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Reviews from
My Enemy, My Friend

This is a romantic story set in a WWII POW camp

  57 total reviews 
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 75 -
Can You Open That Trap?
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter, I was looking to catch up with some reading and writing today, and this is still on my list as I intend to see how this ends for Hans and Tanya...

Hans stared at the trap holding Rostov's foot and the blood-smeared snow under the Russian's boot.

(This opening sentence felt rough to me, Maybe consider deleting 'holding Rostov's foot' or combining the two in some way?)

God, what a monster that thing is. Must be 40 inches long and it looks damned heavy.
(if the trap is 40 inches long, then the snapper I'm thinking must be at about 20?... more than two feet... where would a two feet hinge hit Rostov on the leg?)

(I like that Hans can't get Rostov out, considering it takes a lot to set them... I don't think it would chop his foot off, but might fracture it... though if it hits him at the shoe, the benefit of the doubt of the buffering, I could see nothing breaking, but still being stuck... maybe gouged some)

y pulled up at the sound of Hans's baritone. Snow and
(I liked the inner thoughts here on Nicky going and coming to Hans, his worry about getting lost... One thing I thought might be helpful here is an indication earlier that Han's sounds like he's shouting. I didn't hear shouting, I thought Nicky was right next to him and he was just talking to him.)

On the second try, the mechanism opened the jaws and Nicky pulled the trap's teeth free of Rostov's foot.

(this is a video of two men opening a bear trap, (one man then punches the bear trap, which might give you an indication of where it would land on a guy, even with the mechanism, it seemed like they had to pull the thing apart?)

we can get him over there and set him down?" Hans bent down, re-attaching his skis.
(don't think this is wrong, but wanted to suggest to maybe use 'and' here... I can see someone -- He bent down, coughing. Because both can happen at the same time, but it looks weird for Hans to bend down while reattaching his skies... also, why the dash? reattaching)

"But your knee--"
(I was glad for the consistency in the reminders that Han's knee is injured, but he still bear and grins through it anyway.)

"Let's wait until we get him out of here[.](,)" Hans said.

(Another thing that I thought was cool, was that Hans had to abandon his first idea on how to get Rostov from point A to point B.... I liked it as it felt realistic and common for when people are problem solving adhock in a situation)

The only real thing that should change is the typo for the dialog tag and the spelling for reattach, I think.


 Comment Written 15-Aug-2011

reply by the author on 15-Aug-2011
    I'm printing this reply out, because as I think I told you, I don't have a clue about bear traps. From what I've read since, I don't think it would cut him through his boot, but the subzero temperatures in Russia would certainly give him frostbite, probably severe. I got him into that trap, and I had the look on the net to find out how to release someone. Don't ever get yourself in that kind of situation. Probably you won't, because you're writing fantasy and making up your own world or hit. I really appreciate the link.

reply by --Turtle. on 15-Aug-2011
    Oh I still get myself in trouble. :) even with things as simple as kneeling in dirt. The bear trap might need a little research, but anything you do needs some research... even if all the research is done in the imagination.

    I once decided that I was going to kill off a character using liver failure.... but I wanted the death to be fast, so I had to research how long, symptoms, if it was possible for them to die in the speed that I wanted...

    I think the bear trap is worth it... even if you have to figure out a way to keep Rostov from getting major frost bite... Like, what if he's not been in the bear trap for all that long... maybe he just got lost for awhile, warmed up at a shelter of some kind... and got snagged by the bear trap only a little bit before Hans finds him?

reply by the author on 15-Aug-2011
    Good idea. Some of what happens next will definitely go. Thanks for continuing to read.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 74 -
Into the Teeth of the Storm
Hi Nor,

(I'm just glad that it's not Tanya lost in the snowstorm in distress, I like that it's the menfolk in trouble. (the girl always needs rescuing so this was refreshing)

his ski poles to get(focus?) his mind on the job at hand.

chair by the(a?) rough-hewn table.

"Maybe we should look there," Hans said,(.) "(W)where the traps are, I mean."
(Maybe consider to be as two sentences for flow.)

Built of worn gray .... "We need to move on."
(As a heads up... as I read through the description of the cabin, I was concerned that it might not have added value to the story or been in the wrong place, especially as it was placed right when they were about to leave. Though, I'm not sure if you plan to come back to this cabin again, I'm thinking this is the cabin that Tanya was at with Peter? If so, instead of spending time with descriptions at the end, maybe have something that will better link Tanya's visit with Hans's visit? Either way, my interest in the information about the surroundings when they were about to leave waned, and in a normal book, it might be paragraphs that I would have just skipped past because it didn't seem important anymore, they were leaving. The transition was rough, abrupt...Kind of like: Look at the surroundings, okay let's go now.)

