Reviews for So Much Once Was Thine
Mimi chapter 8 . 7/15/2014
I saw the sequel description which referenced this fic so I found it to read first. This was such a ying/yang tale - sad and joy. So well developed! Can't wait to read the sequel!
Rachel Smith Cobleigh chapter 8 . 8/23/2013
Lovely, really lovely. I like how you told the story of the wedding day from Robert's perspective, giving us a view of Matthew and Mary from the outside.
Guest chapter 8 . 8/4/2013
I've just found this story. Love the mention of ghosts, regrets, trying to be honest and having a second chance. The New Years' wedding and the change of a decade was beautiful. Loved Violet, true to the character.
eyeon chapter 8 . 4/27/2013
Beautiful! I'd write more, but I don't want to sob all over my keyboard! So touching.
luvgoround chapter 1 . 2/14/2013
This sounds so good. What a great storyline. Can't wait to read more.
Lola chapter 8 . 12/11/2012
Just read this through in one sitting.. What a beautiful story! And such an interesting premise.. Loved getting both the beginning and end from Robert's perspective and seeing how at peace he was. The balance between sadness and romance was just right as well in helping feel Mary's conflict. This was just so lovely overall.. Thanks :)
nadstar3 chapter 8 . 7/4/2012
So beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.
nadstar3 chapter 6 . 7/4/2012
Your writing is so beautiful. With the perfect measure of emotion and angst and love and regret, you write their story. So happy I found this story.
matrim cuthon chapter 8 . 7/4/2012
excellent story
JLJMc chapter 8 . 5/16/2012
Beautiful! :) Such a lovely and emotional story!
Ricole chapter 8 . 4/15/2012
What a lovely story. An example of one of the great possibilities of (good) fanfiction: to take a situation markedly different from what actually happened in the show/movie/book and make all the characters' reactions so believable that you can imagine it almost *did* happen that way after all.

I absolutely loved Mary's little breakdown-it seemed so realistic. Of course she's happy to be marrying Matthew, but that doesn't mean she's happy about everything else going on, and the stress was just too much. I also adored her conversation with Robert afterward. (Every bit as sweet as the lovely Mary/Robert scene in the Christmas special, IMO.)

And Violet, at the end, ready to fight for future great-granddaughters-a perfect touch. The recap of the whole family through Robert's eyes was excellent, too.
smndolphin chapter 8 . 3/25/2012
And now chapter 7:

The broken record is getting queued again, because once more, no words for how much I would have loved to see this scene played out on screen. Hugh and Michelle do such amazing work and have this incredible father/daughter dynamic, and I could clearly hear them saying these words in my head and visualize the scene. I loved how Mary was at first concerned that something worse had happened while she was away, and the realization of the depth of her father's illness through something as seemingly little as him not coming down for dinner. Loved also how the conversation that followed was completely in line with how IMHO Mary and Robert have been portrayed in canon. I loved the bit about how if Robert had a say, she'd have been among those who found out that day only to have her retort that if he had a say, NONE of them would have been among the ranks, and how he could only agree. It was also wonderful to see them have a candid conversation regarding Matthew and his place in Robert's heart. Loved the distinction that while Robert loved him like a son, he wasn't his son and that made a difference in why he could tell Matthew but not her. It wasn't because he loved Matthew more, because of course he didn't. It was a different kind of love. And poor Mary, having a hard time imagining her children, Matthew children, which would not be the same, and not know their grandpapa. But most of all, loved how their aired everything out and to top it off, Mary decided to have dinner with him instead of downstairs. Absolutely priceless.

Loved that Matthew kept his word and was back, and clearly waited for some time before she came down. Couldn't help but giggle, albeit sadly, at the Dickens reference, especially given that Christmas had just taken place. Loved that Mary took issue to Matthew casting himself as the Ghost of Christmas Future. Loved the nod back to the concert and heart just soared over Matthew's admission that the library was where he realized he wanted to marry her, and the ring! I knew he could never give her the same ring as Lavinia (assuming he still had it) and of course anything from Vile Richard would be ... vile, so for him to give her his mother's ring ... that also just showed just how much Mary meant to him, how much he loved her and for how long. And to think of what the ring meant to Isobel and how it all just brought to full realization that the wedding she'd been dwelling on didn't really matter. All that mattered was the marriage to come, with this wonderful man who loved her so deeply, and nothing else mattered. And yes, among so many other scenes in this wonderful story, Matthew and Mary need to have this conversation in canon :).

And now we have our lovely wedding :). Loved Robert's thoughts regarding not just Mary, but all his daughters. I loved how Robert insisted on taking Mary down the aisle and while I couldn't help but shudder a bit to remember the wheelchair, I was glad it came to proper use to allow Robert to participate in the day. Again, could easily visualize the wedding, stripped down to its necessities because as was established, the wedding was not important, the marriage was. Loved how Robert caught a glimpse of them off the side, wrapped up in each other. Which was lovely to see because despite the gloom that caused the rushed timing, at the end of it, this was Matthew and Mary's day, and they had every right in the world to sneak off and share a kiss.

