Reviews for All Is Mended
Parnokianlipstic chapter 22 . 9/29/2022
In these times, reading this chapter gives hope, stinging and sparkling like autumn's golden mist.

Young people in love, first dances, memories, and music, as well as the results of a long search, finally even a little information about Li's circumstances, that's my quick top thoughts.

I loved this chapter, I really did!

I smiled at the name of Teddy's wife, for a moment I wondered about George Gently, was the naming a reference to his lost Isabella? And clever and functional names for all the babies, little Bobby and Kit, whose second name is naturally Elizabeth, certainly related to the historical time within the verse, i.e. the coronation, 1952, a suitable and perhaps appropriate parallel?

And then.

Kitty, whom I like very much, is wonderful that it is she who gives information about Li, and Una's thoughts about the re-education camps, and the countless possibilities, how to verbalize the different shades of terror and suffering, between sentences, broken thoughts.

Rosemary's notes and going through them was quite moving, of course that Mozart and Stänchen, which is a dream within a dream, not to mention all the musical heritage, and the power of nostalgia that this chapter breathes. I loved Shirley's reference to Susan, relating to Irene, as well as Una's playful breakdown and analysis of the Ingelside youth, and Walter, the memory is only beauty, time has done its job.

Photo rituals, dressing rituals, the whole flavor of the spectrum of life shiningly clear, all the diverse characters of this verse spending the evening together, the description of the passage of time in Anne Blythe's intense fragility, Li's presence extremely strongly, in Una's I have to point out, how do you always manage to find such beautiful names for your characters' houses? Moon in the Rain, ect. Utter perfection, and playful vocabulary, goslings, gremlins, every baby is always an innumerable possibility.
kslchen chapter 21 . 9/26/2022
First of all, Hiltrude! I adore that she got included in goat-form and while I'm aware that no-one living at Trinity House will be quite as delighted by Hiltrude and her unsupervised walks through the neighbourhood, I heartily approve of her inclusion!

Once again, I also really enjoyed the letter exchange between the members of Una's camp-family. The dry wit they all seem to share is never not-amusing and it often strikes me how they almost seem to speak in some sort of code together. It's not that it's impossible to understand what they're saying, just that even after five or six years, their closeness is such that there's no need for long-winded explanations. They can simply and directly say what needs to be said in the knowledge that their words will be understood as they were meant. It's rare that such a connection exists and persists, so it's always lovely to see it here.

Also lovely is the family unit that Una, Iris, Robin and Martin are slowly becoming. It was true for Una, Robin and Martin before and Iris is slotting in nicely. That's not to say, of course, that there's any replacing going on with regards to Carl and Li, but then, in your stories, there never is. Your characters adopt as many other characters as they see fit to be their family and it never detracts from the families, biological and adopted, they might have before. This is one reason for why this family Christmas scene you write for us here is so enjoyable. One day, I hope, Carl and Li will be with them to decorate (and, on Carl's part, to not remember where anything was packed) and it wouldn't feel less right than it does now.

Sadly, this lovely, heart-warming scene segues into the death of Rosemary. At 80, I suppose it's not that much of a surprise, but then, even when you think you're prepared for to let someone go, that doesn't mean you really are. I love that Una has Joan to confide all her thoughts in and Iain's letter was very sweet and not hash-y at all. Obviously, Rosemary was mother to Una in a similar way to Una being mother to Robin, because again, this doesn't have all that much to do with blood. I feel you capture Una's feelings at having to say goodbye to Rosemary very well, but what stands out even more is the way she's reminded of the Singapore days. Lines blithely sung by everyone else have a whole different meaning to her and no wonder. It is something that Rosemary, I think, would have understood, which just undercuts the feeling of her loss even more.
Tinalouise88 chapter 21 . 9/22/2022
You know what I adored, the fact the Una has given up tea to our Mr. Gnome. I know its something completely small, but in a way it's a small inclination that Martin is family to her I feel like. She lets him make her tea, and pour the tea. It's just something so oddly intimate about such a thing in my mind for Una.

Of course their dancing in the bookshop as the girls are hunting above them. I love how Iris is almost grown, but still Iris in many ways. She's still the little nine year old child at the end of the day deep inside her adult body.

