Reviews for Nochnayia Lubov
3H chapter 29 . 11/7/2010
Poor lil Dima. What exactly does Alexei have?
Punslinger chapter 29 . 11/7/2010
I like the further development of Dima's character and his attachment to Kolya. You provoke great empathy for the boy without being obvious about it.

One small mistake: "..the tension drifted from the Alexei's body..."

The sentence: "He took out the iodine and collecting jars in shame-laden silence." seems awkward. See if this is better: "The boy's lack of reproach sent guilt spiraling into Chelyadin's gut as he took out the iodine and collecting jars."
Tawny Owl chapter 17 . 10/30/2010
Ensemble piling in around – I like that you used a theatrical term, even though they are out of that context. It really works well.

Even if her violin case was jammed like a tiny chaperone between them. – that’s nice too.

The bit with the Pioneers Anthem was enjoyable too. It makes sense that they all would have been members, but would now be pretty embarrassed about it. Did you read about something similar or were you being intuitive with that?

The following conversation is a tiny bit confusing, but the description was so lovely (a nose like a bar of gold!) that I didn’t really mind. And it was the kind of casual chaos you get in a big group of people all talking at once. I would try to make the ballet dancers more distinctive in some way though. Or at least pick out the one who took Katya to the bathroom. Give them a distinctive feature or something, at the moment they all seem like a blur.

The conversation between Nikolai and Katya felt really natural too. Not the kind of forced ‘we have to say something now’ sort you get in situations like that sometimes. I slipped straight into it.

Islands of memory surfaced from the night before. – that whole paragraph was blissful.

Adrift in the corridor, his heart was a bruise, and the plum ripening. It’s all too good. Stop it, I’m jealous.

Katya’s reaction hints at something ominous though.

There. Problem solved. – Are you kidding me, Nikolai? All that mooning and now you’re just going to walk away? If he had mobile he’d be leaving incoherent, needy messages the minute he got home.

I liked how you coupled the snapping on of the suspenders with him reaching a decision though. The action reinforced the thought.
Punslinger chapter 28 . 10/30/2010
"An old injury. It's nothing. Just a bit stiff, I suppose." The last two words are unneeded. Anyone with a stiff knee doesn't have to do any supposing about it.

I'm somewhat put off by the way the tsar allows a lowly commoner-formerly one of his hated communist enemies-access to his exalted presence without guards or other lackies on hand to keep her in line. But I can see how you are trying to build a personal relationship between them. So I will suspend disbelief for the enjoyment of the story. Likewise his lack of knowledge about contraception. Hard to believe he could be ignorant of the scientific facts of life.

I like the smooth way you used the dark room as a device to trigger the tsar's flashback.
Michael Howard chapter 28 . 10/29/2010
"Was she become so used to Imperialist ways... "

Shouldn't that be "Had she become" or "Was she becoming"?

And I also though you were a bit skimpy with your commas in one or two places, but this pales before the superb quality of your dialog here and excellent similes like "piano key" eyes.

I don't know how significant the details of Alexei's escape from the Reds will be to the story as a whole but I still loved seeing this elaboration.

Maybe his sister will get a similar flashback...
Narq chapter 28 . 10/29/2010
This is such a sweet chapter between the two.

it feels like nothing much has happened, but then it feels like a lot has happened.

I still laugh at the 'shot' pun.

"Was it against his religion? she thought suddenly. Would he rage and preach and force her to bear a child for the sake of a job?" - it's good that you added this. I think I know why he asked.

:D
3H chapter 7 . 10/29/2010
Okay, upon re-reading the first seven chapters I came to the conclusion that Katya is... Turkish? Yes or No? And her dream with Eleni telling her she's dying and that she'll join them soon bothers me. Please tell me she doesn't die. Please oh please don't let her die! Like Koyla says she's going to live. I ma flip if she dies at the end of the story. Ugh...I guess I'll have to wait and see. Hurry and update!
Tawny Owl chapter 16 . 10/29/2010
various stages of underclothes. – something about the wording of this is bugging me. I don’t know if it should be undress or not.

choreographed into a frenzy of tulle and silk, and the dancers were dropping their sweat-soaked costumes with undisguised relief. – I love this though. And I think you could go into more detail of what can be glimpsed under the costumes, just so I have the pleasure of seeing Nikolai squirm more.

