Reviews for A Conspiracy of Concern
Edward Carson chapter 10 . 8/21
It takes a great deal of skill to bring a bunch of people together in a room and give them all something to do, even as the focus remains on a few key players. Miss Pole, as usual, manages to take a very small portion and make something great of it. Captain Brown is the delight here, and you have very cleverly set him up to be misunderstood by Mr. Carter and Miss Galindo. Poor man, Captain Brown, he seems a bit out of kilter with the rest of Cranford - and all because he would speak his heart and mind more openly. Everyone is perfectly drawn in their various moments. I hear their voices speak your words.
Edward Carson chapter 9 . 8/21
As you venture off the beaten track of the story you must rely more on your own imagination to tell the story and yet remain true to Cranford. You have managed this. The detail and the diversions are well executed.
Edward Carson chapter 8 . 8/21
This chapter is nicely understated and very well written. Here is Mr. Carter, who had a nicely ordered life, and then all these people came into it and complicated it for him. I like his realization that he is a man like any other where Miss Galindo is concerned. You have communicated the complexity of his feelings without overwhelming us with the details.
Edward Carson chapter 7 . 8/21
I had to read it twice before I understood the "inappropriateness" of the "having our heads" line. This is nuance, Mr. Carter himself having had his attention drawn by Lady Ludlow to the horrors of the French Revolution.
Edward Carson chapter 6 . 8/17
Captain Brown is a delight in Heidi Thomas's rendering, as well as in yours - in both places visually represented by the wonderful Jim Carter. I see the consistency here with the TV series Brown. He may not have seen his daughter's romance blooming, but he has learned from his oversights. He is also not shy of women or of acknowledging their contribution to a man's happiness. It is one of his most attractive features. And his sensitivity regarding Miss Galindo is even more compelling than his concern for his friend, especially that thought about spinsters. Captain Brown does not like to see others unhappy and will do what he can to alleviate their pain. Mrs. Jameson's sister-in-law appears to have been a lucky woman (in Return to Cranford), so long as she can put up with The Pickwick Papers. This was a particularly well done piece.
Edward Carson chapter 5 . 8/17
It is hard to put ourselves into the past. I appreciate here the conversation between Miss Galindo and Beckett and the way she takes affront at what he is saying as taking liberties beyond his role. It's like the maid who tries to tell Miss Pole that she's bought a ... whatever you call those skirt things - instead of a bird cage. You can't be right, if you're not at the same social level as me...
Edward Carson chapter 4 . 8/17
For all that he is an original character, Anthony Beckett fits right in. It is a thoughtful touch on Lady Ludlow's part to spare Mr. Carter the attentions of the ladies. Oh, dear Captain Brown and The Pickwick Papers - he will not let that go. The detail about that book - Mr. Burton's wooden legs - is precisely the kind of thing that adds layers to your writing and makes it more powerful thereby. And then there is the frankness of a child: "Is Mr. Carter going to die?"
Edward Carson chapter 3 . 8/15
Mr. Carter's agonies are well beyond the physical: "brought to Hanbury." He has become dependent. And then the humiliation of kindnesses, too. This is an insightful glimpse into the mind of a man whose life has changed radically and in such disturbing ways. This is nicely done.
Edward Carson chapter 2 . 8/15
Such restraint on their part. We are not accustomed to this world of stoicism and keeping one's counsel, we who spill our thoughts and emotions at the slightest pretext. It makes for powerful drama that they are silent, even while teeming with emotions and apprehensions and uncertainties. The tension between Miss Galindo and Mr. Carter is palpable. And Captain Brown is beautifully done. I hear him speaking. In all cases, less is more. Your writing is pared to the necessary and the more powerful for it.
Edward Carson chapter 1 . 8/15
Between them, Elizabeth Gaskell and Heidi Thomas killed off a lot of characters. I was sad to see most of them go, but none more so than Mr. Carter. This was a heart-breaker. Thank you for re-writing this history. You've set it up well and now... forward!
BellatrixCoraCrawley303 chapter 41 . 2/26
I have just reread this, id forgotten how good it was! I just wish you had continued the story. Im dying to know what happened next. I realise its difficult to be inspired, as a fellow writer i know how it feels, but do revisit this story and see what you come up with, what are their fates? This story is incredible, and a joy to read :D
OfCorset chapter 41 . 12/18/2014
Hi KDN, I really enjoy your Carter/Laurentia characters and hope you will continue their story soon.
sunshine and lollipops chapter 1 . 7/9/2014
Eeeeek! So lovely! Such detail! And so much more for me to read. YAY. Oh, this will be an absolute delight - I can tell from the first chapter! I'll check back in when I've finished reading the rest. Cheers! :)
ElvishKiwis Venerated Ancestor chapter 41 . 6/7/2014
Well, I have reached the end of your chapters although not the end of your story.
I must say I have enjoyed the journey immensely and hope that God might grant you opportunity to continue writing in the near future.
I am no stranger to slow updates, having about three stories on the go myself, which have suffered from lack of attention. It is hard with a large family and creative husband, as well as a home business to get the necessary time to write.
I am sorry for being too lazy/impatient to review as I went along. There are several moments where I would have enjoyed interacting with you about certain references which delighted or passages which confused me, but alas they are lost now in the overall pleasure and joy your story has given me.
