You know, I think you've written possibly the single most surprising pairing of the Cotillion here. When I saw it, I just had to read out of curiosity. From what we see of Petunia's feelings about magic in canon, it seemed nigh on impossible that she'd fall for a witch. Of course, you've managed to make it seem very possible indeed with this story!
First things first though: the humour. I laughed out loud more than once when reading this. The potato peeler moment in particular really cracked me up â€“ it was so bizarre, and yet at the same time, it felt plausible given how you'd written Hestia. All of the Spice Girls references, too, made me giggle. You chose such recognisable lyrics that I was singing along all the way through, which gave the story a fabulous, upbeat mood. Hearing those particular songs in connection to fusty, traditional Petunia was very amusing.
Anther thing I really appreciated in this story was how you wrote the dialogue. It may seem like a small thing, but it's something that always helps to engage me when it's written so naturally and amusingly. I loved the contrast you created between Petunia and Hestia in their first conversation. Even though Petunia was clearly emotional, you kept these formal stuffy touches with phrases like â€śfor Christ's sakeâ€ť, and I thought that worked really well against Hestia's casual tone and informality. Little things, like her saying â€śDudley has apparently got dibs on Ginger Spiceâ€ť brought her to life for me.
I thought your characterisation of Hestia all round was great. You linked her into canon really well with the potato peeler incident, but you also gave her a lot more depth than that. Because you gave her a Muggle-born girlfriend (watch the hyphenation, by the way), I could instantly understand what had drawn her to the resistance, as well as why she might be noticing Petunia in that way. She must have been so lonely, shut up in a house with the Dursleys and Dedalus, so latching onto Petunia is very understandable. I thought her friendship with Dudley was great, too; it felt very natural. She's the sort of person I could imagine Dudley liking, just for somehow seeming cool.
Petunia's relationship with her was very different, I suppose, because Petunia was never going to let herself be impressed by Hestia like Dudley might have been. Even when Hestia conjured the rabbit, something that would have had me gaping openly however little I liked its creator, Petunia seemed determined to keep her distance. I thought you made her thaw out very convincingly, though. Her homophobia at the beginning saddened me slightly, but it's what I would have expected. Then, seeing how she incrementally became more accustomed to the idea of it, eventually being so lovely about Hestia's girlfriend, felt very natural. It wasn't one sudden epiphany moment, just a gradual shift which, for me, worked very well.
The last thing I'd like to talk about is how lovely the birthday surprise was. I hope Hestia wasn't lying when she said it was Dudley's idea, and if she was, I hope Dudley learnt from her about being nice to his mum. It gave me hope for the family, with the exception of Vernon, I suppose, and that made me feel a lot less sad for Petunia. You made me very sympathetic towards her, more so than I would have expected to be, because of Vernon's awfulness when it came to her past birthdays and his awfulness in general. But even without Hestia around, after the war, I imagine that Petunia will be that little bit happier for loosening up a bit.
I've really enjoyed reading this, Natalie, and it's been fascinating to have this insight into Petunia's head, to see the Dursleys portrayed in a bit more depth. Best of luck for the Cotillion!
Author's Response: Sophieee! This was a very pleasant surprise! :) While your entire review makes me all warm and fuzzy, the part I love the most is this: "I think you've written possibly the single most surprising pairing of the Cotillion here." :D The Cotillion is so full of the unexpected that a compliment like this is priceless. I'll never let go of potato peeler jokes. Hehe. When the canon Hestia found it funny, I warmed up to her immediately - IDK why. I'm glad you like the contrast between Petunia and the music. She doesn't seem like the pop music type, does she? But I guess one can get used to things; I did with Justin Bieber and One Direction lol. So, with Petunia, it was her unfortunate, long, compulsory holiday with HJ and DD, and the resulting lifestyle that forced her to get used to things she may have turned up her nose at otherwise.The character development was necessary. I wrote this to amuse myself, but every tale should have a point to it. Humour aside, I wanted to see if I could make Petunia thaw. See, from what we know, I think Vernon is just another run-of-the-mill crazy conservative; Petunia's history, on the other hand, is interesting and salvageable. I wanted to work with that. Oh, Dudley did remember it! :) I like to think he matured in those years. Thank you for the fab review, Sophie. I think my response is all over the place, but my connection's so unpredictable, so I need to respond in a hurry before it decides to die :X
She gave a dry sniff For some reason this drew me into the fic totally. Not sure why. Perhaps it's your attention to detail, perhaps it's the plot, perhaps it's the utter originality, but this story is fantastic. I shall now crawl into my writey cave and laugh and cry and giggle and above all, sing Spice Girls songs - hahhahhahhah
Um, in case you hadn;t guessed, I thought this fabulous. Characterisation was amazing. Petunia had depth. Vernon was a prick (GRRRR MEN!). However, who is Hestia's gf? hehheh heh.
You have made me feel sorry for Petunia having to return to her husband (UGHHHH!) but I do hope she has a lovlier life now.
Fabulousness and SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!!!!! ~Crolllllllllllollllollllollll
Author's Response: D: I completely forgot to reply to this! I'm so glad you liked this one. I had so much fun writing it, and it makes me happy to know that reading it was just as fun for you. :) Thanks for the lovely review!
WTF whyyyyyyy has no one reviewed this? D: because I thought this story was fab -- you have a what with the humour category that I envy, because you manage to make your writing simultaneously funny and sad. In this case, I thought the contrast of the war and the way in which the spice girls were referenced was great -- yes, the situation they were in is serious, but hestia's presence lightened things considerably (in exactly the same way the REAL Hestia Jones always brightens everyone's day :D) and I loved how carefree she was here.
Sorry this isn't a great review and if there are any typos. But I really enjoyed the story and am glad you caught the cotillion fever, even if it is rather belated hahaha. You really redeemed petunia for me, so well done! Soraya xxx
Author's Response: THANK YOUUU! I was despairing :D I thought no one liked it :x Eep! I knew there must be typos. When I woke up this morning and reread it, I caught a few. Will reread it again and see. Thanks again for the review! It's making me grin from ear to ear! ~ Natalie