I really enjoyed the concept of this fic: it’s so hard having feelings for someone you know you shouldn’t, and you perfectly captured Lily’s terror at being found out. (Just to clarify, I never fancied a member of my family!) Lily’s feelings are easily translatable to circumstances I’m sure many readers have experienced, and whilst the fic may be short, it’s very moving. I think that’s mainly because of how internal the story is: I felt like I understood Lily well because of the amount of access to her mind you provided. It must have been difficult to write about a girl fancying her cousin and display it positively, but you did it with finesse.
I think you achieved this mainly through the way you emphasise the fact that Lily knows that what she feels is “wrong” and yet she can never ignore them. The repeated use of the word “tradition” at the beginning seemed to me to subtly enforce the idea of family values, and therefore contrasted with the content of the story. This worked so well in setting up the conflict within Lily as she comes to terms with her attraction to Louis. In addition, the way you described her attempts at hiding her feelings was so genuine and relatable. The “swooping sensation” she feels when she brushes against him, the way she “struggled to stay composed” all perfectly encapsulate the pain and awkwardness of unrequited feelings.
Whenever ‘Narrator Lily’ talks of the nature of secrets, the way she includes the reader by directly addressing them makes you feel like she’s confiding in you: very apt for this subject! It’s like you’re involved in the story, and was a good use of narrative style. I thought the language was very fitting, and I particularly loved description of the lake that “sparkled like liquid diamonds”. It created such a beautiful image and really did seem the “perfect beach” for the scenes you depicted: romantic, secluded and untouched by society.
The ending was particularly powerful because although you could have ended it happily, you went further, hinting that this is only part of the story and that worse problems are to come. This engages the reader more with the characters because the story is seemingly unfinished: we wonder what will happen to them, whether they will stay together and how their family will respond if they ever find out. I also liked how you used the ending to bring back the recurring theme of secrets. It structured the story nicely and reminded us that this secret that is kept to “prevent the world from crashing down” around Lily is more powerful and dangerous because it is now shared by two. What was simply a secret that was kept “because you are afraid of facing it” is now something that could potentially rip the families apart. To have this at the end makes it all the more effective.
I actually wasn't expecting this to be good, but it really was! One thing: I suggest you call Lily 'Lily Luna' or 'Lily Potter' in the summary, because for some reason I didn't put two and two together with the category and Lily, and I thought you were talking about Lily Evans. I also really liked your description of the beach, and how we learned so many little facts about Lily - how she didn't like to swim without shorts on, for example. I was surprised that Lily and Hugo were going to become Healers, I never expected them to be. Once again, I really liked this!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! Maple
Usually, I don't like cousin ships, but you made me reconsider Loulily. Very good job. I liked the story.
Author's Response: Thanks so much! Maple
Awwwww, Maple, this was so sweet! It was lovely of you to write my OTP to begin with, and I think you did a fabulous job of it :D
Louis as a fittieeeeee. YAY. I love the idea that he would basically become a man over the summer, not to mention the whole Unspeakable thing. I mean, his dad is a cursebreaker and his mum is really intelligent too, so it makes sense, imo.
And I loved how they had that intimacy between them (disappearing together, going to the beach, etc) even before they got together. It made Louis's reciprocation believable :)
Lovely story, Mapleeeee! Thank you for writing it for me -- I feel honoured :D
Author's Response: Eep! I'm glad you like you like it! :) Maple
Augh! :) Remind me who Louis is again... Who are his parents?
What an interesting view! I think I liked it. Although, I'll admit, I was a little squeamish. However, I can tell that you are a very strong writer! Great job. :D
Author's Response: Wow, thank you! I'm really glad you took the time to read this, even if it made you uncomfortable. And Louis is the son of Bill and Fleur. Maple