Reviews for Into the West
MTT-VB chapter 4 . 7/6/2013
I quite liked this story! You did such a good job of evolving Evelyn's ascent out of depression. I think my favorite scene was the one between Evelyn and Mary - the one where she tells him what she sees when she looks at him.
Katie Duggan's Niece chapter 4 . 5/24/2013
A most surprising chapter, given what came before, and the depths of the despair of the narrator. You have done justice to the twin experiences of depression and resilience familiar to people who have been through a serious illness or injury.

What was most unusual was that you chose to use Lady Edith as a catalyst, and I liked it even better that Evelyn Napier was an unusually observant narrator and understood the unspoken rivalry and neglect.

"But what I could see was that she was a seasoned veteran of rejection, one whose defeat could always be trumped by sheer determination."

"...she seemed the sort who was used to having her pride sacrificed for the pride of another."

" I sensed there would always be that undercurrent of animosity between them, but war changed people, and clearly they had been no exception. They had settled into a truce, albeit one that did not preclude sisterly ribbing, and insofar as my recovery concerned them, I could see they would be staunch allies. It was the image of those two, standing side by side, united under a common cause, that made me consider for the first time that something positive could have been rendered by this atrocious war."

"'There's no "letting" Mary do anything. She does and says whatever she pleases with impunity, and certainly without anyone's permission, least of all mine,' she said.

"'Then you shouldn't allow her the opportunity,' I replied, and smiled. 'Next time, we ride together.'"

But the biggest surprise turned out to be Lady Sybil (So wise! So poignant!), though Thomas Barrow too was most unexpected.

A beautiful story.
jmar chapter 3 . 5/21/2013
All war is horrible. All war is stupid. Yes, I know we must defend ourselves against the attack from others - but the act of killing has so little true purpose! We kill people over land, over ideals, over food, over water, over oil - but there is only one struggle for mankind: the haves & the have-nots. But to kill? I have never faced an adversary in such a way & hope I never do, but the scars it must leave are beyond my imagination. So our soldiers use whatever coping mechanism they can muster & somehow carry on; wounded warriors. You have captured so much of the feeling, I commend you. I hope Evelyn can find a way to 'soldier-on' in life...
circa1910 chapter 1 . 5/19/2013
You have captured the tone of the era. They are a bit formal to our ears but that is what they were like. Dialogue, his emotional and physical journey very well done. I felt as if I was with the wounded. Had to look up banausic and that is a good thing. I like to be challenged. I always liked Evelyn Napier. Felt cheated that we didn't see him in Series 2 but now you have fixed that.

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Katie Duggan's Niece chapter 3 . 5/19/2013
You didn't take the easy route out here, ending the chapter on a devastating note that is of a piece with what's come before. I'm struck by how you understand that someone who has been through great trauma can well emerge not with triumph and gratitude but rather disillusionment and despair. It is a cruel fate for Evelyn, who deserved so much more.

You write wonderful dialogue for Lady Mary, who really rises to the occasion despite her inability truly to grasp what the life of a soldier (especially in the Great War!) is/was.

And your descriptions are by turns powerful and delicate.

My only fear is knowing that you are going to end this after four. What can possibly be resolved? Poor Evelyn Napier.
MistressBlack523 chapter 3 . 5/19/2013
Your writing is wonderful and this story is heartbreaking but so well written.
AuburnGraces28 chapter 1 . 3/25/2013
beautiful, love the way you write
hillevi chapter 2 . 9/12/2012
so lovely! And I do like Evelyn.
Katie Duggan's Niece chapter 2 . 9/3/2012
This particular chapter required multiple readings, and not only because of the level of detail. It's above all else a painful look at a self-aware man who is torn between acceptance of his plight and the sheer weight of bearing it. I liked him very much yet was made uncomfortable by his thoughts - but that is only as it should be.

Many Downton Abbey fans seem to adore Lady Mary, and it's clear from the script that we're supposed to like her...and Yet I've never warmed to her. So it's saying something you've gotten me to like her.

I also enjoyed your depiction of Cora, who comes off very well here, and of Edith, whose faults (and forgivable blunder about driving) are duly acknowledged. Lord Grantham was just about unbearable, which is surprising, given that he's such a nice man, but he's also adjusting to being taken down a peg.

Finally, I can't let this go without an acknowledgement of your acknowledgment of the horrors of the Great War, which Lord Grantham still can't quite grasp.

Well done for rendering your protagonist's voice so beautifully and believably.
BelleLitteraire chapter 2 . 9/2/2012
I’m almost left with no more superlatives to describe how beautifully you write (I know, I keep saying that!). And although I’ve really given Evelyn no thought beyond the whole Pamuk arc, you have made me care for him in these last couple of chapters: the broken, distant relationship with his father, the state of anguish he feels about his lack of physical mobility, the propriety that he almost clings to that keeps him stifled and unable to express his true emotions. I love this particular line: “Only because we are denied the opportunity to go backwards,” because it is a perfect summation of where Evelyn’s head is right now.

I giggled at overeager Edith, “prowling for someone to coddle.” Even her greeting to him smacked of a hunter gobbling its prey. So funny. And Robert…oh, I have a little soft spot for him…but here he’s obnoxious and insensitive. Poor show at dinner, Robert!

:)Belle
Audrey C chapter 2 . 9/1/2012
Lovely chapter. Good glimpse of what's going on in Evelyn's head. Always thought he made a good friend for Mary. Wish they would bring him back to the show for a guest spot.
Anonymous Again chapter 2 . 9/1/2012
So, so, so freaking good! Reads like Austen, or maybe Dickens. Can't wait for more! :)
darkblueyank chapter 1 . 8/20/2012
Thanks for a story with Napier. He was always one of my favorite characters - one of the few characters that Julian Fellowes didn't burden with a tragic flaw. He was just a decent guy. And I always was a little befuddled that we never saw him in S2. Robert had such a tantrum over getting Napier to Downton, and then we never saw Napier or even heard a passing mention of his injury or recovery!

I liked getting the view of Downton and the sisters from a soldier's POV (and not one as wrapped up in the Crawley family as Matthew).
Anonymous Again chapter 1 . 8/19/2012
If this were not a derivative work I could totally see this being published as a novel. Seriously. That is all I have to say.
BelleLitteraire chapter 1 . 8/19/2012
Frostyblossom, you continue to astound me. Your talents truly merit a wider audience than FFN. Truly, in my opinion, you have that unique ability to shift fantastically in such varied genres and the technical choices you make (in this piece first-person voice) are so apt. Whether you write so heartbreakingly about Daisy or Sybil or Tom, and now about Evelyn, what is key in any successful writing is characterization. And you breathe life into a minor character from season one so thoughtfully in this piece.

The way you wrote the battle charge and then its transition into the hunt was so poetic, as Evelyn is in the heat of battle one moment and then drifts into a dream-like state as he falls wounded. You write about the horrors of war and its aftermath without sentimentality or romance. It is ugly, and it is painful and violent but in your writing it also comes through as being terribly wasteful and sad – especially when the major commits suicide. I’m not a Mary shipper, but here she comes across as sensitive and attune to the reality that soldiers far from home want normalcy and want to know about the little things that we take for granted.

I can’t wait to read more. :)
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