Reviews for The Widower
Lauren chapter 1 . 8/28/2011

Your story is just amazing. Go join this forum now! You SO need to post your story!
cerebral1 chapter 1 . 8/7/2011
I'm not from any review group; your story synopsis just caught my eye, and I'm glad I took the time to read it! Great premise, and promising start. The characters seem likeable. I want to know more about this Cissy and half-brother. I did want to know how old Mr. Avery is; maybe I just missed it on first run-through. I think a variety of sentence structure would strengthen your exposition, instead of continually saying "He rode..." "He turned..." etc. I also think in those days there would be a proper burial for mother and child, esp. if the priest had been called in for last rites. I agree with another reviewer about drawing out important scenes like their deaths, too. But over all, I want to read more, and find out about the mysterious Jack and Cissy, as well as any developing romance. Good start!
STARLIGHT2267 chapter 1 . 8/5/2011
write more
RedactedNoLongerWriting chapter 1 . 7/12/2011
This had some nice moments. I liked the part where he could feel her die, and rushed back to be beside her. That was quite eerie and heartbreaking at the same time. The beginning of this is probably the best part, because it's pretty well written as far as storytelling does, inroduces the characters and scene, builds up, then wraps up. However, the part with the midwife confused me a little, because it re-opened the story, leading into something that ultimately isn't here right now. For a first chapter, sure that's good. But as a WCC piece it feels like it's lacking closure.

Overall, though, a nice start. Good luck in the WCC. :)
Boy at War chapter 1 . 7/9/2011
So one of the things I really liked about this story was the beginning. Instantly were thrown into the fire of Avery's life. We see his wife is giving birth and Avery has a mix of terror and joy. I could feel that as I read it, something I found you did without saying much.

Another thing I found to be a diamond in the rough was the rush back to the house. I felt like I could feel the panic that was in the mind of Avery and could feel the fear in the room. I liked that midwife as well, she seemed unsure and most readers will feel that from the very first description of her she was nothing but trouble.

One thing to say about the midwife herself is that she's blunt. I feel like that could be good and could be bad. For someone so young, I feel like Alice shouldn't be so blunt, and so by her being that way that makes her seem much more opinionated and more of her own character. I noticed Alice has many similarities between Katherine and Marcus and so I'm thinking this might be some sort of love child between them, what with the emerald eyes and Katherine's personality.

Finally on the topic of the deaths themselves, I felt like they were gruesome to say the least. I think that it would have been a bit better if you had drawn out the scene a bit more just so we could get the full effect of the tearjerking moment.
M chapter 1 . 7/7/2011
Great story I'd love to read the rest of it! Amazing author!
Julia chapter 1 . 7/7/2011

So, is this a one-shot or is it gonna be multi-chap? Cause the way you left it, it leaves space for more to be written. Anyhoo, great story, I'ma go vote for it now.

Love ya!

Zachary Ryans chapter 1 . 7/5/2011
Something about that first paragraph seems off. It seems too poetic, and although the tragedy that's introduced shortly is pretty dramatic, jumping right in to that poetic prose feels awkward.

However, I like how for certain portions of dialogue, you let the character monologue the tragic details of Frances' death. It's a common trick, but you did it effectively.

And finally, I liked how you switched to the next scene before closing off the chapter. It flows better than say, start the next chapter with new characters and a new setting.
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 7/4/2011
I love the originality of genre for this prompt. By choosing a genre you are more familiar with but a prompt from a different style, it really challenges your ability to create a fusion that is effective and believable. I think you have succeeded here.

I did feel like you genuinely drew the reader into this world and made us understand another's suffering.

You also present great details of the class relationships within this family and how grief can break these barriers down.

Your connection to the prompt of the river as a healing, purifying instrument is quite clear.

Writing style:

Unfortunately I had some issues with the writing style that held me back a bit, but I think that if you fixed these you will really have a great piece.

I second the reviewer who said that the paragraphs tend to be a bit long and would be more digestible if they were broken up. Particularly with the first para, it is too much to take in at the very beginning, and might put people off.

You particularly want to separate the really powerful ideas. When a dramatic event happens, it needs to be given the justice of its own paragraph. You do this well in some instances, so if you could just replicate this in other critical moments it would work well.

I also think that some of the chunks of narrative could be broken up by more dialogue or action. Tell the story through what happens rather than simply explaining it.

I thought the ending was a bit disconnected from the rest of the story and a few linking sentences might help here.

Characters: you did well in this regard, you could really feel empathy for all of the characters.

Well done and good luck in the contest!


'All these emotions were brought by on by one mere day' - the only way I can think this makes sense is if you take out the first 'by', is this what you meant?

'Avery could not handle hearing her anguish that she only partook for his sake.' - I don't know if 'partook' is the right verb here. You can endure, experience, suffer, live through, be ravished by, etc etc anguish, but partaking iimplies something much more deliberate and positive.

'Even from his great distance to his manor, Cavendash House, Avery could still ' - it is a bit redundant to have the words even and still, choose one or the other.

