(Transferred from HPFF)
Hi Laura! I actually read this story when you posted it a couple of days ago, but haven't been able to get my internet connection to last for long enough to leave a review *crosses fingers that internet keeps working while I write/post this*
One day you need to share some of your secrets with me, honestly. This was so beautiful - I absolutely adore your writing style and the way you manage to tell every story in a poetic, lyrical way. I think I'd read whatever you wrote just for your writing style, without even caring what you're actually writing about. I'm so jealous of you right now :P
I love stories like this, which take a small detail, a mention that most people probably don't even remember from the books, and create a whole story from it. I never imagined that the fact Kendra's said to look like she has Native American blood would be crafted into a story this wonderful. It's so fantastic to read something like this, which goes so in-depth into her character in just a one-shot, and I was glued to the screen as I read it.
One of my favourite things about this was your consideration for Kendra's background throughout the story. It didn't feel like she was Native American just for the sake of it, but it was actually something that influenced her thoughts and behaviour and that made it feel a lot more realistic and believable to me. It appeared so much throughout this story that I can't easily pick out one example which I really enjoyed, but even down to the fact that she didn't have many possessions to bring and unpack, and many of those that did were related to her background and the country that she comes from, made a real difference to this story.
I felt so sorry from her at the very beginning; she seemed so scared and vulnerable, which is completely different from what she seemed to be portrayed as in the books. That allowed for a lot of growth as a character, but also made me warm to her immediately. It must have been such an enormous facing for her to move from the home and the people that she's loved, and come to England (or Wales - I really liked the fact that she didn't see much distinction between the two nationalities, because that fitted really well with her background) to become a housewife. It's an existence completely different to the one that she's known so far, and it would be terrifying for anyone to come so far on their own and face such a different life. But the fact that she does so shows how strong she really is.
After reading the opening of this story, I'd also be really intrigued to read more about how Kendra and Percival first met, if you were ever to write it (hint, hint!). The story would be really interesting!
I felt so bad for Kendra when she failed to conceive a child straight away, and then went eleven years without being able to conceive. Her pain was so real and tangible, especially when she went out into the garden and cried over it, half-wishing that she could blame Percival and not wanting Percival to blame her for their 'failure'.
I really liked the way that you connected the significance of dreams to Kendra being able to conceive; it was almost as though she was able to reconnect with her culture and background on that night of despair and that perhaps that's what led her to relax enough to then go on and become pregnant with Albus.
I really loved the way that you wrote Kendra's relationship with her eldest son, as well. She was by no means lacking in love for her other two children - that much is clear from what she did for Ariana's sake - but the relationship with Albus is special, because he was the son that she always longed for.
I really liked the way that Kendra could see some of her own qualities and those of her people in Albus and felt a closer connection to him because of that. The fact that she only told him the stories of people she knew (and I could definitely imagine a young Albus demanding new story because he's heard others as well) seemed to cement that connection between them. I also really like the way that all those qualities show in Albus and become some of the qualities that he becomes best known for.
I could really feel Kendra's despair when Percival 'left' her too - I felt so sorry for her at that part, because he was the reason that she'd originally moved to the UK and suddenly she was left to survive without him and manage her family on her own, in a country which had a culture so different to her own and where she still didn't completely fit in. It was so brave of her to continue for the sake of her children and to try and create a new life for them.
I could really understand why the tensions would then arise between Albus and Aberforth, from the situation they're in, and I really liked the way that you used that overheard conversation as a means for Kendra discovering her son's sexuality.
The way that her thought process worked once she'd discovered that was so beautiful. I could really feel the worry that she felt for her son, the desire to be able to protect him from what society would do to him if they found out that he was gay, and the fact there wasn't much she could do about it to help. I was so happy when she showed her acceptance of him, though, and I loved the reference to the two-spirit belief which had been taken from them by the people who'd taken their lands; it's wonderful to think of the acceptance that some cultures fostered when homosexuality was seen as a sin in others, and it's so sad that they were pushed aside. But the fact that she accepted her son and gave him the box which was meant for her daughter when she married (which as readers we know unfortunately won't happen anyway) was so poignant and touching.
I've rambled a lot without really saying much, I'm afraid, but I really loved reading this story and it was so beautifully written!
Greetings from the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, a long-time admirer of your writing (but only from afar, for it is very rarely that I venture from the northern boreal forest for fear that I will be sighted by a human.) In one of my breaks from my regular occupation of hiding from the Lovegoods, I discovered this story and absolutely loved it!
I've never seen Kendra Dumbledore written as Native American, and actually I'd totally forgotten about that line in DH about her looking Native American but I really love how you went with it and created such a rich back story for her and incorporated that culture into her narration and life - it's so well done, with all the references to animals (even if, alas, they are only mundane animals and not mythical ones, which I am partial to) and the culture of her people. In fact, now I can't imagine her any other way. I do wonder how she and Percival met, though - that would be an interesting story too! ;)
This story was such a beautiful exploration of Kendra's life and the love she has for her family. I loved the way you wrote her relationship with Percival, and I felt so badly for her when he 'left' - while it was a sad thought, I appreciated that you went into the struggles she faced as an ethnic minority trying to adjust to a new culture and new country on her own - and that you discussed the racism in the wizarding world, as that's not often a topic that's approached in fic. As an outsider to the world of humans who prefers the comfort of my forest, I could sympathise with her feelings of apprehension of her new surroundings.
The way things change between herself and Albus was so well written too - how he seemed to bear the most resemblances to her people and thus was special in that way - and how he appreciated the stories of her people as well. And then when he changed at school and she didn't recognise him anymore - it was so sad to see Kendra realise she can't relate to him anymore. But I think the way she found out about Albus' secret made sense - and I love how you wove in her people's beliefs and her acceptance - that was a lovely scene, how her tribal wisdom convinced her that there was nothing wrong with what she discovered and she only wants Albus to be free of the judgment she faced. It was lovely that she gave him that box.
My, that was a bit rambly for the usually laconic Snorkack. I don't think I have spoken so many words since Bigfoot convinced me to recite poetry at his birthday party. I guess there's just a lot to love about this fic.
Anyway, to conclude, I love the nuances and the flow of your writing. Your writing is as comfortable as the forest in which I hide from humans. (In other words, amazing.) This was a wonderful read, but I must dash to meet the Loch Ness Monster for tea!