Loved also that you managed to get in a great Violet moment in her promise, and I firmly believe she'd do it, that if Matthew and Mary have daughters, she'd push the bill through Parliament herself to protect their inheritance. And while it was a sad realization of how much Robert would miss, it was good to know there would be others to help.

And as a sucker for scenes Matthew/Robert, loved their conversation from Matthew thanking him to talking about Robert's father (which if he were to appear in flashbacks better be played by Jim Broadbent) and Robert's own concerns about taking over as Earl before he felt was his time. Loved how Matthew and Mary were holding off on their honeymoon because it was important not to lose anymore time. Of course Robert would object, but shouldn't he know better to go against his headstrong daughter ... especially now that she has backup?

Loved the image at the end of Robert and Cora going for a walk with the knowledge that Downton was in good hands, that the future Earl and Countess were finally together, finally happy.

Please forgive the massive ramblings. Spreading out the review over two days gave me time to think of things and I was a sobbing mess when I finished this the first time. Thank you again for your amazing work!
smndolphin chapter 6 . 3/25/2012
Picking back up with chapter 4 :)

Loved how Matthew took in everyone's reaction to Mary's announcement. Starting to sound like a broken record, but again, I love how you've made this so easy to visualize. It made sense to have Matthew pick up where she left off and announce the engagement to the family. I felt for Matthew, Mary, and Robert as they tried to explain why they wished to be married as soon as possible. It was definitely so true that they really had waited long enough to get to this the best parts was the Dowager catching them *ALL* unawares with the brilliant idea of having the wedding on NYE. She brought up some brilliant points which were hard for everyone in the room, including trained arguers (is that a word?) like Isobel, to refute. But what I think I loved the most was watching, for lack of a better term, Mary and Matthew. While it was clear they wanted to marry each other because of their own feelings, the timing was being dictated from things completely outside their control and it was going to be a problem. As a result, it was interesting especially to see how Mary was acting and reacting and I would have loved to have seen Michelle act this out. Michelle has this amazing way of relaying multiple emotions at once, and I could have seen Mary as a result showing both her happiness at the prospect of marrying the man she loves, her fears/sadness/anger at the secret her father is keeping and at the potential loss, and plain infuriation that so many aspects of her wedding planning were being usurped. Same goes for Matthew, also blessed to be played by an actor with a very very expressive face and eyes, so it's easy to see Dan with a smile on his face and a shadow of guilt and sadness just lurking there in his eyes. Loved that in the end some compromise was reached and especially loved seeing Matthew and Mary in part voluntarily and in part instinctually slide into their new roles as an engaged couple, the smiles, the handholding, the kiss that lingered just a bit too long. Especially loved the statement/question to Matthew that everything would be alright. Could also see Matthew's pondering about how so much had changed in a day. Some things for the absolute better, and some very much not. No, sadly timing has never been on Matthew's and Mary's side in the past, not really. But it's hard to be too sad when they are FINALLY back on track, despite the outlying circumstances.

Loved the subsequent insight into Mary's head as she pondered everything that has happened. The first paragraph of C4 summed it up perfectly in that she had been given the moon and had the ground yanked out from under her feet pretty much at the same time. While I agree it was a good idea for Matthew to tell her everything upfront (I could not handle Mary thinking for a moment Matthew's sense of honor and guilt were the only things behind the proposal, she needed to know he wanted to marry her for love first, and everything else was secondary), it did put a terrible strain on her, and you showed that strain perfectly. While she was marrying the man of her dreams, it was becoming rapidly clear she was NOT having the wedding of her dreams, if that makes any sense. Not only there no time for a new dress to be made, nor was she finding ones she liked, I had honestly no idea what to think when Cora suggested Mary wear the dress she was supposed for Vile Richard. First thought was "Woman are you crazy?" (which OT was also my reaction when she let Lavinia come back). There was no second thought other than sadness as Mary tried to come up with reasons why the dress wouldn't suit only to realize what Matthew would be wearing. It was a heartbreaking realization that because of the forced circumstances, Lavinia and Richard were going to be present. One of the things that made me come to love Mary in S2 was that she seemed to sincerely care not just for Matthew's feelings for Lavinia, but Lavinia herself. Lavinia was truly a good person and Mary was not immune to that, which is in large part why she refused to even try to put a wedge between them, because she clearly wanted happiness for BOTH of them. If Mary had thought for a single moment Lavinia was not worthy of Matthew, she would have intervened. So on several levels, feeling like she was usurping Lavinia's place (nevermind that it was ALWAYS her place to begin with) would of course bother her. Forgive the rambling but I loved how you brought that point across.

