|Reviews for Garden of Shadows: The Missing Chapters|
| one.long.melody chapter 7 . 9/22/2010
I know I say this following each installment, but this was yet another splendid chapter!
I must admit I found the 'Anna Karenina' quote fascinating, in view of it cropping up in one of our most recent conversations. :)
I can identify with Olivia's apprehensions concerning large parties and overall crowds. I was very antisocial when I was younger, and could never function well around more than one or two people at a time.
Olivia's reaction to Malcolm's celebratory plans is exactly what someone who knows her character well would expect to see. Another thing that didn't surprise me was her determination to hold the details surrounding Corrine's birth over his head. It is so characteristic of him not to want to own up to his sole responsibility in this situation, and Olivia's refusal to back down never fails to be admirable.
("Best!" he exploded. "Olivia, you are being unreasonable. You always went to local private schools, and you have no idea what it is like to be sent away from home. It is obvious that Mal wants to be here. This was a mistake, I tell you, a mistake!")
I can understand Malcolm's objections here. Not only because of what he was forced to endure as a child by being sent away from home to school, but because your take on the subject really insinuates the idea that he truly does care for his children, and is doing his best to look out for them. I'll admit I was never able to spot many admirable qualities in Malcolm before, but this - THIS sort of trait is something to be GREATLY admired. :)
When you mentioned Malcolm had a cousin, I was expecting it to be Jonathan. XD But was I disappointed? Heck, no! And the fact that ADELAIDE received a few mentions made me very happy indeed. It is amusing, as well as realistic, that Everett and Malcolm are alike in every way. I loved the descriptions of Everett's and Frances' children, too; especially the way Victoria was so attentive to little Joel. He is so sweet, and I was very happy to see him make a friend.
(My home and my family were my own once more, and no longer would I, or anyone else, compare me, with my "Yankee" ways and voice-as Garland used to tease me about-with Alicia's soft-spoken, mild-mannered presence.)
Aww, Garland and his teasing ways. XD My grandfather - who lives in Texas - made references like that every time we went to visit when I was younger. But, unlike Garland's gentle teasing, my grandfather's ways were just MEAN. Still, I can understand Olivia's annoyance to being mocked for something like this, jokingly or not.
I liked as well the subtle similarities between Frances and Alicia. I can't see Olivia ever having an affair, either. Not only because of the lasting effect it would have on Malcolm's already fragile mental state, but because an affair doesn't strike me to be in the nature of her character. It's clear from both the canon and the way you write her that she is unhappy in her marriage, but I can't see her ever doing something with even the slightest potential of affecting her children negatively. We were shown this with the careful procedures she went through upon discovering Alicia's pregnancy with Corrine, after all.
Another part I enjoyed was Olivia's and Malcolm's conversation concerning Mal. Since Mal has been reading the Dictionary, I can definitely see him using a word like "loan". LOL how priceless IS that?
("I'm telling you, Malcolm, he'll grow up to be a great writer."
"Don't encourage him in that direction. He will certainly not be a writer!" Malcolm snapped. "He's equally quick with numbers. I've been teaching him to read the stock tables.")
It's very unfortunate and sad that Malcolm would discourage Olivia from supporting Mal's potential as a writer, such as he did with Alicia when she taught Mal piano. And Malcolm is teaching Mal to read the stock tables? LOL.
("Still, I'm continuously surprised by the words he understands and can pronounce correctly. My favorite was last night's from dinner-something about opulence and oppression. It seems to be some sort of seven-year-old's commentary on our life. He's got one prepared for his return to school.")
I would love to know more details of this, but I like how you wrote it in such a way that it's left to the reader's imagination to figure out. :)
Congratulations to you for another lovely chapter featuring the fabulous Foxworth clan.
*bows down to you*
| one.long.melody chapter 6 . 9/10/2010
Such an amazing chapter - in fact, I do believe it to be my favorite yet! Where to begin? Hmm...
Just as in 'Flight of Fancy', I absolutely loved your take on Alicia. It is so like her to hesitate in sending Christopher to Mr. Chillingworth - whom I've always envisioned to be overly strict; I can't recall now if that was mentioned in the canon or not - for lessons. Her excuse that Christopher would distract Mal and Joel was the perfect way to express her disinterest.
