Reviews for All Is Mended
Tinalouise88 chapter 18 . 9/2/2022
Iris, oh blessed Iris has been found, and while there is a thousand questions surrounding it how, why, where is Li, the necklace, it still boils down to Iris! Our Firecracker is coming home finally.

With Iris being found, and ending up about at another Anglo-chinese school, I wonder how much Chinese she knows from Li. If she's still being sent to an anglo school, I can only imagine not much, or just enough to get by and survive. Actually I always wondered just how much much even Una and Carl picked up over the years, or if they just stuck to mainly English?

God, it will be everything to Una, but also gut wrenching to hear the story of what happened to poor young Iris, who is now what? 14-15? I can only imagine what it must have been like for Percival to say I know you? I know you Aunt who is looking for you. That is you isn't Iris?

Gah! It's just all so wonderful, and made more wonderful by Mr. Swallow, no knocking or keys allowed by him!

I do stand by what I said, how big are his Mary Poppin's style pockets to hold so many things things. Books galore and porcelain Macaws. I had to reread it a few times, realizing that Una is in such a deep shock that she doesn't just out and tell him about doesn't seem real to her. Yes one can say things about politeness and not jumping down somebody with such news. But I think it's more shock and sinking in than the latter.

My other thoughts was earlier today was Our Mr. Gnome...could he have possibly been thinking that Una had lost a love in Singapore by wearing Li’s ring. Which is why he kept a distance in a way? I am surprised slightly that it had never come up in passing when she told him about Li and Carl and Iris, but when he said such things about Percival giving it to her. it felt like he was searching for an answer he's been waiting for a while and finally it seemed to give the courage to finally make his intentions more concrete towards her. Because I am all for the kissing! haha. Truly it was utterly romantic, a hug, the kiss. It was everything that it needed to be. Truly is was.

The children at the ends are lovely as well, it will be interesting for Robin and Iris to meet each other. Two children who lost years of their lives to a war that was horrendous. Family broken apart, lost, missing. Hopefully Iris and Robin can understand each other, help each other. I do have to ask Aunt Allie? I feel like I missed an explanation in a story that I haven't got to just yet haha. because I noticed Mara is also called another name time to time lol.

It think this was most of it...and if there is more...well you get it on out chat lol.
Parnokianlipstic chapter 18 . 9/2/2022
Well. I've been trying to gather my thoughts on this for the past hour, so this might be an even more unclear stream of consciousness than usual.

Deep bluish moments, that's what this chapter is full of, a hint of gold-toned hope, depth, and the feeling of coming home.

Una is reading Dodie Smith, which I also love, the novel in question is captivating, an attack of memories, in Una's mind, as the best literature always does.

The letters, and the news itself, Iris, Iris, Iris, in ipoh, ACS branch, or somewhere, and Percival Turner, it's incredibly lovely that he's the one giving Una that information. Percival and Una's friendship, I always somehow imagined that Percival was perhaps in love with Una, but they were colleagues for years, so that and the love of literature create a bond.

And the fact that Martin's surprise arrival gives Una an anchor, a momentary calm from the storm of emotions, and they talk in their own smooth-flowing way, about everything, past, present, hope, and reality, and so rightly that their possible first kiss comes on the heels of the Iris news, sense of coming home, flawless, brava!

It's wonderful that Una still doesn't give up hope about Carl and Li, not before some more official announcement.

Unas musings on the children and youth who are not harrowed by war or deprivation, of Isobael and others too, creates a perfect contrast to Robin just a few years ago, and Iris, and her experiences as well. About the music: you use Jazz wonderfully here. That ending, a quiet read-aloud session on the couch, domestic bliss, and that the thoughts are on Iris, that is naturally, absolutely right.
OriginalMcFishie chapter 18 . 9/2/2022
Iris is alive and coming home. Were there ever sweeter words? There is much in this chapter to like. A Junior Birdsman song that I ironically (is it irony?) was singing only this morning, a home that is home nonetheless despite the other place being more home than this home and a kiss that is so delectably delicious full of promises of what's to come. All of which is paled by the words Iris is alive and coming home. Iris is alive! I want to shout it from the rooftops. I'm refusing to think about what she's experienced or how she's changed based on those experiences, or how much older she is now than she was. Or that her parents are still missing, one possibly dead as evidenced by not being together and the necklace,. Iris is alive. For now, that's enough. Looking forward to more deliciousness ahead.
kslchen chapter 17 . 8/28/2022
I remember you were unsure about whether to leave the Una-Jerry scene in one of the previous chapters or whether to take it out, but this chapter reinforces my opinion that it was the right call to leave it in. Without their previous shared scene to set the stage, this one might have felt constructed or too rushed, because we would have lacked the context to understand the special understanding that Una and Jerry share. We understood from the previous chapter that Jerry remains one of the very few people who truly gets Una, who understands her even when she's reluctant to reveal too much of herself, and I think we needed that knowledge to allow this chapter to build upon that.

