Date: January 10, 2021 09:34 pm Title: Like a Songbird That Has Fallen
I promised myself that I wouldn't review until I'd read up to the most recent chapter, but this story is just beautiful! Okay, I might have a slight bias because of the Latin and the historical aspect. But still! You are a wordsmith, in the truest sense of the word. Though I do not know much about 19th century colloquialisms, you definitely give this story a distinct feel from modern fics. I love all the callbacks to historical battles and it's very obvious even to me that you've done your research. And let us not forget that this is still an Office fanfic! I'm excited to see what becomes of 1860s Jam, especially since this chapter ended on a cliffhanger and I stopped reading to write this review. Bravo!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! You are far too kind. I love that you appreciate the historical pieces I've tried to incorporate. I always feel like there is a delicate balance between just enough to round out the story, making it believable, and adding too much, bogging it down. I'm glad to hear it is the former! Thank you for reading and reviewing!
Date: January 04, 2021 06:50 am Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
Oh, Pamela and James against the world - I like it very much! That's my favorite taste of angst so far.
And I found Larissa's little speech in Pam's defense endearing.
(I don't trust Julienne, though. She feels like the second Cathy to me...)
Thank you so much!
Author's Response: Thank YOU so much for reading and commenting! Julienne will indeed add an interesting twist to the story. ;)
Date: January 03, 2021 12:06 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
I just spent new years binging Bridgerton so seeing an update on this fic made me SO HAPPY. As always, I love it. I just love your writing style and the way you bring them to life in this time period. I also immediately thought that the ladies maid is a plant from Jim's parents to break them up. Clearly, been binge watching a little too much TV.
Truly love this, cannot wait for more.
Haha I love that! I, too, just finished Bridgerton and that's why I shamelessly added some references to it in this chapter. It was so good! Thank you so much for your kind words!
Date: January 03, 2021 09:54 am Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
The beginning? Flawless. Their interrupted intimacy? Beautifully written. Somehow making me love Julienne with the tiniest amount of description and like two lines of dialogue? A testament to your talent. Meeting his dad and the way Jim stood up for himself? Knock me over with a feather. Larissa giving me Eloise vibes and the whole dinner? Amazing. The frigging hair brushing scene? Fuck me uuuuppppp
You continually amaze me with your ability and the absolutely incredibly way you weave your words together. It is such an honor to me that I get to read them. Never stop. You are so so talented and this update was just indescribably lovely.
Author's Response: BT, I always love your beautifully written reviews and you are always far too nice to me in them. Thank you SO much for every word. Yes, Larissa and Julienne (and Eloise) are my new favorite things. Thanks, friend!
Date: January 03, 2021 09:16 am Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
very interesting chapter! I hope Julienne doesn't cause any trouble and I'm worried about the Moore's and Jim's father :(
Author's Response: Thank you! She will add an interesting twist for certain. Thanks for reading!
Date: January 02, 2021 09:28 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
I don't know how many times I can tell you I love this story before you start to not believe me. You write this so beautifully, I can easily imagine every word you say. I loveee when Jim stands up for Pam. It's one of my favorite parts of this story. How much he truly cares for and loves Pam (and how much she truly cares for and loves him) is just what dreams are made of. I also like Julienne so far! I hope we will be able to see more of her.
Author's Response: I don't think I can hear it enough, I promise you! Thank you so much, Aly. It really is fun writing them this way. Julienne will have an impact, for sure. Thank you!
Date: January 02, 2021 09:08 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
To quote someone else, “Well fuck you very much, ma’am.”
I love this and you and I’ll be back with a better review after I read it 11 more times. Best birthday present ever.
Author's Response: I'm laughing so hard at this. I'm so glad you loved it and it made your birthday a little bit brighter. ;)
Date: January 02, 2021 09:07 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
I don’t think you understand my excitement at seeing this update notification! And on a very special someone’s birthday, no less!
"I much prefer it when you call meámein Liebling." I love him taking the extra step to make sure Eleanore is comforted. Their relationship is so sweet.
“The twelve-year-old boy that once looked in awe and reverence… tolling in his head like Donne's bell.” This paragraph is perfection. Heartbreaking perfection of a moment that everyone faces, no matter how amazing your parent may be.