Also I did laugh outlaud with Una calling Cressida a heathen when asking if she would dance. Ministers daughter indeed, but I love that Martin manages to wrangle that out of her and gets her to dance. Lovely and romantic, they are very much a family indeed at this point!.

Of course dear Rosemary passing- I feel deeply even if I don't write much about it, but I think you know that my emotions run deep within at this point with me and understand why I can appear indifferent about such things on the surface. The letters were beautiful, and she will be missed be all. I can only imagine how her life was celebrated in Glen, everyone must have come to pay their respects.

Her main letter, about colonialism and politics in religion, it speeches tenfold about Una. It truly was a horrid part of history, and we still see it today in certain ways. When countries try to impose their values on other countries, and wars are created because of it. Why? Why do they think it would make anything better?

At the end of it all, I this has embedded into my minds in different ways, and I will try to get through Dance with out mucking up from not paying attention to much!
Parnokianlipstic chapter 21 . 9/22/2022
Temporal slippage, the years roll by, like grains of sand.

I love campfamily, here I smiled at both Cressida and Bernice.

Although I have to admit that I smiled and cheered out loud, because if I interpreted it correctly, Isobel Blythe dances either Scottish folk dances, or Sylphides (Ballet) with enchanting skirts, Scottish romanticism and the most wonderful music, (although nothing can beat Adolphe Adam's Giselle, if you leave the Russian classical ballet repertoire off)

And then, Rosemary, of course it's those motets, and the mournful lingering nod to Rosemary's youthful love, I loved those scenes! Una's quiet, mournful, furious silence against British colonialism, on the occasion of (I stopped reading to enjoy the service selections, fascinating, lovely that you listed them) the Presbyterian -Anglican, Catholic jokes, and the deep devotion and sadness that was in Ian's letter to Una, which summed up both Rosemary's and Una's relationship to music, and also partly to religion.

And in general also all the letters in this chapter, the pulsating feeling of the life lived, and the fact that especially Joan is Una's "ego te absolvo" to which she is able to open up.

Brava, darling!
Guest chapter 20 . 9/17/2022
I don’t get it
candelabra chapter 20 . 9/16/2022
I love this story but I'm kind of lost on the continuity in this chapter. They meet in the Singapore harbor, but Iris doesn't take off her coat to show Li's necklace until they get back to Una's house in Canada? And they don't discuss the war, or what happened to Li, until then either? That just seems deeply weird. Did I miss something?

Thanks as always for your amazing writing!
kslchen chapter 20 . 9/16/2022
Is it wrong to say that I'm... almost a little relieved after learning about what happened to Iris in those seven years? Not, of course, that she didn't suffer too many hardships as it was - being torpedoed, having to hide from Japanese soldiers, being separated from her mother, living all those years without knowing what became of her family - but despite how undoubtedly difficult all of this must have been, I can't help feeling that there are even worse fates out there that somehow passed her by. There are camps she could have been taken to and crimes that could have been done to her that go beyond everything she already did live through as it is - and to know that those aren't experiences she had to make makes me feel relieved despite everything.

Overall, when looking at Iris as she's now, I sense a great resilience within her, but I also believe her when she says that it wasn't all bad. She was apart from Una for nearly half of her short life and this must have shaped her quite a bit. Not to the same extent, perhaps, as her early years with Una, Carl and Li did, but those years certainly must have put their mark on her, too. To see her now, well-spoken and emotionally balanced and with her sense of curiosity intact, shows me that broadly, she's okay. She's not traumatised, as I feared she would be, but instead grew into a young woman who has the strength and good sense to overcome not only the past years but also whatever life throws at her going forward. I'm sure it's not all sunshine and roses and I'm sure there'll be some sort of residue of the years since 1941, but I get the feeling that she coped so far and will continue to cope in the future.

The meeting of Iris and Robin was one I was looking forward to, because it could so easily have tipped both ways. To Robin, Una is her mother and thus fills the roll of the most important figure in her life. To Iris, Una is the connection to her parents and her childhood at Trinity House and, certainly, the member of her family she's closest to (who we know is alive, that is). This could easily have been cause for animosity between the two of them, each worried that Una might like the other one better - Iris perhaps thinking that Una replaced her with Robin and Robin thinking that now Iris is back, Una has no "need" for her anymore. None of that is true, of course, but for these two girls who have no-one else in the world that means as much to them as Una does, it could easily have felt like the truth.