Of course, the return to Canada - still with just Robin by her side - and the meeting with Jerry bring the memories of Carl, and thus of Li and Iris, to the forefront of Una's mind again. Not that they're ever far from her thoughts, but they feel especially present in this particular chapter. Even into adulthood, I think Una and Jerry share the feeling of being somehow responsible for Carl's well-being, as older siblings so often do, which furthers their mutual understanding even more. It also means that Jerry finds the right words for Una to hear, in a way that few people can. She isn't an easy person to comfort, because she so rarely allows herself to uncurl, but Jerry knows the way to do it, even on that bleak, grey morning.

To me, oddly, there was a brief flicker of hope about halfway through this chapter, when Una learns of the ACS being a possible contact in her search of Carl, Li and especially Iris. For a moment, it felt like this could bring the hoped-for breakthrough finally, after all those years of searching. Of course, with the war now being over for so long, the likelihood of hearing good news about them grows ever smaller, but as long as Una holds out hope, so shall we readers do. After all, the post-war years were incredibly chaotic in some countries and it was not like all of those camps were opened the moment the fighting stopped. When reading Una's letter to the ACS, I was therefore hoped for a moment that it would change the tide, but then all those other letters followed and those hope were quickly dashed again. If we do end up seeing Carl, Li and Iris again, it seems like it will be a while yet.

Now, as for the final scene of this chapter... I'm not so sure what to think of Martin here. I do adore the growing closeness between him and Una and the way they very gentle allow themselves to be drawn together. Obviously, this chapter did a lot to build that aspect of their relationship and it did so in a lovely way. I also, I think, understand where he's coming from when cautioning Una about her own exhaustion and broaches the subject of Carl and Li and Iris perhaps being truly dead. He sees her pain and he's trying to find a way to lift some of it... I'm just not entirely sure this is the way to do it? Contrasting it with her earlier conversation with Jerry, it felt to me that Jerry was more successful in finding the right words. Also, obviously, the gift of the bookshop is heartfelt and genuine (as is the gift of the book, which I know to be a favourite of yours), but it comes attached to the warning that he might not come back again - made to Una, who's list of loved people missing is already too long. Does she need this on top of everything?
Tinalouise88 chapter 17 . 8/27/2022
You know when Jerry was first mentioned, I thought some of the conversations were going to be another conversation and you know which one I am talking about. But Still we get a very sad, but cozy sort of talk between siblings who how both suffer in their own way about their brother being missing and possibly just presumed dead at this point to many

We don't get much on how Faith feels about it much, but Jerry seems to have his opinions and musing on the subject. Sometimes it's easy to forget that Faith and Jerry also have lost a brother. I can understand more of their indifference(?) when it comes to Li and Iris. Not that they don't care, but it's not the same as Una, they had never met her, or their niece it's just two people, ghost lost from a war that their siblings should have never been in which is heartbreaking in its own way. But Jerry seems to feel the lose more than Faith, or maybe Jerry and Una just know how to talk to each other.

Either way, it feels like friends and even Martin are the only ones who understand about the missing people that Una is desperate to find. Though if(which really I know the true answer to this one but no spoilers) If Carl was alive at this point...why hasn't he contacted anyone? there would have to be a way for him to get in contact, even if he thinks Una, Li, or Iris is dead, surely he would contact Canada? is he so depressed, that he just can't fathom being around family over the ones he lost? if he is alive...did he lose his memory? I can understand Li and Iris if they are trapped in China or god knows where hopefully not Korea since that war is looming for our Canadian boys as well at this point soon enough.

All that aside, I am with other reviews...Martin really should just propose at this point haha. But I love their style and how they quietly admit things without quite saying the words. 'Only Robin,' 'Careful I may take you up on that'

I mean Una practically proposed to him at this point by giving him the brooch. I can see her sitting in Faith's Kitchen, being like. I think I'm engaged, but I don't really know. I mean he gave me the bookshop and teased there were other ways around this problem, and I told 'careful I may take you up on that...'

