SIYE Time:23:08 on 20th January 2019

Reviewer: mcepl Signed Date: 2018.06.04 - 05:44AM Title: The Drop Off

Being non-Brit I love to go through places described in the HP fanfiction stories and looking them up on Google Maps. Is this the school all kids went into ?

Author's Response: They went to a school a little similar to that one, but its name was different, and so is its design, and the surrounding properties. I keep the village names, but some properties are moved (the model for Lintzgarth is actually in Teesdale) and others (like Drakeshaugh) simply don't exist. -N-

Reviewer: mcepl Signed Date: 2018.01.28 - 03:41AM Title: The Drop Off

I have myself read and re-read whole Strangers fifteen times at least and it is close to my most beloved of all your stories (and you are in my opinion one of the best HP-fan-fiction authors). Thank you very much.

However, that is not the point I write this review. In my excitement over this story, I passed it to my mom as probably one of the best stories, most qualified to be read by normal person. She read Harry Potter and liked it, but she is certainly not the Potterhead to the level I am (what kind of rotten fish ghost ate in the Nearly Headless Nickís 500 years Deathday party?). However, generally she reads a lot, she likes her Austen, Dickens, Brontes, etc. so I thought Strangers might be of interest to her.

She was actually quite unhappy with it, because in her opinion it is too slow: too much drinking cuppa, taking kids to and from school, and not much action for too many first chapters. After yet another rereading (or two, or five) I have to agree with her to some extent. I am too much immersed in the Potterhead jokes in the story (ďI know what Ginny is trying to cover right now!Ē, ďAnd now I wonder how Jacquie gets over the Apparation of the MIT to Drakeshaw the moment they are needed.Ē, etc.) that I can survive plenty of text without much real action. I am afraid, sensibilities have changed since Austen could write Emma without much story at all, and one third of the book completely useless (put the ball substory somewhere else, and you can get rid of whole second part of the novel without changing anything on the result).

To make my mom happy, I gave her Tales of the Battle and some MIT stories, and I am glad to report she like them very much.

And yet I am listening to the book (via TTS) for twentieth time, and laughing at now familiar jokes again (ďI truly have to be paranoid, when I think those bats were following us from Drakeshaw home.Ē). And even with my other objection (some of the interludes are nice one-shot stories, but hurting the unity of the novel as whole) I am looking eagerly forward to new chapters. Please, do not give up on this novel.

Thank you

Author's Response: Strangers is very popular, and I've always been certain that most of that popularity is due to the fact that readers know more than Jacqui. They spot the clues she misses. But that also means that readers who aren't fans will find the story confusing and boring. That's fine. The bottom line is that I write as a hobby, and I write what I want. -N-

Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2014.04.08 - 05:09PM Title: The Drop Off

Ah, the perils of our crazy language! By "facile style" I was thinking more of 'effortless' rather than 'superficial' or, heaven forbid, 'facetious'! Anyway, let me elaborate a bit more and say that the words and images just seem to glide into cache.

You asked why people would especially like 'Strangers'? When I first wrote the review below, I hadn't read any of your others. At this time if writing I've run through a few more, but while I've enjoyed each of them, Strangers remains my favorite. I have a number of personal reasons for the preference, perhaps some of which overlap with other readers:

1) This is the most comprehensive display of Ginny and Harry as loving parents. They are simply superb, nurturing mentors in all your stories, but the cumulative parenting emphasis seems to be greatest here.

2) I would say 'point of view' rather than 'narrator'. Jacqui is nice, and plays well off the family, but the most compelling concept is exploring how a relatively normal person in a normal community might respond to good-hearted, well-intentioned newcomers who are just a bit outside the ordinary? I think that's probably enough of a sub-genre of its own that many readers probably feel an inherent comfort level with the framework. I agree that you couldn't do everything like that though -- there are only a modest number of unique ways this story could be told.