I am very glad to discover another favourite author on , and in a genre I have not had the pleasure of many updates from.
I found this story out through your community. I was actually looking for fics about Gaskell's 'Ruth' but the search didn't turn up with any. It did however suggest Cranford, and particularly your community of stories from this genre.
I would love to PM you about the whole 'inclusion of scripture and Christianity in our novels' issue. I have had much discussion with other Christian authors on this site about how to bring God glory in our writing, and have been disappointed by the general consensus that writing stories which are inoffensive and demonstrate personalities of Good character, as well as themes of redemption (in a reforming of bad character by their own will or the loving influence of some lady) is all that is required.
Not having read Cranford yet, nor any of the other novels you are basing this story on, I am able to treat this story like an original fiction, which is actually a very nice position to be in.
My favourite minor female character is probably Lady Ludlow. She is very complex and seemingly contradictory, which is exactly what one would expect of an aristocrat of her age and disposition. I dearly love her many flaws, which are like a shabby faded mask of generational prejudice covering the face of a woman who, though plain and unremarkable, has eyes which reveal a sincere, genuine and kindly (if not a little tormented), soul. I have no patience whatsoever with her son Septimus. He may be a thoughtless rouge for all I know and care, and doesn't seem to deserve so much faithfulness from his lonely mother. Carter is more of a son to her that he.
I also like Captain Brown immensely, especially at the beginning of your novel when he tries his hand at matchmaking. I have read enough of Cranford now (about 3 chapters), to know that he is one of Gaskell's delightfully complex characters and you have preserved his life to good effect. I was very sorry when she killed him of so early in the story.
Your miriads of spinsters and widows however could use a little more character distinction. I know this must be hard with such a multitudinous cast, but I find it helpful in such situations to allocate each one a real life alter ego so that I can keep them very separate in my mind. Please don't get me wrong, I think you do a fabulous job on the whole Miss Pole is quite distinct, and I love it that she was so indespensible to Mrs Gordon at the time of her confinement. It shows a side of her personality which I like, and is quite compatible with the slanderous critic she is on other occasions to those she think beneath her or fallen from her standards of right and wrong.
I am very fond of Dr Jack Marshland. He is a very complex minor character, especially when he botches his diner date with Mary Smith's relatives. I so relate to that sort of 'nerves' as her Aunt was so gracious to call them the next day. I like it that you have written him with an Irish accent without trying to transcribe the words: simply through the variation in sentence structure.
The chapter I am presently working on in Aff 'n Aff has a character who I am attempting to write with a cockney accent. I have tried the transliteration method, rejected it and put it all back into plain English with the addition of a few cant words, and have been presently putting it all back into transliterated words again. His voice will be quite important to be recognisable later in the third novel of my trilogy so I don't want to make a mistake about it. But I am not sure what to do. It doesn't help that I have no friend who uses this accent available to study here on the other side of the world from 'Mother England'. I am inclined to use Dickens approach, but it can be rather tedious to silent readers, which I imagine most patrons of this site to be. Of course Dicken's books (IMO), are made to be read aloud, so the transliterations are invaluable.
Now you even have Austen novels! You may get your literary club into Walter Scott and the Bronte sisters as well, I hope, with no offense to their Christian sensibilities, or of the late Miss Deborah Jenkyns's rest in her oft recalled grave.
Anyway, I hope this review makes up for the fact that I have neglected the rest of the chapters, and I also hope that it inspires you to take up the tools of your trade again (I would have written 'pen', but 'keyboard', while being more accurate, does not have the same ring to it).
Yours gratefully
ElvishKiwis Venerated Ancestor chapter 23 . 6/7/2014
I have been selfishly reading your story all evening without leaving even a hint of how pleased I am with it. I will confess I am new to the delights of Mrs Gaskell's writings. I found her after reading Charlotte Bronte's biography and on her recommendation, and until now, was resignedly disappointed that none of the fanfictions I have read of North and South, or Wives and Daughters, seem to have retained her ability to weave deep spiritual lessons into her stories and characters lives, giving them a depth which modern characters rarely have without it.
So far you have taught your minor characters powerful, and apparently life changing, lessons about the sinfulness and harm of gossip and slander; You have given your hero and his beloved patient faith despite the many frustrations God has placed in their path, and now you are quoting scripture, with skill, wit and an appropriateness which reveals that you are familiar with it and dedicated to using it for the benefit of your readers.
You are a woman after my own heart!
Add to that a love for Dickens, Shakespeare and history (Eleanor of Aquitaine's biography was one of my more enjoyable reads too!), and I fully suspect we might be soul mates... or at least soul siblings.
I am glad I am having the day off mothering tomorrow because it is 3:30 am, and there will be no devastating consequences ( other than using up my morning of writing time to sleep off the all-nighter) to my indulgence. I now must consider whether to continue reading until dawn or snatch a bit of sleep and use the incentive of the second half of this story to drive me to complete the editing which I had sought this retreat to accomplish.
It is actually very good for my vocabulary to immerce myself in well written 19th century literature as it helps me to write my own story in more of a period style.
Anyway, I just wanted to pause and say thank you.
Sincerely from
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