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Cousin Calla  by Dreamflower 10 Review(s)
GamgeeFestReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/12/2006
What a sad and trying time for everyone. I love the way the cousins banded together to help pull each other through, and Pippin showing his protectiveness of both his cousins. I have to wonder though when Frodo finally let his grief go and have a good cry. Probably not until after his cousins' visit.

Cousin Calla sounds like a interesting hobbitess. Her sketches were haunting, for *we* know what they mean. I can see why Yarrow wouldn't want to look at them. I'm glad that Frodo was given one of his parents. He would treasure that one always.

Author Reply: Would you believe I only just now found this review?

The cousins will always band together, and take care of one another. I've no doubt you are perfectly right about Frodo!

Yes, for some reason, she was able to tap into things that concerned (or would concern) Frodo--perhaps because she had been his teacher. And "haunting" is just what I was going for in the descriptions of her sketches.

Thank you!

Baggins BabeReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/8/2006
How touching, that Rory and Gilda should pass together, but very appropriate. Some bonds can never be broken and I've seen this happen in long-married couples.

Cousin Calla is such an interesting character and I'm glad she continued to see Frodo even after she became something of a recluse. Her sketches were very prescient and beautifully described.

Love Frodo being strong for Merry - the relationships with the cousins warms my heart.

Sorry not to have reviewed this earlier - too much birthday cake has addled the brain!

Author Reply: *I'm* sorry to just now be replying--I only just now found several reviews for this story!

Yes, it happens even among humans--how much more likely, then, among hobbits, who bonded so strongly!

I'm glad you like Cousin Calla--she rather came to me full-grown, so to speak!

And Frodo being strong for Merry (or Pippin) is one of my very favorite things!

Poppy MuddyfootReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/7/2006
What a beautiful, touching story. I love how you've captured the bond between the cousins, and the protectiveness they feel toward one another. Using Pippin to convince Merry to rest, Merry's hand on Frodo's shoulder during the funeral, and Pippin wanting to stomp on toes are images that will stay with me a while. And you've made me want to know more about Cousin Calla. (The touch of prescience in her drawings gave me a shiver, which made the quietness of her story even more touching.)Thank you for a lovely read.

Author Reply: I am so sorry I only just now found your lovely review!

I'm very glad that you like the way I show the bond between the cousins. That, to me, is the most interesting and fascinating part of writing about them.

And I am also glad that you liked Cousin Calla.

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/6/2006
Poor Merry. The first losses can be very traumatic - even if those who die are old and infirm and willing to go. It can be the first indication that your world is not inviolate. I'm glad they waited long enough to say goodbye to their grandson.

Frodo was good for him - and Cousin Calla was an interesting inhabitant of Brandy Hall. The glimpses into another world were interesting - and her gift of sketches suggested that she, too, knew her path was ending.

Author Reply: I do apologize! I only just now found these reviews!

You are right--it's hard for a young person to acknowledge that someone they have always believed to be a fixture in their lives is not. Sometimes change and the passages of life are actually harder on the young.

Frodo was always good for Merry--and vice-versa.

I'm glad you liked Cousin Calla--her talent was a very unusual one.

Pearl TookReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/5/2006
This is a dear, tender and loving - lovely - story. Deeply touching. Wherever would any of us be without the love and care of family and good friends.

Thank you, Dreamflower.

Author Reply: And thank you!

I only just now found this review!

AspenJulesReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/5/2006
Goodness, Dream - you had me in tears before I was halfway through! Poor Frodo and his 'mask'... unwilling to give in to his grief when Merry might need him. Pippin turning in tears to his own father... and

"Then, speaking clearly for the first time in a long time, they heard Menegilda’s voice. “I’m coming too, Rory.” And so she followed her husband beyond the circles of the world." That did me in. But also, what a great glimpse of Shire relationships, of something we don't have much in our world these days... people moving into the next life with their family around them to say goodbye, and the leadership of the family and it's responsibilites smoothly passed to the next generation. Though sad, it's also natural, and rather beautiful.

I love Cousin Calla and her charcoal drawings, and Fodo 'recognizing' some of them. And now at least Frodo gets to cuddle with his cousins again, though I'm sure he'd be happier if it was under better circumstances. But being there in Buckland at this time of year... it's nice that *they* are needing *him*.