3) You spoke at some point about moving the plot along slowly. That has worked very well in this story. The sense I got from it is that it's sort of like an old-fashioned radio drama, with the "stay tuned next week for ...." feeling as you go from chapter to chapter. Another way of looking at it is that I enjoy the story in the telling; in the gradual day-to-day elaboration. Many stories one gets an early sense of where things are headed and then looks impatiently ahead for resolution, but in this one the joy is in the moment. The reader doesn't really need that climax and denouement. Though I'm sure the author does :)

Author's Response:
Thanks for the review.

1) I base my assessment of Harry and Ginny as parents on the DH epilogue, Nineteen Years Later, which (in my opinion) is brilliant, and a lesson in tight and concise writing. I seem to be in the minority in holding this opinion. JKR shows, in very few words, that Ron is a competitive dad, and is still a little scared of letting Hermione see his shortcomings. She also shows Harry and Ginny practicing ďteam parentingĒ. Ginny ďpretends not to noticeĒ Alís concerns, and steps back to let Harry deal with Al.

2) Youíre right that itís the outsiders point of view which makes this story work the way it does, but I think (hope) that Jacqui helps it along. Iím a firm believer that no one is really ďnormalĒ and so is Jacqui. Look carefully at anyone and youíll find a petrolhead, or a reader of whodunnits, or a train spotter, or a keeper of tropical fish, or a swimmerÖ Jacqui tries to accept everyone, and that helps.

3) All stories need a beginning, a middle, and an end, and this story will conclude when the murderer is caught. There will probably be other Drakeshaugh tales (there already are), but I donít think that there will be another Jacqui-narrated novel.


Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2014.04.05 - 01:59PM Title: The Drop Off


Well, it's a good think I'm my own boss, because otherwise I would certainly be in trouble for the number of times I tabbed over the to 'Strangers at Drakeshaugh' window over the past week, making my way through your story.

Like DukeBrymin (and perhaps even more so) I would have to conclude that you have a wonderful outlook on life, given the earnest warmth and integrity of your characters, and the wonderfully vivid personalities of the children.

I'm thoroughly envious of your facile story-telling and the casual, free-flowing prose unburdened by gratuitous complexity. Well done!

Author's Response:
Thanks for the review.

I wish I could figure out why this story, over and above any of the others, is so popular. It may simply be the narrator. But I canít write every story from a first person Muggle perspective. Even if I did, I think people would get bored.

I simply have to content myself with the fact that my original characters are (mostly) likeable, and readers like them. However, Iím not sure I like the word facile. :-D I try to keep my prose simple, but hopefully not facetious. Thanks anyway.


Reviewer: Birlan Signed Date: 2013.07.14 - 11:45PM Title: The Drop Off

Glad to see more and am grateful when that happens. Jacqui notices everything but never (?) puts it together. I don't know if you will ever write the story of Jacqui learning the truth. Or if she does.

Sorry to hear your sad news. Thanks.

Author's Response: Thank you.
Jacqui lacks the knowledge of the big secret we all share as Potterfans. She rationalises because she has to. I know exactly when, where and how Jacqui learns the truth for the first time (and for the second time, too), but that wonít be revealed in this story.

Reviewer: 83gemini Signed Date: 2012.06.10 - 02:33PM Title: The Drop Off


To follow up on my nitpicky review I notice that Trudi is mentioned as being on maternity leave. Does that make her not noticeably pregnant? Or does it mean that Michael and Trudi are adept at finding childcare, and Neville and Hannah are not? She's an interesting character.

Look forward to more, as always.

Author's Response: Damn, well spotted, that should be Shirley, not Trudi. I'll make that change to chapter 9 and upload the amendment. You don't know who Shirley is, and you don't need to, you just need to know that the Auror Office is stretched. You'll be seeing a lot more of Trudi, and not just in this story. -N-

Reviewer: ngayonatkailanman Signed Date: 2012.05.24 - 10:29PM Title: The Drop Off

Oh dear..... I am re reading.... again.... aren't I?

Author's Response: Don't worry, it doesn't bother me. -N-

Reviewer: AliR Signed Date: 2012.04.11 - 02:15AM Title: The Drop Off


Great chapter as usual!
You are a brilliant author, you have built your own HPís world and itís perfect.
Iím not very good at English, so I canít tell you moments I like properly . It will be too many mistakes.
Iím looking forward to the next chapter
Keep writing ;)

Author's Response: Thanks for the review.
Iím glad youíre enjoying this story. Your English seems pretty good to me. :-D More soon.

