Una Meredith as one of their cohorts, and those characters as part of Una’s world. Una’s telling of their experience, at least the bits that she wanted to tell, introduce the characters she was encamped with in a way that brings them to life and off the page. The references to religion make me wonder how Una’s own faith has changed,morphed, matured… How has it stayed in in the wake of what was.
Ernest Henderson’s character drips off the page. I’m sure history will remember him as a very good sort of man. Well educated, rose to a decent rank, saw some unfortunate action during the war, helped those poor souls who’d been stuck in Singapore get their life back on track. And yet he is ever so despicable. Patronizing, arrogant, unquestioning of his God-given place in the world. I suspect we haven’t seen the last of his well intentioned interference. He will underestimate Una, to his detriment. He has a taste of it in her barbed remark about the doctor dying before they were rescued. So many inexcusable behaviours (fall of Singapore, lack of rescue of those there, then leaving them in the camps longer than necessary). No wonder Una has lost her faith in the British, and rightly so.
Love the ingenuinity of the camp medical team writing the truth in Latin, and other languages. There is more than one way to keep things correct! And the lack of awareness of what they’ve been through, by placing them in opulent conditions and apologising that they are substandard. Perhaps its good that its can’t be imagined, but the irony isn’t lost on this reader at least.
So many questions remain. I look forward to having them answered. Oh, and in case I haven't spelt it out clearly, this is an excellent piece of work, that flows off the pen like a rich, dark chocolate and pools into something magnificent.
| Tinalouise88 chapter 1 . 4/20/2022
This is utterly beautiful to start with, it's just enough about life in the camp to give us an idea about life and its hardships, but not enough entirely to make us feel it to the bone. I am glad that Puck is still alive for Una. I know I got a bunch of inside scenes and the agenda. I can't wait for more to come of this Una that inspired my own Una. I am curious about so much and little Robin! I am glad this Una is getting her own chance at motherhood with this war orphan and her journey to mend her family. Apologies for the shortness but anything longer would have to wait till the weekend and I didn't wish to make you wait longer.
| kslchen chapter 1 . 4/19/2022
This is such a treat! I already adored its predecessors for the quiet but heartfelt feeling it conveyed and for making me understand the war in Singapore in a way I never did before. The family built by Una, Li, Carl, Iris and all the animals was a beautiful thing to behold, just as seeing it break apart (physically, not emotionally) was hard to bear. We left them in such an uncertain moment the last time, with Carl disappeared, Li and Iris gone, and Una and Puck left behind to face an unknown and unknowable future. I still stand by my opinion that it ended on the perfect note, but it also felt a little bleak, to leave them like this without knowing how things would turn out.
Here, right in the very sentence, you let us know that Una and Puck are, if not fine, then at least alive. You know I'd prefer for Puck to be immortal, but knowing I can't have that, I'm at least glad he survived the war to hopefully witness the world being put together again - in a new way, but hopefully in a way that allows healing, with time. Nenni never saw the war, but most of the other animals died during the hardest, most tragic times (Papatee! Akela!), so for Puck, at least, to survive and to retain some of his joie-de-vivre feels like a sort of comfort. He, perhaps more than the humans, is a living reminder of the past none of them can ever reclaim again, so its fitting that he's present to create a bridge to this new future.
I spared us Una's actual time at the camp, but through these glimpses as memories, you give us enough of an idea to understand how awful and very trying it was at times. The helplessness faced by Una and her companions, especially when faced with illness and death of one of their own, is a recurring theme, but even more so, we see their resilience. Faced with a situation in which is would have been so easy to give up and give in, we see this unlikely group of women bond together and keep each other strong. Little Robin might be the most visible glue, but I wager that even without her, these women would have built a family, simply because they did what they could to support each other, against all odds.
I'm really curious to get to know better this new family that Una built at the camp (which is an additional family, not an ersatz family, because I live in hope that we'll see Li and Carl and Iris again, too). You've only given us glimpses so far of Cressida and Bernice and everyone else, but I feel like I already know them well. You've done some excellent characterisation here, allowing them to leap right off the page with vividness and resourcefulness. Under normal circumstances, these women might never have met, but they share a certain spirit even in light of suffering that is admirable. Robin, as it's already apparent, plays a key role in their dynamic and if Emily could be Iris's older sister, then Robin, by behaviour alone, seems like she could be the younger one.
Speaking of characterisations, you also do a very interesting job with the villains of the piece, namely Henderson and the Commandant. Henderson is supposedly the good guy, being ostensibly on their side, but he understands nothing and can't be trusted precisely because he doesn't understand. Meanwhile, the Commandant is not and cannot be a likeable person because of the position he holds, but you allow him to be human, which makes him that much more interesting. It's easier to vilify the villains, but it's also too easy and not a reflection of how the world works. The worst perpetrators, the awfullest monsters among humans, generally have a human side - and are all the more terrifying for it.
In short, this story has gone off a truly intriguing start - and one that is typically well-written, too. In some ways, I think that out of your stories, The Centre Cannot Hold was the one that made your writing style shine the most and it looks set to continue here. The balance and the emotions are just right, too, so much so that, even with the sneak peeks you've given me at what's to come, I can't wait to read more about the women you introduced us to in this chapter, about how they'll put the world together again and make a new life for themselves after this brutal break in their lives that they had to endure. I'm also hoping for lots of Puck, of course, and to soon see Carl, Li and Iris again - especially for *Una* to soon see Carl, Li and Iris again!
| Parnokianlipstic chapter 1 . 4/19/2022
Flowing, the women's section of the camp, so aptly described, the heat, the diseases that just come. Humor, and small glimpses of life, common quotations, education and language skills and professionalism that just comes out because it is a must, and music, as well as poetry.
The magnificent structure of this chapter, this is so fluid, and between the interrogation of Raffles in the office of the liberators who came, but too late in relation to the lives that were lost.
So much unspoken pain, and the mutual loyalty of women that men in power cannot understand. And the rest, the epolence, and the soap, the mattress, the cool metal cot, and Una’s adopted child jumping on the bed, and Puck.
Insightfully, you have described the ethnic profiling of that war period, with extreme subtlety, Cecilia’s eyes, and Robin’s eyes, everyone will see what you want to them to see if they o ask the right questions, but what are the right questions, then?
I look forward to possibly more glimpses of Una’s comrades in the coming chapters, and all of those quotes are simply amazing!