I rather wondered where Garland was when he didn't return home on schedule, but I guess it wasn't important, seeing as there was no further mention of it. :)
("Perhaps," he said, "having little more to do with your days than listening to nursery rhymes, has dulled your ability to concentrate so much that you cannot perform a task as simple as keeping track of what belongs to you.")
My goodness, but Malcolm doesn't appear to care WHOM he hurts, does he? Still, this is just the type of insult he would direct at (poor little) Alicia. I really admired the way Olivia defended her, even if she wasn't in the room to witness it, and even if Olivia did agree - to some extent - with her husband's convictions.
I enjoyed the way she stood up to Malcolm and his womanizing ways. Good for her! It's unfortunate that women back then were so passive about things like that, and the fact that Olivia is the complete opposite is what I admire most about her character. The dialogue exchange between her and Malcolm was written exceptionally well, too, and really makes the reader believe that they're reading an original work by V.C. Andrews.
I'll admit I found Alicia's complaints about Olivia not bringing her the food she wanted quite comical. Which is nice, because it's connected to the scene I found to be most distressing while reading the book (I got so upset when Olivia cut off all of her hair). I loved as well Alicia's mention of hers and Garland's little cafe spot (fic ideas...rising... XD).
("Don't you want to hear about the cafe, Olivia? I'll bet you could even make some of those delicious little cakes.")
This part made me LOL. I adore Alicia's relentlessness in her desire to share with those around her all of her 'Tales of Garland Foxworth'. She never fails to be adorable, even when in the most distressing of situations. I almost myself wanting to shout "Come on, Olivia! Let her tell the story!" XD
I really liked Alicia's observation about Corrine, how if she (Corrine) hadn't married Garland, then Alicia would never have found herself in the position she's in, which is so very true. You already know I follow the idea that Alicia would feel sympathy rather than jealousy toward Garland's relationship with his first wife. Therefore, I can see Alicia doing something like keeping a photograph of Corrine by her bedside incredibly believable. I also found it very sweet her explanation of how she hoped the photo would "tell (her) a story about Garland".
Hmm...Mal seems to be turning into quite the terror, doesn't he? No doubt about where he gets that from. ;) I can understand his jealousy toward his mother and Christopher which, now that I think about it, relates perfectly to Olivia's jealousy toward Malcolm and Alicia. The only difference is that she's older, and therefore knows how to keep her emotions in check.
(I made a mental note to call and remind Malcolm, who had a way of forgetting his promises.)
LOL. It's classic Garland Foxworth behavior, even if Malcolm won't admit it. :D
("No, 'cause he got sick last time. That's because he's a sissy." interjected Mal, in a matter-of-fact way.)
Oh, I do love Mal, but he's just so mean to Joel, and Christopher, too! It's good to know he outgrows his 'mean streak' once he gets older.
And Millicent has returned! Oh, that DID make me happy, as well as the introduction of little Carrie/Caroline. :) Mal's unpleasantness was more funny than anything, TBH, especially the way he responded to Carrie's offer of peach ice-cream.
Again, wonderful chapter, and I hope my review wasn't riddled with too much "OMG Garland and Alicia fangirl squeal!" comments. XD I really did try to make note of everything. :)
| one.long.melody chapter 5 . 9/4/2010
Yet another magnificent chapter! On the other hand, should I really be surprised? Erm...no. ;)
You've really captured Olivia's anguish in response to her miscarriage. Malcolm's impatience for the time it's taking her to recover was spot-on, though I've got to give him credit for presenting her with his grandmother's bracelet. Hmm...there seems to be a pattern with Foxworth men giving their wives/girlfriends bracelets, doesn't there? :D
Olivia reading her mother's diary, and the descriptions of Olivia as a child, are very believable indeed. Why doesn't it shock me that she was a chatterbox?
I really enjoyed Millicent Hanscomb's character. It's so good that Olivia has finally found someone she not only gets on so well with, but with whom she can learn from. Millicent's remark about Amanda Biddens - I love how you've found such creative ways to include her in your fics, despite her being such a minor character in canon - was hilarious (Millicent reminds me a bit of the single mother on the television series 'Mad Men'). And she has a daughter named Carrie!