Reviewer: santafe Signed Date: 2012.04.04 - 06:50PM Title: The Drop Off


This is really well-drawn. I like the way you have the young ones listening to the conversations, and the fact that the piece is from a Muggle perspective is really good. Liked the detail a lot. SF

Author's Response: Thanks for the review.
Kids do listen, especially when you donít want them to. Jacqui has proved to be a much better (and more popular) narrator than I expected.

Reviewer: bricat Signed Date: 2011.03.31 - 01:16AM Title: The Drop Off


Really good start. Can't wait to read more

Author's Response: Thanks for the review. -N-

Reviewer: Anastashia197 Signed Date: 2010.08.30 - 02:26AM Title: The Drop Off


AHHH! I'm so excited...

Author's Response: Thanks for the review

Reviewer: Birlan Signed Date: 2010.08.17 - 07:13PM Title: The Drop Off


I enjoyed this beginning. I've always been curious how the folks we read about look to outsiders--and this seems like a way to tell that story. With some interesting complications. Looking forward to seeing more. Thanks.

Author's Response: Thank you. Trying to tell this entire story from Jacquiís perspective while including the hunt for a werewolf is going to be interesting. -N-

Reviewer: melodylaner Signed Date: 2010.08.17 - 05:31AM Title: The Drop Off


No Review

Reviewer: ngayonatkailanman Signed Date: 2010.08.17 - 04:43AM Title: The Drop Off


A very brilliant idea. It was most enjoyable to read. Any more?

Author's Response: Yes, definitely, especially given the response (thanks). -N-

Reviewer: jojo99 Signed Date: 2010.08.17 - 03:05AM Title: The Drop Off


I love how this is totally different to any other story I've read post Hogwarts - looking forward to more

Author's Response: Thanks I'm moving between chapter 2 of this and chapter 14 of Aurors and Schoolgirls. A&S will be done first, I think. -N-

Reviewer: DukeBrymin Signed Date: 2010.08.16 - 12:57PM Title: The Drop Off


Very engaging first chapter, eagerly looking forward to more.

Author's Response: Thanks More after the next chhapter of A&S N

Reviewer: GREYWOLF Signed Date: 2010.08.15 - 08:27PM Title: The Drop Off


Nice start, reminds me of the Incredibles.

Where is Drakeshaugh in relation to Ottery St Catchpole? (sorry ignorant Yank). Is there a reason they've moved so far from family I wonder?

Author's Response: Reminds you of the Incredibles! (-: There is no higher praise. I will edit and add an Authorís note: This is the other end of England to Ottery St Catchpole. Alwinton and Harbottle (and Harbottle Castle and the River Coquet) are real places in Coquetdale (obviously) in the Cheviot Hills, Northumberland. Iím familiar with the area so it makes life easier for me. The house called Drakeshaugh (pronounced Drakes-hoff) does not exist, but Drakestone Burn and the Drake Stone itself do. Haugh is an old English word meaning meadow, or hollow (or sometimes hidden place) and is a common place name in Northern England and Scotland.

Reviewer: freshwater Signed Date: 2010.08.15 - 06:46PM Title: The Drop Off


Intriguing premise....I hope you'll continue with it.

Author's Response: Chapter 2 is in a decent draft, chapter 3, is rougher, but things are moving forwards. -N-

Reviewer: dshadel Signed Date: 2010.08.15 - 03:45PM Title: The Drop Off


Good start to the story, in looking forward to reading more

Author's Response: Thank you, more soon. N

Reviewer: st122 Signed Date: 2010.08.15 - 02:41PM Title: The Drop Off


Nice, it would be great to read an entire story from a Muggle POV (I am thereby assuming that Jacqui is a Muggle and not some reclusive witch). I am already captivated, hope to read more soon. Thanks for sharing.

Author's Response: Youíre correct, Jacqui is a Muggle. Iím trying to discover whether I can write an entire H/G story from the pov of a Muggle neighbour. -N-

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