Also I do adore I capture the Castle that is for sure...I wonder if that is a small clue of where he might be heading to in a way?
oz diva chapter 17 . 8/25/2022
I enjoyed that warm and comfy scene with Jerry where they use scripture to assuage their collective guilt. It's a scene I could never write having never read the Bible (never got past all those dratted begettings) but you do it so well as they banter back and forth in an attempt to remind each other that they are not to blame. And I think Una really needs this. She is unable to move on, her life is on hold until she gets some closure. My old neighbour's brother was shot down over Indonesia during the war and she said that was the hardest thing on them, no body, he was never anything more than 'missing'.

But I'm with Martin. I get why she must keep searching and I get why she must stop. But Martin ask her to marry you. Bookshops are all very well but a proposal would be even more romantic.
oz diva chapter 16 . 8/25/2022
Though I think she's going above and beyond, I suppose Una is working so hard to find Robin's family in a nod to the karmic gods. Perhaps if she finds them someone on the other side of the world will find hers. Because it is strange that Carl has not turned up if he is ever going to. Either he has amnesia or he is dead. We know (from previous stories) that Iris is alive - still one of my favourite chapters ever, but not of her parents.
oz diva chapter 15 . 8/25/2022
Argh I want to smack Una. You do a good line in a slow burn but poor Martin's patience must be wearing thin. Una needs to take leaf out of Robin's book and thoroughly kiss the poor bloke farwell. (or more)

It's great to see Una back with her friends. I think the family would be quite surprised to see her in this environment. She's got an ease with them that she keeps more hidden at home. No surprises there. I wonder if they too are suffering PTSD and flashbacks, I suppose they are and have unexpected triggers like Una does.
oz diva chapter 14 . 8/25/2022
I can't help feeling that Elise really found herself in the camp. As ghastly as it was, they were her family and though she must have hated to leave Robin, knowing that she had found a good substitute mother in Una must have been wonderfully comforting, she would not have known that had she died in other circumstances.

I suppose what's also interesting is that these women know each other in ways no one else ever could, but still there are secrets they keep close hid. Una's unmarried state, Robin's providence etc. Even in extremis there are some things that still cannot be shared. And looking back through this modern lens they aren't the sorts of things that matter all that much now, but of course back then having a child out of wedlock or being unmarried really was an issue.
OriginalMcFishie chapter 17 . 8/25/2022
There is brilliance in this chapter. A deep understanding of Una's faith that is beyond my own and yet resonates deeply. A raw and powerful portrayal of the tortuous nature of the unplaced grief of one waiting for the missing. Ending in a bottomless well of hope. A beautiful weaving of delicate fabric to create a magnificent tapestry
Parnokianlipstic chapter 17 . 8/25/2022
Well, well, darling... This was everything I hoped for and so much more.

First of all, that Hardy, the perfect Christmas/New Year poem, and the conversation between Una and Jerry, something like that I've been subconsciously hoping for, a watery gray sunrise, and Manses children discussing theology, loss, grief, and resurrection.

Una's inner monologue is almost like a watercolor painting, how you tie the singing, flowing prose together. And then the letters, and Henderson, who is completely incomprehensible! But then again realistic in a way, as all manner of things did sramble up, sideways and so on and so forth.

Una's steely hope, a leisurely pendulum of hope and terror, and indeed resurrection theology at its purest. There are so many wonderful things here, the way the passage of time and the reality of war and rebulding, are shown in January 1950, in the characters of this verse, (Judiths European Family, poor, poor Miri, naturally, so, but still, Kitty and Naomi Arnold, and Franny Razdan, and ACS)

And Una and Martin, and their sweet understanding, and that Una can be as cold as steel and severe as ice, sadness merged together, and Martin supports and encourages her, and giving hope, but also realities.

And that ending, well they're together, and it's now completely adorable, creatively official, the world's cutest proposal, in a byline, Blink and miss it kind of way.
For certain reason I have a Mahler phase going on right now and I happened to be listening to Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen while reading this, and it is too perfect combination.

This, was an utter marvel and joy!
kslchen chapter 16 . 8/21/2022
Fate, it appears, was adamant that Una Meredith and Elise English meet, one way or another. I wonder whether the existence of Robin was the reason Elise never went to the ACS as planned? Methodist or non-Methodist, an unwed mother would likely not have been received kindly there by some of Una's colleagues. From the Magdalene Laundries, Elise knew the kind of 'charity' then doled out to so-called 'fallen women' and knew to question the wisdom of subjecting oneself to it. Fr. Sowerby was kind to her, but he wasn't the rule for the time, so I imagine it wasn't enough for Elise to put her fate and the fate of her child into the hands of a quasi-Christian institution again, I imagine. It's quite tragic because she and Una could have met that much sooner and under happier circumstances, despite everything, but of course, that's hindsight.

