Hey, Jamie. :)
When I first saw the pairing you chose, I was hesitant to read this piece. It was an idea I had never even considered - especially with the new Pottermore information - but you did it really well. There was just something about the way Augusta and Minerva interact that showed their relationship without really outwardly saying it.
One of my favorite aspects about this piece was how you managed to take two fairly rigid characters from canon and write them younger and carefree, but still maintaining their characters. It was such a lovely insight into how perhaps they became the way they were, through both relationships each of them grew into the people we see in canon. It was a bit shocking to see that sort of Augusta, I’ll have to admit, but I really enjoyed it. It was in the way that she spoke, that you could tell she cared so dearly for Minerva, but the slight coldness because of her hurt that let me know it was still her, but in a really refreshing way. The moment I gained the most respect for Augusta was when she said it was her duty to marry, because it shows the fiercely loyal side that she shares with her grandson. Minerva, too, as we could see her internal battle with logic saying that this meeting was a bad idea and how she truly felt. It really shone through when they were talking about Augusta’s engagement, and how perceptive Minerva was regarding the exact meaning behind Augusta’s complacency with her marital position.
I really loved the style of this, too. Though the banter was mainly light and polite, I could sense all of the undertones of hurt and lingering feelings of Minerva and Augusta’s relationship. It slowly built, too, until everything is finally out in the open. I would have really loved to see more of their relationship before it was broken, because (especially at the beginning) I wasn’t convinced of their relationship, It’s so difficult to show all of the feelings from the present of the relationship when so many are blocking them when it’s told from a hindsight perspective, and I would have loved to see some heat of the moment. I did love what we did see, though; the arm touching, especially, because it showed the lingering spark.
I thought it was odd (in a good way) how they were never really bitter toward each other, yet they still wouldn’t reconcile. It was like it was their older selves bickering about something, but they were still close friends, and it was really just cool to be able to see that kind of relationship that can survive literally everything. They knew each other so well, so it was as if they simply couldn’t stay away (even a platonic way) for long. They just needed each other in any way they could, and every relationship can’t last, especially given the historical context. I just found it rare and nice how despite all that happened between them, it didn’t completely fall apart.
The part that shocked me was the ending, because of how Minerva and Augusta’s relationship was practically the same it had been since before the time jump, and because of the parallel between Neville and Hannah and what she and Minerva could have been. It really shows how Augusta maybe regretted not staying with Minerva, and how she believes in marriage for love. It was just an overall really sweet ending that wrapped everything up really nicely.
Overall, I thought it was a lovely fic, and though I had no idea what to expect with this pairing, it was a truly great piece. The banter and under tones were perfect, and I could easily see this happening in canon with the brilliant versions of these characters you’ve created. I can’t wait to see more of your writing, Jamie! :)
As the SPEW feature this month is Cotillion stories and I've not reviewed you in a while, I thought I'd give this fic a try, and I'm so glad I did! You took my emotions all over the place -- especially impressive in such a short story.
I think the first thing that struck me when I started reading was your gorgeous prose. Not a single word was wasted; everything oozed meaning and significance. Just in the first sentence, the implications of Augusta knowing Minerva's hair “intimately” had me intrigued. Then, the level of detail you provided in the description backed it up perfectly. Without knowing anything factual about their relationship, I could see how much Augusta cared about Minerva.
It was physical details that stood out to me right through the story. When writing about a relationship, I always find them really important in bringing the characters to life and creating chemistry, so I really liked how much emphasis you put on it. The line “Augusta's skin relished the warmth of her touch” was a great one, I thought. Personifying her skin -- it's like Augusta's body longs for Minerva out of her control. Their relationship seemed stronger for it. The last technical thing I'd like to mention is the way you wrote the women's speech. I noticed you adding these little touches of formality that felt so right for the period, for these characters. A favourite word of mine was “atrophy”; it made Minerva feel very much herself.
In fact, I thought these characters seemed perfectly themselves from start to finish. We don't see much of Augusta in canon, really, but I could absolutely believe your version of her. The nerves made her seem younger, less self-possessed, but there were some lovely traces of Neville's old grandma, with the way she questions herself sarcastically and has to refrain from glaring. You made her sharpness quite clear, and I enjoyed reading that. Then, in the last section, her manipulativeness made me giggle, especially because of Neville's reaction. I'm glad Minerva seems to have changed her, even if only a little, and that they're still friends -- testament to the relationship you created between them, I suppose.
Minerva sparkled. You never let me forget the steel core of hers that we see in canon, but equally, I loved seeing her young. Just the difference in her hair, more relaxed than her familiar bun, seemed to signify that she was more relaxed at the time. I would never have imagined her in this context, relating to Augusta in this way, so I guess the differences between the woman we see in canon and your version make the relationship more convincing. That worked very well, for me.
In terms of plot, this really impressed me. Pottermore has given us so much more detail about Minerva's life that, before I started reading and in the first few paragraphs, I couldn't quite see how a relationship between her and Augusta could avoid contradicting canon in some way. I shouldn't have worried though; you have form with making unlikely relationships fit into canon! I found their relationship more plausible because it happened when they were young; they still had plenty of time to become their canon selves. I really liked the Pottermore details you included, by the way. It showed how well you'd thought the whole thing through.
I thought this was a very well-written piece, and I'm so glad I chose to read it. Best of luck in the Cotillion, and may there be plenty more femmeslash in your future!
Nice story. Though I'm not sure about Augusta and Minerva's relationship. I can see them as friends but nothing more. But still nice with something new from you. Can I expect a new chapter in one of your other stories soon?