"Come on, caterpillar," Tolik called to him. – loving the caterpillar reference. You should stipulate the him is Nikolai though, as it’s been a while.

They hung like fruit waiting to drop – another demon bit of description!

I love the description of Anya too, the mincing and head tilting. You make her seem like a swan that’s still dancing – even with her bleeding feet.

It would be worth noting Nikolai’s reaction to the scene too. Is he curious, or is he playing the piano again? We’re in his pov almost, and I think you need to remind us of that.

but the sea of backs stared blankly at him – nice!

Nikolai’s eavesdropping was really enjoyable. You had the detail of the sounds down completely, and the lips stick bit made me laugh.

The contrast between the fur and wool was a good one. Poor Nikolai though: I think the description of puppy is spot on. Actually it kind of makes me want a puppy too.

And he doesn’t like soldiers! Aww, that’s sad what with knowing where he ends up.

Like Pasha hauling them in by the ears too. It conjures up this wonderfully lively chaos.
3H chapter 27 . 10/23/2010
I get it now! Poor Nico...
lookingwest chapter 13 . 10/23/2010
I love your ability to delve into an entirely new character and bring them to life as if we have known them for the entire story. I liked this chapter a lot because it not only demonstrated your knowledge of Soviet Russia and the communist regime, but it also demonstrated your ability to create character depth and development.

The beginning few paragraphs had me entirely immersed, seriously, there were different things going on around me when I was reading at first but I didn't even notice-I just went right into the narrative, so excellent beginning for sure! And it just really went into characterization without becoming too heavy or seeing like an information dump, so it was also well balanced.

Enjoyed Nora's character, she really seems to be a product of Soviet Russia for sure, and it was quite frightening to see her subjugated to meet with the Tsar, I was very afraid for her as the car drove up-I thought for sure she'd be arrested. Especially after those slips of the tongue she was making before she met with him! It actually surprises me that they wouldn't dispose of someone so obviously part of the old regime that even her own name holds its meaning. I was also surprised that Tsar actually met with Nora himself-I expected one of his lower secretaries or something to hand out the news, but there you go. As you're always historically accurate my moment of doubt was relinquished by the Tsar's characterization as well.

I liked the description of the Tsar from Nora's eyes, it's cool that we're getting different character perspectives of him, and Nora's was the most interesting because she had such a radically different picture of him in her mind. Again, I was quite afraid of him but I love that Nora is a character who can mask her inner fears. Their dialogue was quite tense.

I liked the care for the setting too, because you mention that it unnerves Nora, and that attention to detail and how it affects a character's mood is wonderful. I also thought you did a wonderful job describing the car ride and everything-you kept going back and forth between her thoughts and the action and then also when you were playing with her in the palace. It was all so well balanced!

I look mega forward to continuing Sophie! If I wasn't so busy in the fall I'd be caught up by now
Michael Howard chapter 27 . 10/23/2010
Okay somewhere along the way I've gotten a bit confused. Well, a lot confused actually. When at the end of Chapter 26 Nikolai refers to Nora as Katyushka I thought it was because a) he was drunk and b) he was obsessed with the latter female. But now here in the light of day and sobriety he still thinks N is K. If he met the real Katyushka back in Chapter 16, shouldn't he be able tell the difference now? And if Nora has been posing as Kat all along, then they couldn't meet in this chapter, could they? Or could they? It occurs to me that posing isn't the same as being...

But other than the fact that I've been so dense as to miss some illuminating passage along the way describing the true connection between Nora and Katyushka, this was an enjoyable installment with your characteristically smooth and compelling narrative. Although, just to maintain my quibbler status I will point out the following sentence: "Adoring the heat soaking into her cold dry bones, she wetted the brush, stirring into it in the mug above the soap, watching the lather form as if hypnotised." does seem to have an extra word in it.

But don't get the idea I disliked the shaving scene, far from it. So you did you say would be playing Nora in the movie version?
Punslinger chapter 27 . 10/22/2010
You continue to make Nora a more interesting though less admirable character. But then, she was a rather coldly calculating self-centered bitch from the start. It's fascinating to watch the story play out with the grim inevitability of traditional Russian tragedies.