And Oh - the ending, with Calla's sketch of Frodo on the beach, with the *clouds* looking down on him... Wow. Beautiful story, Dream. Very well done!

Author Reply: First of all, I apologize for being so late in replying to this lovely review! For some reason, there seem to be several for this story that I had not seen until I went to check on something tonight!

This is a good deal sadder and more angsty than my usual stories--yet it had been in the back of my mind a good deal. I've always loved Old Rory, so I tried not to deal with it. But the prompts for this challenge were just too much for me.

To have a loved one die at home, in his or her own bed, and surrounded by family used to be commonplace--now it is rare. I have been privileged on one such occasion--when my late mother-in-law passed on here at home with us. And you are right--there is a certain dignity and beauty about it.

I have a vivid picture of Cousin Calla in my mind, ever since I first briefly mentioned Frodo going to her for art lessons in "Buckland Spring". She came complete with backstory--just sprang right up in my head, and I knew I would feature her in a story one day!

LilyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/5/2006
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have read this story. It's a gem. You had me in tears so many times. It's full of sentiment and a longing that will never truly cease. Wonderful work, my dear. As always you have perfectly caught the cousins' characters and I'm simply astouned by how well you have them interact. Amazing!

Author Reply: *blushes*

Thank you for such wonderful words.

My absolute favorite thing is the interactions between our four lads, and most especially the cousins when it is pre-Quest. I love to explore every avenue of their friendship and love.

LindeleaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/5/2006

Though I wish I'd had time to read it slowly and properly, and didn't have to skim in haste.

Very nicely done. I like the way Frodo and Pippin are both Merry's protectors here, and love the image of Calla drawing things she has seen only in her heart.

Author Reply: I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if you did have to hurry.

Frodo and Pippin are going to take care of Merry when they need to--it's not the usual course of things, for Pippin at least, and at this stage of his life. But the protectiveness is there, only awaiting circumstances to bring it out.

Sometimes people who have a chronic illness withdraw from the rest of the world, and sometimes this gives them a greater connection to the "inner" world of the mind and spirit. I think this was the case with Cousin Calla. And I was trying, in a way, to foreshadow Frodo's future connection with the spirit.

harrowcatReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/5/2006
What wonderful characters Dreamflower; so quickly and finely drawn. You make me wonder what happens to Calla's sketchbooks after her death and how Frodo felt about her drawings if he saw or remembered them on his return to the Shire.

Author Reply: A very good question, part of which is answered eventually in the new WIP that Gryffinjack and I are co-authoring, "Testaments of the Past".

Queen GaladrielReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/4/2006
Oh, I want to cry. And just can't. *sigh* This is very real, Dreamflower. The death scene did bring tears to my eyes-poor Merry! Just in his tweens and lost both his grandparents. I've been in a similar situation, only I was nearly twelve, and it was only my grandfather. But I'll never forget it: rushing to be by his side in time, sitting up in that horrid waiting room, the crushing crowds, the "you poor little dear"s, the dinner afterward, the endless food and visitors, the older cousins trying to keep us younger ones entertained or just out of the adults' way (I was in the middle, so was pretty much left to myself, helping the elder ones when I could), trying to be cheerful. You capture it all so perfectly well, you know. I love Calla, and devoted Yarrow, and I don't know what she (Yarow) will do now her dear mistress is gone. That is amazing about the pictures. I think, if she had remained alive, that Calla would have been good for all four of them after the quest. But I'm so glad Frodo and Merry and Esme could be there for her, and that she didn't have to leave the world in pain. Beautiful.
God bless,

Author Reply: I am glad that you found my description of the way things were concerning Rory's and Menegilda's death to be realistic. Sad to say, I do have personal experience to draw on, for both the death-bed scene and for the mourners afterwards. You, too, have described it well--it is, it seems one of those experiences that vividly burn themselves in one's mind.

Calla might have been very good for them, but with her illness she would not have lived that long, and without her illness, perhaps she never would have had the foresight of those pictures.

I am glad that you liked the story--it was a hard one to write.

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