"Mother and I saw you once-it must have been last fall, because Mother remarked on how pretty your coat was, and your hair. You were just coming out of the Amesbury building, and you were holding a baby."
One of the things I believe to be true of Olivia is that she never gives herself enough credit. She constantly compares her own looks to those of other women, when in reality she IS attractive.
"Is this a gift for someone special?" she asked brightly, as she began to place the brooch in a box. I had decided against buying it, but I found I couldn't say so.
"Yes," I said. "it is. It's for myself."
"Ah, you're the very limit! I like that." she smiled.
This part was so cute and funny. I love Millicent's sense of humor; the way she knows how to be funny without embarrassing someone else.
It is SO LIKE Malcolm to complain about Olivia being a meager ten minutes late! And Edward Camden is such a chauvinist for that "It's what you ladies like best to do" remark. Grrr.
"What sort of person takes a three-year honeymoon trip? That's extravagant by anyone's standards." I said.
Yes, it is. But he's Garland Foxworth, who is lovely, and therefore can get away with it. ;)
You can imagine my enthusiasm at the end of the chapter when it was announced that Garland and Alicia has arrived at Foxworth Hall. *rubs hands together in glee* :) :) :) Your description of Olivia's reaction to Alicia and her pregnancy was so realistic and heartbreaking. Although we've seen this in the canon, the emotion here is very much intensified by the knowledge of what Olivia went through in the previous chapter.
| one.long.melody chapter 4 . 8/27/2010
My apologies for not reading or commenting sooner. I recently started another Dollanganger-centered fic that has taken up a great deal of my spare time.
Such a sad chapter! ;_; Or at least the end was. I knew all along that Olivia would miscarry, or that the baby would somehow die after it was born, maybe even adopted by someone else (though thinking on it now I don't see why)...but the miscarriage seemed like a more likely occurrence. Malcolm's reaction to the doctor's proposed 'procedure' for Olivia is just the type of reaction we'd expect from him - after all, we know at this point how much he wants a daughter.
I loved Olivia's dream sequence/memory of Mal's birth, and Malcolm's response of "He looks like a baby." when she inquired about his appearance. :D Malcolm is such an unpleasant character, but a character who's unpleasant in an amusing way - and those make for the best type of characters IMO. :)
Joel would DEFINITELY have to be delivered via Caesarian. Between him and Mal, I think Joel is my favorite. It's probably the whole allergy thing, which is something I find to be very lovable in characters. :)
You did an excellent job on the comedy in the opening scene - Joel's display with the pots and pans made me LOL! I adored as well Mal's imitation of his mother with "You're so clever," and Malcolm's response really finalized it. It just goes to show his inability of being humble, regardless of who's handing out the compliments.
His jealous reaction to John Amos' letter struck me as being very reminiscent of Julian and his reaction to Cathy in 'Petals on the Wind' when she told him that she would be attending Chris' graduation from medical school. Knowing how situations in characters' lives in the Dollanganger Saga often overlap, I wondered if one of your intentions with that scene was in making a connection between the two couples (also because I was reading the chapter in PotW just yesterday, and so it's still fresh in my mind).
"They're both asleep. Mal is lying splayed on his back, with arms dangling off either side of his bed."
I'm not sure what it is about that last part that amuses me so much. XD I'm assuming it was your intention, so forgive me if I state the obvious, but I get the impression that Malcolm’s anxiety is forcing him to say unnecessary things. In any case, I just thought I’d point out that - despite the seriousness of that scene - I found that one part very funny. :)
| one.long.melody chapter 3 . 8/18/2010
Extremely well written chapter (well, they all are, but you know what I mean ;)). The communication between Olivia and Mal was positively precious, like that of a mother and her child in the real world. As for Malcolm, his impatience with his children is simply appalling! Why does it not surprise me that he'd give Joel gin to keep him quiet?
I enjoyed the contrast on Olivia's personality during that scene. In the canon we were shown someone who went to such lengths to control her emotions, but I can see something as psychologically overpowering as pregnancy causing this to fall to the wayside. Olivia's actions convey this so well and really enhances the idea of just how vulnerable she is.
| one.long.melody chapter 2 . 8/16/2010
Chapter 2 (slowly but surely I'm catching up, lol)!