The rest with Hans finding Rostov recaptured my attention and moved smooth.

So I was super torn on what to rate this as, because for the majority, things flowed strong. Though I do think that transition and paragraph need another consideration. I went with the four because I usually don't feel like skipping paragraphs and the setting might be out of place, like it could go before before the question, "Where do you think Rostov went".


 Comment Written 06-Jul-2011

reply by the author on 07-Jul-2011
    Well, it's not the same cabin. I modeled it after house my brother-in-law built my sister when he moved her and their 7 or 8 kids to Alaska to homestead. Not a straight angle in the place. Believe me. When I visited in '84, I slept in a room where the top of the door was a foot off on one side -- a foot farther from ceiling. I might have gotten a bit carried away.

    Gotta tell ya that the next chapter shows somebody caught in a bear trap. I posted it, and THEN I thought, "How the heck do you get a guy OUT of a bear trap?" Whoops! I looked on the net and fortunately got the answer. I don't think the traps cause bleeding though. I may have to take that part out. You'll see. Know anything about bear traps?

    It's always fun to get your fresh reviews.

reply by --Turtle. on 07-Jul-2011
    What I was going to complain about a bear trap, was that you had it at his ankle... I thought A raccoon trap might snag a man at the ankle but imagined a bear trap hitting higher up the leg. Might break a leg. Not sure though.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 73 -
The Proposal

Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter

(The opening paragraph is strong here, I like the well-laid starting scene of contentment to give Hans the stage to consider if it might be better for Tanya and his child to be with Rostov, though played with, quickly dismissed)

Hans stirred honey into his tea[,] and sighed.

I liked the interaction between Boris and Hans, it was easy to visualize and hear.

In his left hand, he held the oil lamp[,] while he caressed the raised wooden roses with his fingertips. (I don't think the comma before while should be there)

He took her hand, brushing its(her)? knuckles

"Dimitri?" He looked back as Dimitri Kulakov came in behind him, closing the door. (who said Dimitri? was it Nicky?)

I thought this was a strong chapter, easy to read, though there are commas I thought could be deleted.


 Comment Written 05-Jul-2011

reply by the author on 05-Jul-2011
    Oh I used to be so bad about those commas and sometimes I still am! Thanks, Turtle. Hey, I have a book to recommend to all my friends: "the Essential Guide to Writing a Novel" by James Thayer. Now I'm not a great reader, but I read three of his earlier thrillers and they kept me glued to the chair: Pursuit, Five Minutes Past Midnight and White Star. He's written some I haven't read, but now he's teaching writing up in Oregon. I'm equally glued to his book about writing. He has a way of "cutting to the chase," a way with clarity, as when he says, "If your first sentence will make your reader ask, 'What's next?', you've got a winner. If it will make the reader ask, 'So what?', try again.

    Available on Amazon and worth a read.

    thanks as always for reviewing. This scene will probably stay in the revision. I found a photo of a rose-carved bed on the Internet--probably eBay. I do that a lot, get a picture so I can describe in detail.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 72 -
The Rose-Carved Bed
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter,

step aside and let--
(I liked Tanya being a little naughty, though in the last half of the book so far, she's been doing a lot of adolescent type behavior... demanding, complaining, dissing her parents, and altamatuming. It's all within her right and she's under a lot of stress, but it be nice to see a little of the old Tanya too, I know you are changing things a lot, should I wait for the edit to catch up?)

The clean scent of evergreen larch trees revived his spirit[,] while snowflakes tickled his nose.
(suggesting to delete the comma)

Hans did as Boris told him[,] while the Russian poked
(found the comma there distracting)

(Why didn't Nicky go along? I know he was going back soon, his exit and Hans's goodbye to him seemed off in timing Maybe it could be moved to correlate with Han's leaving with Borris?)

He prided himself on his ability to hide his feelings.
(His wick is so short, I have a hard time believing this, cause he's always snapping at people or giving a knee jerk reaction. Though, in his own mind, I suppose him filtering some of his reactions could be what this means)

It served him well in games of chance and with his (My first reaction to this sentence was telling)


day." His slow, thoughtful, and very warm kiss[,] sent spirals of ecstasy through her.