As a result of all of that, plus Mary being MARY, I loved how she just lost her temper near the end of it. The ghosts of the past, the terrible ghost of the future, a future without her father, and a sense of a guilt (and maybe I'm reading too much into this) that she stole some nice girl's happy ending (of course not being aware it was alway meant to be her happy ending), would cause her back to break. I'm glad that it forced Robert to tell the truth (which really he should have sooner). I could completely see her needing to run, and at first I wasn't sure where she'd go, until we pick up with Matthew's reaction. Of course he'd go after her and I loved that without really realizing it, he knew exactly where she had gone. Loved this little nod to the fact that these two are truly on the same wavelength (as shown on canon when she knew exactly when he was hurt).

Despite all the rambling above, I don't know if I have the words to describe how much I loved this scene by Lavinia's grave. While in CS Matthew did admit he was wrong when Mary asked him about his vows to the memory of Lavinia, I really think in canon Matthew and Mary need to have the conversation you wrote for them at the cemetery. Not only because Dan and Michelle would knock it out of the park, but because I think it needs to be said. Mary was there all the way to end, and of course Matthew's last words to Lavinia and to her at the cemetery would continue to haunt her. As huge fan of Wuthering Heights, I loved the analogy there, but loved more Matthew's words of preferring life to literary fantasy.

And you completely took me by surprise with the twist of how Matthew's unconscious words had spurred Mary into action regarding Vile Richard earlier. How his simple "time to move on" gave her the gumption to walk away from Richard, even when he was willing to stay for his own selfish means. I know in CS he told her he loved her, but in 2X08 et al, I was not seeing any indication of it. I could so see him continuing to blackmail her by one means or another, until she gave him an out that would be on his terms, not hers. Which then led to one of the best moments in the story, something I can't wait to hear Matthew actually say in the show, but in his usual artless manner, just openly declare his love for her. And oddly enough, remembering Lavinia's words that they belonged together, at her final resting place, that resonated for me so much much more than the Ouija board before the canon proposal. Loved the kisses, especially how Mary assuaged Matthew's guilt. She wasn't mad at him for telling her, she was mad she heard it from him, which are two so very different things. Loved how he knew she needed some time alone with her family, but that didn't mean he wouldn't see her later. I think this chapter more than anything really cemented for me, especially for Matthew, just how deeply he was in love with Mary and while the circumstances of the upcoming nuptials were far from ideal, having her for his wife, in his life forever, made everything worth it.

Please forgive the rambling!
smndolphin chapter 3 . 3/24/2012
First and foremost, thank you for writing this amazing story!

On the show while my favorite romantic ship is definitely Matthew and Mary, the favorite nonromantic ship is Matthew and Robert, and so I loved that first interaction between those two and how you summarized up what had happened between this point in the story. One of things I've loved with your stories so far was how easy it has been to visualize the scene as if I was watching it on screen, and I could so easily see Hugh and Dan here. It broke my heart to pieces when it became clear Robert was sick, even more so when it was made clear he was unlikely to recover. And while I was happy to see Vile Richard was out of the picture, it was sad to see Mary so heartbroken. But storm-braver that she is, she clearly held her head high. I also loved how Robert intuited that there was something between Matthew and Mary still, based on recent behaviors, causing him to outright ask what did of Matthew. And Matthew's reaction was priceless. I really liked how you showed where both Matthew and Robert were coming from in their discussion and it was wonderful to see that Matthew was definitely not over Mary in any sense of the word. What I loved the most was that he wanted to be honest with her. It was clear so much time had been lost because of lack of honesty, or rather, fear of honesty between the two and if they were going to start this new journey together (and so wonderful that Matthew wanted to) it had to be with a clean slate, no secrets, no lies.

And then the proposal. Of course Matthew would replay the past two in his head, and I have to admit I loved how thinking he'd never want to kiss another girl besides Mary hadn't fully gone away when he ask Lavinia to marry him. The entire scene between him and Mary was so perfectly in line with their characters, and of course Mary would immediately forgive him, because she loves him that much. And clearly, on his own admission, his feelings for her had never altered, and of course he would just blurt out the proposal with no art or artifice because that's just what Matthew is, adorably blunt and honest.

Mary's reaction was also perfectly in line, especially being in a state of shock, the reaction clearly not because his words were unwelcome, but because she had no way to expect them them to have ever come. And then her reaction upon hearing what was going on with Robert, and immediately assuming that is what caused Matthew to propose was sad, but loved how Matthew promptly replied with that he was hoping for the chance to ask again. This is NOT something he would say lightly. And while the proposal we got in CS was absolutely lovely, I would have loved to have seen Dan and Michelle act out this one, especially from the point where Matthew asks her if there will be a wedding to plan. Priceless :). Especially the bit that followed with how they revealed the engagement to the family. Especially for poor Mary, who had a terrible secret dictate the course of her life for the better part of 8 years, how wonderful indeed to reveal a good one in a manner of HER choosing.
thejacinthsong chapter 8 . 2/23/2012
Oh, this was so wonderful. The last few lines through Lord Grantham made my heart ache.
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