That these thoughts don't cross their minds and that they instead connect fairly easily is, I think, a testament to them both and also a testament to Una. They're both secure in her love and seem to grasp instinctively, that love like that is limitless and simply expands without having to be shared. Thus, there's no jealousy or animosity as there easily could have been, but a connection that looks like it can, with time, really make those two into sisters. There was space for irises and robins on those quilts that Una made and therefore, there's also space for Iris and for Robin in her heart and life. I only hope that with Iris found, that there's a chance yet for both Carl and Li as well. Can it be that they're also still out there somewhere?
Tinalouise88 chapter 20 . 9/15/2022
You weave their homecoming so well, it's bittersweet in a way that it took all 8 years, but at least it has come and is finally over with.

But they have their memories, things that I am sure both have both cherished and treasured, and it brings them back together and allows them to reconnect.

Firecracker gets her Auntie, the little sister she never had through Robin. It's overwhelming, though I am glad that Iris had a safer, and better time during the war than the others. small mercies in unknown ways. Yes she lost her family and that had to be utterly confusing and terrifying, wondering if she would ever see anyone of them again. I can see her just crawling into bed with Una and never wanting to let go of her those first few weeks.

Of course, this only comes with more questions about what happened to Li, where she is and what happened to Carl.

But I am looking forward to having another person tease Una about Mr. Swallow...though someone should either Warn Iris about his disregard for locked doors...though one would assume by now he has his own Key after looking after Kiki for them while they were away. Because I don't think Iris would be as forgiving to strange men showing up in the living room without notice if she is anything like LI... I feel like she would be after him with a broom if he did that unknowingly the first time wanting to leave something for Una when she was in town for something.
Parnokianlipstic chapter 20 . 9/15/2022
iris, iris, Iris is here! almost grown up, nearly 17, and that confession, "I've always wanted a sister," and now she has, maybe a little indirect route, but still.

But that aside. Your description is something unearthly wonderful. Irse's trek, the nuns, Li's sacrifices, where did Li go?

ACS, the light of Iris, and shared distant fragmentary memories, Trinity House as before, Robin, strong, and shining, whose mere presence helps, with Elise English flashing yes, greenery vivid and intent.

How to describe something for which there are no words? That's a question you answer brilliantly.
There are so many highlights here,of Puck, Endless quilting sessions that almost broke my heart to describe, (Cressida, Joan, Elise, Emily, Bernice, and all those who didn't make it)

Iris' Firecracker smile, and Li's suppleness, and the water lily's lightness, and the will to survive, and Canada, Innisfree's house, and especially those stenciled teabolws.

Deep, dark, shadows, memories, quiet blue too moments, Walter's memory, shared prayers, and of course John, never better, it may be ancient history from Iris and Robin's perspective, but it's Una's history, and emotional life, so it matters, and the stifling philanthropy of the relatives, from whom Una wants to protect Iris, for a while longer.

A wonderful piece of exquisite, golden purple-blue hue, and here are just a few foretastes, full of amazing, wonderful airiness, spirituality, sadness, humanity, time, and the paths of life, and those quilts, they really almost break me, because the reality, and the weaving, and the messages , as you know.

BRAVA 3
OriginalMcFishie chapter 20 . 9/15/2022
Beautiful. I forced myself to read this slowly amd not slowly, ahead om case it had news of Li. I can feel the reconnection as the familiar melts the strangeness away. what a lucky escape Iris had (we hope along with Una. Li has an equally lucky escape). What I loved most was that you retold Una's story another way, so instead of repeating you gave depth colour and showed the spirit of those awful camps. Wonderfully woven
Crackerjackalope chapter 20 . 9/15/2022
Oh, gosh. Even if Carl and Li are dead, at least Iris lived. I was very worried about that.

No matter where they go from here, at least Iris and Una have each other again.
kslchen chapter 19 . 9/10/2022
Memories hang quite heavily over this chapter, in various variations. It starts with Puck, who, naturally, is invoked by the fictional monkey - especially so because it appears to Una without warning. When one knows what to expect, one can prepare for it, but Una didn't know about fictional Mickey, so what else could happen but for him to wake memories of very real Puck within her? At first, they're the difficult memories of Puck, not because of him himself but because of the circumstance and because of what they suffered through together. It's only when Martin calls and calls her back that the happier memories surface, too, of a playful, bowing Puck who fades into a ghost and thus, returns to the realms of memories again.