I loved Olivia's and Malcolm's conversation on the beach, and how, as children, their similarities between the ways of escaping their problems. The lake seems to be a popular 'escape' for the residents at Foxworth Hall, doesn't it? And so it makes so much sense that it would serve as Malcolm's way of (temporarily) leaving behind his troubles.
John Amos as the 'unlovely, sallow-faced baby'! Goodness! It took me a few moments to realize that's who it was, and it's absolutely the most amusing thing I've ever read about. Poor John! I can just imagine a six-year-old Olivia (I think that's the age difference between them) standing over his crib and making a face. XD
I loved the little tender moment between Malcolm and Olivia as well; the way he fulfilled her wish of 'the perfect kiss', even though his reasons were based on getting her to return to Virginia with him.
I read on Wikipedia once that one of the inconsistencies between GoS and FitA was how the dollhouse ended up at Foxworth Hall. The way you've shown the occurrence of this was brilliant, and that I'm positive would have been exactly the same in the canon had it been mentioned.
GoS just wasn't enough of a 'Foxworth fix' for me, and so I thank you for providing fans with your incredible stories and interpretations. They truly are a work of art!
| one.long.melody chapter 1 . 8/15/2010
I've been meaning for the past week or so to start reading this. Even though I've only read the first chapter, I can still say with every ounce of honesty that it is an absolutely amazing piece of work.
I loved how, in the beginning, Olivia was remembering parts of her childhood. I definitely believe it was visits like that to her father's place of business that inspired her to do something similar when she became an adult.
The idea of Malcolm's inability to understand his wife's loving bond with her father really brings to light his strained relationship with his own father. One of the ongoing themes V.C. uses (as I'm sure you're well aware) is the closeness between young women and their fathers, and you've done a beautiful job expressing that through Olivia's character.
Malcolm would NEVER be able to handle (or claim not to, at least) Mal and Joel when Olivia was gone. Ever. :D The fact that Malcolm drove so many hours to join her at her father's house actually makes the idea quite comical.
Well, that's about all I can think to say for now. But you can bet I'll be reading more soon, and continue to leave positive feedback. :)
| Sherry Mauro chapter 1 . 12/16/2009
AWESOME! Loved it! good work
| The Celestial chapter 1 . 2/16/2009
This will never get old, ever. I miss you! Write more,like now! :P
| The Celestial chapter 21 . 1/29/2008
Wow, just wow.
I could totally see this being Canon! Incredible work!
| Miss. Miyazawa chapter 1 . 6/4/2007
Perfectly descriptive and memorable-this appears to be a promising first glimpse into a melancholic journey. Kudos to you for writing such an emotional piece and I will definitely read the rest.
| greensapphire chapter 21 . 12/5/2006
Is it really The End? well if it is then Wow Gray this whole story it just you got me so into it I couldn't stop reading everything from the details of objects to the characters now at least from your point of view got an even better knowledge on Olivia and Malcolm I can't wait what you have in store for next story till then D
| Heavenlydoll chapter 21 . 12/3/2006
i love your story! it was very beautifully written! it was a good perspective of olivia and malcolm.
| Heavenlydoll chapter 20 . 12/2/2006
good chapter! i must say, i find Olivia Ann's character to be a tad unnecessary, but i'm sure you have a purpose for her. can't wait to read more!
| Erica Christian chapter 1 . 11/27/2006
On Chapter One:
Truly excellent. Very well-written. Great descriptions and very in depth look into Olivia's mind.
The only problems I could see were that there seemed to be some run-on sentences here and there that tripped me up. For example, "It lit the way for him past the bookcase, a loveseat with carved, curved back, my slant-top writing desk, and on the opposite wall the wide table displaying the dollhouse,
which stood like a shadow of itself, the colors of the stained-glass Magnolia window behind it cloaked by darkness."
I was also confused by the following sentence:
"Malcolm did not care to help me, or to know what I felt. If only the glass could splinter and draw blood, as mine had been drawn... but that would never happen. "
Does she mean she wishes the shards of their marriage would cut him too? If so, it could perhaps be explained more clearly.
Anyway, other than that, this is great. In some ways it feels like it could be inserted inside the original text, but in other ways, it feels like it stands on its own as a first chapter.
I'm very impressed. Now to read chapter two and so on.
Oh yeah, loved the poem, who is it by?