I adore everything about this Larissa and the direction you’ve taken her. Her entire take on Pam’s acceptance being hard-fought is SO damn good. Incredibly insightful, concise, completely in character… how do you do what you do, woman?!
I'm choosing to picture the Halpert brothers of legal age for those boxing matches though, and not just troublemaking children. You know exactly why, and so I’m just going to go ahead and assume you’ll forgive me ;)
Ugh, and those last two sentences… excuse you.
Author's Response: Oh, Ava. I love that you love this so much and your words are far too kind! I fully appreciate you visualizing those adult boxing matches and I happily join you there, of course. ;) It was fun slipping in those little references to what we've gushing over for the last couple of weeks. Thank you so much for the review!
Date: January 02, 2021 08:58 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
Have I ever said how much I love this story? Because I really love this story. The pace of the writing, the descriptions, the tension, the feelings between Jim and Pam all of it, just superb.
Anyway, I liked the image of Jim there in the dress shop. Paper is boring so go be with Pam. That's the Jim from canon we know and love.
I wonder if the arrival of a new maid will complicate anything? Remains to be seen.
James and Pam waking up like that was a treat to envision. Their room is their sanctuary and what they do in there is their buisness. Damn whatever society may say. I love that hint of rebellion in both of them.
Gerald seems a very imposing figure. Very much the masculine head of the family well set in the walls of partriarcal society. I'm sure he expected James to bow to his whims. However James has steel in his spine. I love that so much. In canon often Jim would back down from a hard situation. James here doesn't and I think that's wonderful. Methinks he'll need it as we go forwards.
Larissa is still a hoot-and-a-half. I'm really glad someone in the Halpert clan is on James' side. Even better that it's this firey Larissa. James is surrounding himself with strong confident women. He's not only not afraid of those confident women it seems he's getting stronger by it too. Wonderful.
More levels of political intrigue there over cigars and drinks. Still feels like storm clouds are brewing on the horizon.
And finally back to James and Pam. The image of him brushing her hair is just intimate. The banter they share through all of that shows that even in this new time and place, the core of these characters is there and I'm so very much here for all of that. Can't wait for more.
Author's Response: I am so thrilled you love it so much, Warrior! Julienne adds an interesting twist to be sure. ;) I wanted to portray Gerald and Betsy as good people in a very difficult situation. The pressures on them both politically and socially are different from their children, whom they raised to be independent thinkers that still work somewhat within the system. James is firm in his stance against his father, partly due to his experiences with war, also because this is an issue he will not compromise on, for obvious reasons. I also think that Jim on the show was poorly portrayed in that regard and for comedic effect. You can be a non-confrontational personality but still be convicted in your beliefs, which is the way James is truly. Thank you so much for reading!
Date: January 02, 2021 08:29 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
"From what I can see already, Monsieur, you make her very happy indeed." Julienne is all of us checking out James/John.
“The heavy, rich fabric that hung from the canopy bed frame closed in around them like a shroud and he longed to hide there” I just need you to know that I love this sentence.
“The glistening pedestal he had once placed his father on now seemed tarnished and damaged. He felt a part of his youth surrender itself”
This. This is incredible writing. Don’t we all have that moment when we realize our parents are in fact fallible people who don’t always get it right?
“That charm, James. Did you purchase it at discount?"
The wit is so very adorable.
This update was everything I didn’t even know I needed & so much more.
Author's Response: Oh Jenna, I'm so glad you love it. And yes, Julienne is very much us. I mean, the woman has eyes, right? ;) Thanks, friend!
Date: January 02, 2021 07:52 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
The confrontation with Gerald was well done here. I remember being struck in an earlier chapter that he seemed to be a pretty decent father, and I like that that's come back here - his conflict with James is at least in part because James is standing on the values Gerald taught him.
I love that Pamela is noticing and wanting to help James through these PTSD episodes, and her longing to take the burden off him.
I *really* like what you're doing with the characterization of rebel society girl Larissa here - again, Gerald and Betsy seem quite prone to raising children who are rejecting the conventions of their society. The idea she presents that the love between them is in and of itself something of a cause of the problems they face is really interesting to me. I'm also just enjoying what you're doing here intermingling the societal, political and economic battles of this socioeconomic subset.