The brief, ghostly return of Puck segues into Una's impending return to Singapore, which is something that's been a long time coming in its own way. I really like that it's a wedding bringing her back (and, or course, Iris as well, but less directly), because this way, there's a happy and joyful occasion to help off-set all the memories she's sure to face there as well. The little scene was Mara also was poignant, because it highlights how much Singapore has become the fate for an ever increasing number of people from their extended family. Now, it's Iain as well, and I like how understanding Mara is. Her son is moving far away, but she understand what it feels like to have two places that could be home - and having to decide. Back then, she and Shirley stayed put, but as she points out, they almost left Canada. Now, Iain is doing so and it's clear he has their blessing.

Having everyone gathered around for the wedding makes for such a lively, laughing reunion that the memories of Trinity House as it was don't get through to Una in the way they might otherwise do. Of course she remembers how it was and how they lived there, what it was filled with (both in the way of furniture and in the way of pets), but with everything that's happening, she doesn't get as much chance to dwell on it. There's a real flurry surrounding that wedding and of course, with Bernice and Cressida and everyone around, there's never a dull moment either. I imagine it's quite the surprise to Iain's side of the Blythe family, but I assume that in getting to know these women who grew to be family to Una, they can understand the change in Una better as well.

In some ways, this wedding invoked parallels of Carl and Li's wedding, too, because Iain and Emily face similar difficulties they have to overcome. Where Carl and Li had "only" Una there to support them though, Iain and Emily are surrounded by people who love them and who're doing their very best to make sure their wedding day is memorable and joyful and filled with both laughter and dancing. Trinity House might look different from when it was before the war and it was probably never filled with life and people like this (even Iris and Puck could only do so much to wreak havoc), but it's still recognisably home to Una. She gets to go home to be surrounded by loved ones to see one quasi-daughter get married and there's a chance she will hold another of her daughters soon as well, once Iris makes her way home, too.

Also, by the way, it won't surprise you to hear that Harry the Immortal Lizard remaining at Trinity House delights me a least as much as it hopefully will delight Iris!
Tinalouise88 chapter 19 . 9/7/2022
Oh ghosts of the past surfacing with Mickey, that would be a hard to swallow punch for Una to go through as they introduce a Monkey into the books.

I did laugh at Una deciding that a monkey and a certain young man would have never made friends. I also don't think Walter would have likes Singapore, and Una needed Singapore...so I am a little glad, but not really that things happened as they did with Walter.

I do love Martin calling and Robin knowing it is him, and how he manages to get her laughing but also just how he knows her sad voice.

Oh and the 'are you going to marry Mr Swallow when we come back'. I'm with Robin. It's high time, but I did cackle too much at the innuendo about marriage and what it all entails lol. Faith must have been waiting for this for her sister so she can be amused by all the exasperation that comes with children s questions and puberty lol

It's a such a change this wedding around with everyone going for Iain, I did have to double check because it felt like only Una went, but Mara was there so I am assuming Shirley and Isobel was there as well for Iain as well. Though this is more of Una's experience going back to Singapore for the first time.

Also did I pick up on that Martin bought Robin the dress she is wearing lol. Three years older indeed and leaving him out of the loop of clothing. It's almost a throw back to Matthew in a way with the brown gloria that he had made, or bought depending if you prefer the movie dress more.

Either way Weddings are wedding and this one is lovely as can be!
Parnokianlipstic chapter 19 . 9/7/2022
This... Utter wonderfulness.

The Bylton, and Dvorak, naturally, and that Dvorak, specifically, that is most wonderful lullaby of them all. Puckish and impish Robin, climbing up and down, and almost half-grown, memories, and shades, memories of Puck and shade of the boy with poetry that was Walter, and then the wedding, in actually in this chapter. The description and the adjectives, are superb, fitting each character, Mara's theatrical gestures, Iain's happiness, Emily's partial resemblance to Li. And the fact that Una embroiders the wedding gift, well, of course, Yates.
Jazz music, Kingsport's Blythes at Trinity House, but in a new generation version, and Una sees light ghosts everywhere but doesn't let it bother her. I squeeled with utter joy. Una and Robin back in Singapore, I actually cried. I adore the campfamily, as you know.