I'm glad that Una and Robin (and by extension, we readers) got to meet Fr. Sowerby before returning to Canada. Most of the information he had to give were already included in the letter he got, so despite the little nugget of the ACS being her intended destination, we don't learn anything really new. However, meeting him sort of gives Elise's story something like closure. It's a sad story and she was, indeed, a poor child and woman, but it now feels like the search of Elise's story can be closed. Una and Fr. Sowerby meeting is bringing together the two people who tried to help Elise the most in her life, giving it a lovely sort of balance. For Fr. Sowerby, I think it was also important to meet Robin, to see the girl whose life was probably only made possible by his support to her mother - and maybe to get a glimpse of the girl Elise could have been if fate had dealt her a kinder hand.

Watching Robin traipse through life in a way that makes her the natural successor to Puck, reminds us, I think, of Una's greatest achievement, too. She's lived a life in support of others, so there must be dozens or hundreds of people whom she has touched over the years, but Robin stands out among them all. Una took on the task of keeping her alive at the camp, against all odds, and she not only made sure that Robin survived, she made sure that she lived and continues to live. In the beginning, everything was stacked against Robin and when Elise died, her fate could easily have been sealed, but Una had other ideas and she prevailed. With all the hardship and trauma, Robin could have turned out a troubled child, but she's lively and happy and loving and cheerful and that's a delight to see. Of course, Robin played her own part in saving Una, but she's also a credit to what Una's particular brand of love coupled with tenacity can do.

In less bittersweet news, Iain and Emily getting engaged it marvellous. They've been heading there for a while, but given that there was a different path open to Iain and that I know you were thinking about which path to send him down, I was wondering whether this was one engagement we'd see happen. He and Emily make for a beautiful match and he's so absorbed within the circle of these women that it feels just right and I'm glad this is the path he chose. It also feels right to have him not go back to Canada, because while some members of his generation are firmly rooted there, i don't think Iain ever truly was. In that way, he's not dissimilar to Una and I wonder when the time will come that she had to deliver news of her own leave-taking?
Tinalouise88 chapter 16 . 8/18/2022
Well, you are very right about enjoying Robin's dress, such a dress it is. No wonder she doesn't mind wearing it!

Father Sowerby in the flesh as well. It is interesting how timelines are narrowly missed but crossed later on. Fate in its own way for Una to end up with Robin. I also very much approve of all the Nancy Drew, which is a classic upon Classics of course. But we both know that.

Of course Iain and Emily are getting married! Method to the madness of hedges indeed, but it also sounds oddly romantic in its own way. though Iain, get out when you can and have a life with your wife.
However how the news brings Una back to the past, to the camp and Li's ring, to Carl at the train station, to old beaus, but also new ones. How our Mr. Gnome has invaded her life and now even her give her new ones to look back on these days.

She may not like to admit it to many people, or even possibly even to herself, but she is head over heels at this point.

Also the plush parrot sounds amazing, and Una must be glad it's plush for a change!
OriginalMcFishie chapter 16 . 8/18/2022
I live a good engagement and this was perfect especially after coming off the back of Elise's sad story. it seems as if internment gave her family and community and acceptance in a way she hadn't had before., as well as the horrors it bought
Parnokianlipstic chapter 16 . 8/18/2022
Oh! This chapter is like sweet candy, layers, and layers, and cutting sensitivity, and surprises. Your prose sings, as ever.
Naturally, Judith has made a dress for Robin, and Fr. Sowerby was everything I expected, and the meeting between Una and him was bittersweet, and light flashbacks from the days of ASC, Una and Elise really were fated to meet, at some point, as Una herself said, and then the Anglican Church, and a silent understanding of Elise's fate, and the chosen family, that have now met each other.

And that church scene, well, I almost cried here. But what really stood out was Una's own feelings towards both Robin( Parrots, adventure-novels, of all kinds, and creating allkinds of routines of life loved and lived in Unas and Robins little universe) and Martin Swallow when that particular piece of news came out, clear self-reflection of earlier shades, on Una's part, and extremely beautifully crafted, and of course I smiled your in-verse nods about Iain family. I loved this!
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