"'It is, my love,' he whispered, placing a gentle kiss on the crest of her shoulder, 'This is just a fevered dream. Go back to sleep.'" I love this line because it sounds very much like James Halpert, Philadelphia Newspaperman, and also like something regular old paper salesman Jim has probably said.
I wanted Gerald and Betsy to be multidimensional. They are genuinely good people, evidenced by the children they've raised, but they are both in a difficult position: Gerald, politically, and Betsy, socially. They are also more confined by societal norms than their children, which is usually the case through the ages.
I adore Larissa and I always love to see that strong relationship with James/Jim. Being able to highlight some the social changes beginning to really develop during this time is just a bonus. ;)
Thank you SO much for your review!
Date: January 02, 2021 07:47 pm Title: The Consolations of Philosophy
I drop everything as soon as you post an update to this story. Your writing is beautiful and makes me feel like I'm in another era.
I can't wait for the next update!
Author's Response: Aww, Beth, you are so sweet. Thank you!
Date: December 20, 2020 02:55 pm Title: Fearful Odds
Cool. I’m fine. Jim thinking about how he would need to write Pam letters because he would need to share his day with her hasn’t destroyed me or anything...
“She didn’t return his bid farewell and the gaining fall wind felt exceptionally bitter” Bored. There is something about the way you literally pull the elements in to tell your stories that is exceptional. You have such a way of setting the tone. It never fails to blow me away.
The whole interaction with Larissa is absolutely delightful. James thinking that she’s having a go, but she genuinely is impressed with Pam. So very lovely.
“his soul took a deep, solidifying breath” Poetry. Pure poetry.
“and he loved the anchor and form his name took on when she spoke it” Hard same.
“all I know is that I woke up one day and it was a truth I could no more deny than the air in my lungs” Things I am not: okay.
“Well, then I suppose we should lock it.”áThe way I love this Pam.
I love the way you title things with such significance.
Author's Response: I really REALLY love that you enjoy my chapter titles! I didn't think anyone noticed them but me! Thank you SO much, as always, for your lovely comments. :)
Date: November 23, 2020 07:00 pm Title: Fearful Odds
Oh Katy. Unwise choice to go up against true love and a tough Southern gal who has dealt with a lot worse lately than a spurned socialite. I mean, she's obviously been put in a difficult position here, but still. I love Pam's response here - and how clearly she's impressed Larissa.
I am fascinated to see the repercussions of James' choice continuing to spread - certainly his family coming to terms with his marriage is a far tougher prospect if he's put his father's career in jeopardy in the process. (By the way, adding a dose of Reconstruction-era politics to this? You really didn't need to get me anything for my birthday, you know.)
SO many great lines in here - "Camelot in a world of the ordinary," "I woke up one day and it was a truth I could no more deny than the air in my lungs.” This was well worth waiting for.
Author's Response: I really appreciate that you enjoyed the Reconstruction reference. Ever since I read Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, I have always had a particular interest in that time period. Thank you SO much for the comment, DJC!
Date: November 23, 2020 04:02 pm Title: Memory Believes Before Knowing Remembers
I think I missed on first read that Roy accuses *Jim* of burning down the Beesly home. Interesting that that possibility occurs to you, Mr. Anderson.
I do really like this introduction of Senator Halpert - it's such a strong characterization, and a positive one, which given the early impressions we've gotten of Jim's family is nice to see. And the use of Bob Vance here is genius - that is absolutely a coincidence that needed to be memorialized.
Love the history of PTSD you're sneaking in here...
Also, let's be clear: this is dead sexy. And really? "He wasn’t sure what he just agreed to do but he knew, without a doubt, that he would follow her anywhere." How dare you. Really.
Date: November 23, 2020 03:42 pm Title: Any Other Name
A bunch of lines in this one I really liked. The description of Roy by Jim as someone he wouldn't even loan his horse to - so obviously the lowest of the low! The plain and unadorned admission of his fear of never seeing her again. The sardonic sense of humor of Jim's imagined telegrams. Jim's need for a long, steady drink before considering the process of how children are created. And Jim's VERY interesting self-description as someone who tends not to be lucky.