The driving, the wamth and family, and the music and memories of world before, improbable wedding gifts, of old victoriana. And that glowing, intense golden homecoming vibe that glows from this chapter. Cressida and Bernice's smiles, playing the piano together, and the way Una is truly and powerfully herself, in their the music, classical, and Gershwin, I loved the observation that "there is no piece of music that Una can't master, even blindfolded" because that's exactly how it is. Music has always been one of Una's saving graces, and here Jazz and joy, and grace shines in honor of Una's family, and if perhaps Una gently startles the other wedding guests, all the better, because it's about time they see the real, alive and glowing Una, who has fully found her place, among her family, and partially rebuilt Singapore around her. What you are doing, my dear, here is perfectly the nostalgic effect of a wedding, where the past, and past traditions at Trinity House are mixed with the present.
There was an absolutely sweet abundance of everything here, as did the inexorability of the passage of time, they have all come long way since 1942, and soon maybe is Iris too.

Brava!
kslchen chapter 18 . 9/4/2022
As you promised, by flicker of hope while reading the previous chapter wasn't in vain! With all other avenues exhausted, Una's contacts at the ACS remained the only ones to turn up a lead and you went one better than this - you gave us Iris! It feels like a special treat, because I thought that when we first get news of Iris (or Li or Carl), it would just be a rumour or a snatch of information that would then need to be followed up upon. To get Iris back without even more drawn-out agonising and worrying is, therefore, something I'm very grateful for on Una's behalf. Obviously, if they find out anything about Carl or Li, there might yet be much more of a hunt to find them (if they can be found), but I'm glad that everyone is spared this with Iris.

I also love that it's Percival Curtis who found Iris and delivered the news to Una. I've always been fond of him and the friendship he and Una shared, and I was wondering what became of him during the war and occupation. In some ways, this letter is also bringing him back to Una, too, and while it's not on the same level as *Iris*, I know she will be glad to know he's well because cherished their friendship, too. As she says, he never gave her jewellery, but he gave her Yeats and Auden and understanding, too. The white poppies and all they signified were a sign that these two shared a deep understanding and thus, it's just right that this letter should come from him. (As an aside: that brief sentence about Stella Bowen, short though it was, was stark and horrible and like a punch to the gut. No wonder Una tries not do see the memory of her death often!)

But now, Iris! She is alive and she will come home and after so many years, that must feel utterly surreal to Una and everyone else. I'm sure it will be surreal for Iris, too, to learn that Una is still out there. Like Una said, I shudder to think what the past years must have been for Iris, now no longer a child but a young woman. She obviously got separated from Li at some point, but not before receiving the necklace - did Li give it to her for some reason or did Iris take it as a memento? There is so much to find out about what Iris experienced since Una last saw her. She's lived half her life since that moment and while her childhood was one of love and protections, the following years must have been full of loss and hardship. I wonder how this has affected her and I wonder to what extent she can still be the Firecracker Una remembers.

In that sense, I do like Martin's characterisation of Una having four (or, as she corrects, five) girls. Iris was the first one and Robin is the youngest, but Una did adopt the other three women, too, as her charges to look out for and to love. I think her capacity to love someone just for who they are is really what sets Una apart from many other people. She takes people as they are and she loves and cares for those important to her simply for that reason alone. She's also willing to do everything in her power to ensure not only their survival but their happiness, at least as far as it's within her power, and that's her core strength, I think. It's not the loud and brash fighting we see in others, but it's where her steeliness comes out most clearly. If you dare to hurt someone she does love, you do so at your own peril.

Martin's remark does show that she understands that and after being a little unsure of him in the past chapter (mainly because I felt that in asking her to give up her search, he was asking her to give up part of herself, much as I understood the sentiment behind his words), I'm much more in approval here. Obviously, he came back, so he gets points for that. Also, we're again seeing the closeness and nearly wordless understanding that has marked their relationship so far. It's that connection that made their friendship special and it is, I believe, also what made their friendship turn into love. That kiss felt so tender and natural, just right in that moment. "Home" was taken from Una years ago and in some ways, she's been searching for it ever since. I don't think she expected to find it again in a kiss, but wouldn't live be boring if it didn't sometimes surprise us and give us what we're looking for where we didn't think to look before?
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