'She was brave and tried to the best she could ' - should be something like:'She was brave and tried to do the best she could'or 'She was brave and tried the best she could'
Superslow Jellyfish chapter 1 . 7/3/2011
Real quick: I caught two mistakes:

1: and a larger one to fit the body of Mrs. Brook - should be Mrs. Brooks

2: he glimpsed his favorite costumer - should be customer

Okay, now down to plot/characters. I'm going to say that the first few sentences sounded so optimistic, only for things to change 180 in pure whiplash form, and that scene when Avery sees his dead wife is tragic, graphic, and heartbreaking. I wanted to hug him for losing both of them. I'm wondering what time period this is. Is this in the Tudor era? Anyways, it'd make sense for the wife to die since so many women at that time period died of complications due to childbirth.

Alice sounds like an obedient girl and someone who truly loves what she does in life, considering she's been doing this for almost half her life already. If things didn't get any more heartbreaking, her burying her mistress and stillborn was awful to read, which for you is a good thing, consider it's your goal to make us sad for these characters and the story as a whole, good job.
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 7/2/2011
[His mind was anything but calm; his soul anything but open, his heart anything but quiet; passion coursed through his veins; desires flooding his mind.] –Punctuation: the first and third semicolons should be commas, because the clauses following them are dependent

[All these emotions were wrought by on by one day] I feel like this sentence is confusing

[he know felt...nothing.] I think this should be now

[perhaps i could speak with you in the hall] I needs to be capitalized

[I see i was not the only one who needs to do some relaxing] same here

I enjoyed the scenes where Avery fled back home only to be greeted by his dead wife and child, because I think you captured the somber mood very well. I loved how you built the apprehension, tension, and dread into the atmosphere.

Style wise, I feel like the writing could be fine tuned a bit. For example:

[She motioned for him to follow her out the door he'd just ran into, and he reluctantly followed] To mention the word “follow” in one sentence comes off as a bit tacky, and I feel like using a synonym or another description would be stylistically more sophisticated.

[But of course she knew her duty was to bear her husband his many little heirs as dutifully as any other wife would do.] Same here with the duty/dutifully

I know I’m being super nitpicky, but I personally would enjoy my reading better without repeated adjectives/verbs in one sentence.
Kristin Li chapter 1 . 7/2/2011
[He asked if she was alright, is she needed anything.] If she needed anything?

[The poor lady, Alice, was forced to break the news to a perfect husband that his perfect wife and his perfect babe were both dead] I feel like revealing this detail prematurely doesn't really built much suspense, seeing as you reveal this in the next paragraph. Had you omitted this, I think their would be more suspense. Also, (correct me if I just misunderstood the story) but if he'd been at his wife's bedside moments ago, wouldn't he have noticed that she was dead?

[Alice Stanton, a midwife and supreme alchemist for one her age of fifteen had come into her profession at the young age of eight as an apprentice to a local midwife. That was seven years ago, and now she was a well accomplished young lady on her own. This was her fifth solo delivery, the first solo death of both mother and babe, but seventh death of babes throughout her seven years in the trade, one every years approximately.] Although it is nice to learn some information about the character, I don't think that here is the best place to do so seeing as you interrupt the story to give the reader this short blurb. Perhaps you can find a way to interweave this information throughout this chapter or even omit this completely.

[She'd faced the death of a babe before, witnessed her mentor deliver them time and again, but never had she felt so responsible for it] Rather then straight up tell the reader the reader about her guilt, perhaps you could drop subtle hints?

General comments; I do like how you set this story in a mid-evil setting without it being in your face obvious. The details about the priest, the plague, the mid-wife and the servants made it clear to me. It seems like you put a lot of effort into making the setting realistic. For me, it didn't take much suspension in disbelief for me to feel like I was in the middle ages. Also, I liked how the first paragraph establishes a creepy mood. I could imagine the mother's screams echoing through the castle. For the most part, I feel like you have an interesting and original storyline started.

I do feel like the characterization could have done better. I did get the sense that Avery loved his wife Frances, and that Alice felt guilty about the death of his child, but that's only because, as the reader I was directly told those things. Had this story utilized more showing, I feel like it would have been more powerful.
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 7/2/2011
This is definitely a rather sad story, and I think you portray the tragedy well when explaining the father's (Avery's) grief. I can only imagine the pain he experiences after losing his newborn son and wife, and I can feel those powerful emotions within your prose. I enjoyed how he is able to 'feel' his wife's strife, as well as the emptiness when she finally passes. It shows how much he loved her better than any words ever could.

I find the thought of childbirth around this period of time to be frightening. I know how dangerous it used to be, and I think this story does well in illustrating the risks. It's also interesting to see how personal and private childbirth used to be. It is unfortunate that they did not have the tools available to save Frences and her child - I cannot help but wonder if this story took place in modern times, if things would have been different.

I notice that the point of view changes from the father to the midwife halfway through. At first I thought it somewhat weakened the story, because I can't help but be concerned for the father, but Alice also brings some interesting character development to the plot. From the ending of this chapter, I am assuming she is going to be an integral part of this story, so it would only make sense to show some of it from her point of view. However, I think if you added to the father's condition, it would make this more believable. I can't imagine someone would be able to take the deaths of their wife and newborn babe so well; he doesn't say a word, all he does is cry.

One last thing I'd like to address is that some of the paragraphs are rather long and could be broken up into smaller, easier digestible paragraphs. It appears somewhat daunting at first. I think breaking the large paragraphs down into a more manageable size will help a great deal with the flow.

Overall, while the subject in this story is rather depressing, I think you do a great job in portraying the tragedy of death. I can only hope Avery somehow finds a way to deal with this travesty, because I know it must have torn his world apart.