One thing I'm interested in (and this is more general than a response to this chapter), beyond the repercussions of this sudden decision to marry and disrupt all the plans made for them and the burgeoning romance of these two strangers, is how much you'll be exploring their marriage in the face of a society that really hasn't accepted that kind of marriage. You paint in these early chapters two people interested in a kind of modern relationship. I'm very curious as to how high Philadelphia society will take that.
Also wondering if you're going to include a Pam POV at some point in here, or if your plan is to keep us looking through Jim's eyes all the way through? It's great as is, I just found myself curious in this one what her inner monologue is like.
Author's Response: At the risk of giving away an enormous hint, I just wanted to tell you that you will indeed get to see Pam's POV, in its entirety, in the future. I promise. ;)
Date: November 23, 2020 03:23 pm Title: Like a Songbird That Has Fallen
I love the strength you're allowing Pam to show in this story - for all that Jim is coming to her rescue, you've drawn her as a woman very capable of fighting her own fights to the maximum extent this social structure will allow her to. And I like the little note that this is in fact Jim stepping up in a very personal way that he is not accustomed to. This is *him*, and not just the power available to him.
You've written some very vivid description of the field hospitals here - and I'm definitely continuing to keep a close eye on the impact the war has had on Jim.
One thing I really like about this story is how you're playing with the societal expectations of the era - this is both a love story that's constrained by social mores but also created by them. It's clever!
Date: November 23, 2020 03:08 pm Title: Wayfaring Stranger
So I'm rereading this with the new chapter and thought I'd review the first few chapters - I first foudn this on A03.
First off - I love the way you've used your research here. You've clearly done the homework it takes to make the world feel real and detailed and to be in touch with the history, but you're not allowing it to drown out the actual story.
I really fell immediately in love with this version of Jim and Pam, two people who are great fits with each other by virtue of being ahead of their time. Jim's enjoyment of her spirit and fundamental unruliness is very charming, as is Pam's wry sense of humor.
The cliffhanger here is great, too.
Date: November 23, 2020 05:24 am Title: Fearful Odds
Diving into more complexities now that everyone's situated in Philedelphia. The clouds of scandal seem to be brewing. Called up by the affronted Ms. Moore. I do find it interesting that she would seek to continue her pursuit of James here regardless of the news of his marriage. Also though the fighting is over, the war and the anger still flowing fron North to South and back again is still there.
Loved Larissa's appearence here. Likewise her recounting of tea. Pam shows her class and courage in dealing with Katy. I really love how Pam is portrayed there.
Lots of other fun details. The newspaper. Oscar, Dwight, and Mark making apperences. More political intrigue. There's just so much going on and I love every bit of it.
However still at the heart of this story is James and Pam. They've found something special and priceless in each other. They've found strength, healing, and most of all love. They are so well suited here that it feels like whatever storms may come, they'll be able to weather them together.
Sorry I didn't catch the Holmes reference, but the Shakespear was lovely. Beautiful chapter and I'm glad to see this one back.
Author's Response: Thank you, Warrior! I always enjoy hearing the parts that were your favorites. The Holmes reference was a small interjection of his famous quote: "We have shared the incommunicable experience of war, we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top. In our youth our hearts were touched with fire.” I used it when describing the emotions James and Markus felt in seeing each other after so long and after enduring what they did. I was a bit of fan of Ken Burns' Civil War when it used to come on PBS when I was like 12. That quote always stuck with me.
Date: November 23, 2020 01:50 am Title: Fearful Odds
I’ve had a terrible migraine since yesterday evening, so I was sure that this morning would be terrible as well. And then I saw your update and reconsidered my previous opinion :)
Every single line of this chapter is precious, but there are three moments I'd like to highlight the most:
1) Katy. Oh, I love and disdain and pity her at the same time, because how can't you pity a girl who didn't get James Halpert? And Pam's response... ah! I love it when she shows her sass (and in the very, very well-mannered way!)
2) Troubles in the Halpert family. Okay, I'm here mostly for the JAM, but I really, really like that they can't just hide in their happy bubble for the rest of their days and that their (but mostly Jim's) actions have (and will have) consequences. You hinted about what kind of backlash they might receive, and I anticipate to witness it!
3) "I love you, James Halpert." I replicated that black and white fainting gif from Twitter here because this is my most natural reaction to this part. Just lovely!
Thank you so much!
Author's Response: I hate hear you had a migraine but I'm thrilled that this helped! Thank you!