You pay close attention to Nora's personal activities. But did Russian women shave their legs in those days? I recall reading in old novels that American men wer surprised-but not turned off-by the hairy legs of women in France and other European countries.
Narq chapter 27 . 10/22/2010
:shiver:

This chapter is GOD. It's definately one of your best.

Nikolai!/Her hands clutched the bedspread. Bastard!

- haha, like how its somewhat ambigious whether she's cursing her or just repeating what she was saying.

she'd missed him and kissed the bedpost instead. ...Then she remembered Kolya had tried to peel her off the bedpost. She'd become jealous and swiped a punch at him. Missed, thank god. No wonder he'd left her to sleep alone.

- haha. Nice. But would she call him Kolya? She called him Nikolai last time

Nora felt vaguely protective. Nora might be allowed to swipe at him but she'd be damned if anyone else did.

- ooh~ does she like Nilokai?

Nora's thoughts faltered, knowing now the figurehead she made jokes about was not just a figurehead but a man. A very real man. She sighed, fingering her glass.

- this is good, but it's not sure why she falters, just because of the morality of it? (laughing at her boss?) or because she's scared or because she likes him? Also, having 'fingering' right after seems a bit weird - though if that's what you want to imply, it's okay.

That woman was no match for Nikolai. He deserved a little better, at least.

- Oh, so Nora does like Nikolai (on the other hand, does she regard herself as 'better'?)

Then cold hands slipped beneath her blouse. She tried not to tense. They rubbed into her back, warm and slow.

- oh, Kolya, that's a bit automatic ;) Um, what I was going to say was maybe you should have a reaction from Nora after Kolya's 'nice' movement? Does she hate it? Does she relax? It might tell us a bit more about why exaclty she tenses (which does bring up a few questions - is it just because she doesn't like the cold hands, or is it because it brings up memories?)

Something clicked into place in Nora's mind.

- I'd say not to use the word 'click' because it's associated (in this chapter at least) with the camera

He didn't love her. He loved her camouflage. He fell in love with Katyushka's music. He still loved that person, that empty disguise. A frown fierce enough to cleave into a headache threatened.

- hm, this seems like Nora genuinely feels hurt. I don't know, I feel like Nora's liking Kolya?

Peeling free of his hands, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. He was just a job. This was getting in too deep.

- ah. Nice. Shows her dedication of her work, shows how she's trying to peel herself from this relationship too.

Innocence, and security: one term that was ridiculously vague, and one that was iron-clad sure.

- I like how this theme leads up to the idea of how far should we be monitored - national security or privacy?

Lovely chapter!

Narq.
Tawny Owl chapter 15 . 10/10/2010
It’s been a while again, but when we got back to Nikolai I got a bit carried away and read on ahead…

Repetition of youth in the first two lines which breaks up the flow a bit.

Pasha, Tolik, and Grisha sucked at their vodka bottles, crowding into the entrance to Nikolai's family's St Petersburg apartments – This is a nice image.

And the reference to the ballet as a hunting ground too!

I do find it hard to differentiate between Pasha, Tolik and Grisha though. You need to throw in something like hair colour, or which one the girls are more likely to go for, or which one Nikolai gets on with the most, some emotion or memories about them. I like the way you discribe Grisha’s lips as ‘salami’ but I think it needs to be expanded with something that makes it easier to get a visual hold on him.

I really do love the way you described these four drunk young men carousing out in St Petersburg though, I wanted to go too.

Grisha-less existence-" Ha!

In his village (,)as here, nothing had changed

"He's been poaching before the season's opened, that's what!" – and this too. I am now thinking of Grisha as the one with the best lines.

There was a muffled pause as the clapping ended. The corridors lay barren, then the doors to the ballet theatre stalls burst open and a babbling brook of fur and velvet and diamonds flooded out. – lovely.

Katya! The first one though – not the one from the gulag.
3holmes chapter 26 . 10/9/2010
Why do i feel lost? Last chapter was a confession and now nora's trying to get more info outta nico? Whats up?
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