Chapter 1 - Return to Hogwarts
Unusual premise. Well written.
Chapter 2: Hello, Goodbye
Hi, Heidi. I read your bio after reading this story and drafting a review, and now I understand more, seeing that you and Snape share a birth year; that is why you can write a story about a more adult person (because you are one!)
This story is very nicely written, and although you indicate that it is an uncompleted story with possibly more passion coming in the as-yet-unposted chapters, it could stand alone as a complete story just as it is; in fact, that’s what I thought it was, at first. You include lots of details, and none of them are extraneous (thank you for avoiding extraneous details); they really flesh the story out, keep the pace steady, and make the scenes easy to visualize.
I specifically like: the description of Mary’s cottage, the setting and layout of the gardens, Mary’s work at Hogwarts, the elves who help her, the details of what is growing, Mary’s backstory. It all makes sense and is not just an arbitrary add-on of a feature to the Hogwarts campus; it probably actually was there but was just never mentioned before (kind of like their woodshed for firewood, or their compost pile for kitchen and garden waste). It also makes perfect sense that Professor Sprout would have a non-teaching assistant to deal with a lot of the work of actually growing the plants.
You story has a good balance of action, dialogue, description, and inner thoughts. The pace is just about right.
There is good dialogue in Mary’s job interview with Professor Dumbledore. The language is very straightforward (I like it when dialogue is not affectedly stylish) but thoughtful and in depth. You have captured Dumbledore’s voice well, and have shown well how Mary has matured in wisdom, self-knowledge, and courage/strength since her school days. I get weary of stories about adults who behave childishly; Mary does not, even as she retains an optimistic and hopeful outlook. She must be about 35 years old in this story, a good age for having arrived at some wisdom; her daughter Natalie is no slouch either, by the way.
The episode of Snape’s and Mary’s stroll through the herb garden is also very good. You have captured his voice and manner very well. I can just picture these characters in this setting. And I appreciate Mary’s strength and inner humor; she is in command of this encounter, and she knows it and glories in it. And that little observation “he grabbed the edge of his robe that wasn’t keeping up with him,” is a tiny bit of genius; he has no patience with even inanimate objects that don’t meet his standard of performance!
Your final scene, between Snape and Dumbledore, is also great. You have captured their voices and manners spot-on again.
A question arose in my mind. Why does Mary love Severus so much? The prologue begins as they both leave school for the last time; by this point in his life, Snape was “perpetually grouchy-looking”, made “snide remarks”, and was “on his way to join the Death Eaters”. Not an attractive guy. She must have fallen for him much earlier, before he had developed such a “bristly exterior”. It would be nice to insert one sentence in the prologue to say so.
I would very much like to read more of what you may write about this pair, because Mary is interesting and you do Snape so well. There’s no reason this couldn’t fit neatly into canon, though that would require that they develop a good working relationship but no torrid romance, and of course Snape would need to die on schedule after that final and most unromantic year (which you probably don’t want to do). I hope that you will not let this story die, but will find the time and inclination to finish it up.
Vicki of Slytherin House.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. Actually, I had really forgotten about the story (well, not forgotten, but it was so far on the backburner that I think it would have been left there to completely boil away) and was happily surprised to see a review for it in my email. Thanks to you, I'm going to take up this project again (it's winter, anyway, and I have a bit of time to spare) and will folllow your advice: I'll try to keep it true to canon instead of what I had in mind for it before (and no torrid romance! LOL), try to explain why Mary has such a thing for Snape, and try to work in a surprise or two...it may be some time before this story is complete, but I hope that it will be worth the wait. Thanks again. I really appreciate you taking the time to write up your review. It's a really nice surprise for the New Year and will help keep my wrting going in 2014.
Chapter 2: Hello, Goodbye
Witty, funny, and well written. Your depiction of Snape is excellent. Snape is definitely not happy to see Mary back at Hogwarts, which makes it that much more interesting to find out what happens next. I look forward to reading chapter 3.
Author's Response: Oh, and you shall see more interesting things to come. Thanks for the review!
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair
Nice. Interesting comparison with the Beatles. Incongruous in the big scheme of things, but it totally works for a 15 year old muggleborn.
Author's Response: Yes, but this story is written for 6th-7th years (which would be 16 - 17 year-olds) and up. There's more to it than meets the eye (of the prologue, that is!).
This is an interesting prologue. I think one of my favourite things about it is that you haven't written the typical "Perfect Lily", but have given her some flaws. I would have liked to have seen more of why Mary is interested in Severus, but I'm guessing that will be in an upcoming chapter. I have to say I'm also curious as to whether Mary is a Gryffindor due to being a brave person or because she wants to be a brave person. Oh, I also really liked how you had her watch for that perfect opportunity to approach him which never came. It has a very real feel to it (and reminded me of my younger self).
Author's Response: Thanks for the early review! I know, it's just a prologue. Chapter 1 is in the queue, so I'm still waiting, too. :) I guess maybe it wasn't obvious, but Mary was roommates with Lily, so, yes, she would be a Gryffindor. This is my first story, so I'm sure there will be lots of flaws in my story! Yes, I know the feeling, too, about trying to approach someone when you're that age. It's tough being a teenager.