 Comment Written 17-Jun-2011

reply by the author on 17-Jun-2011
    Well, actually I'm doing a rewrite and a great bit of this won't be in it.I've learned a lot. I can't repost, either, but the book won't be that expensive. Hans can, when he sets his mind to it, mask his feelings at least those on his face. He wouldn't have dared show every German or Russian officer he met know how he felt about them. So he can keep a lid on it under the right circumstances, like being dressed down by a superior.

    Yes this one's overloaded with commas. And I'm going to work on Tanya's personality. I'm just not good with female characters. Comes from being raised by Dad after Mother died. Love your reviews, Turtle. It's a new pair of eyes. You like Hans, but unlike my earlier fans, you aren't in love with him.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 71 -
If You Send Hans Away, I'm Going!

Hi Nor,
Read through this chapter too. Lot of I got him, you take him, I'm going, she's staying. She's going... I like the dynamics, though sometimes I get frustrated with the characters in their stubbornness.

His parole required unquestioning obedience. For a moment,
(which is why I'm confused a lot of the time to he gets so upset about having to do less than what a prisoner does, though he later explains his concerns about being told to leave. Borris seems so good intentioned, the conflict made me uncomfortable when Hans is threatening him, but I think the importance comes in that I was feeling.)

"What better chaperone(chaperon)?

"Liebchen, be reasonable[.](,)" Hans pleaded.

I'm interested to see them get some alone time, as well as how flyboy takes the change of circumstance. Hopefully he will still think himself cursed to die and be glad Tanya will be cared for... I'll guess I'll see.


 Comment Written 13-Jun-2011

reply by the author on 13-Jun-2011
    Well, I wrote a response, and it vanished, so if you get two, you'll know it's Evil Eddie at work.

    In the new version, flyboy isn't under any "curse," he's just an unfaithful handsome jerk. She catches him with someone else and breaks the engagement. THEN she meets Hans at a time when she hates handsome men and has heard stories about the Germans, particularly the SS. She wants to kill him, but she doesn't. Can't. He's looking at her and he won't turn away. She's strictly an administrative type. Never been in combat or actually killed anyone. I think it was you who suggested Hans should end up in her quarters because of an order from the Commandant. I like that idea, so at first that will be the case. He'll be sent to clean and then paint her quarters. She won't like it. Neither will he, for a while, but somehow I will get them together. I'm working on her personality too. Making her stronger. Bought some books to study and a software program to keep things outlined and notated. It's called PageFour, and cost me only $35. You might want to check it out on the 'Net and YouTube. I'll probably eventually get Scrivener, which does a lot more, but this one's getting the job done. I appreciate all the help you've given me, Turtle.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 70 -
So Far, So Good
Hi, Nor

I've been scrambling about the last several days, but finally got a good chance to check out the next chapt of this novel, still interested to see how it ends.

he could have manufactured a blush, he would have done so.
(Hans is laying it on thick, but it's nice to see him put forth an effort to get along with Tanya's mom, though in some ways, knowing his inner side, it makes it seem less sincere)


"And your wife?"
(baited question, can't blame a mom for trying...)

He gripped the handle so hard his knuckles were white.
(I got a good image of Hans being irritated, his emotional state as he was questioned, and the insult of being thought a liar)

morning chores[,] and did not return until late afternoon.
(these still make me pause)

Hans stood, offering his hand,
(did he have any trouble with his knee?)

As the brothers left him, Nicky came in from the kitchen.
(I wondered if this was an awkward transition to talking to Nicky? Maybe save this for before Hans leaves with Boris, so that it's clear that Nicky isn't going? Not sure, it was just felt odd insurted)

Things might be a little bit brief, but not too distracting, I was able to follow along and see the progression of the plot, along with a consistency of behaviors of Nicky, and Hans... though might want to mention if Hans's knee is bothering him when he gets up from the couch... getting up after sleeping is always the worst with a knee, it gets stiff so fast.)

Good chapter.


 Comment Written 12-Jun-2011

reply by the author on 12-Jun-2011
    Good idea about the knee. In the revision, I'm focussing on a scene at a time -- building on it. Three scenes per chapter. I had fun with this one. I've never churned butter, so I looked up churns and saw some with a crank and paddles. An older guy who'd lived on a farm helped here. The churn's a barrel with a plunger that goes up and down, not paddles. Saw my mother make butter once. I was about 8, and I didn't know people could make butter out of milk. She had a fruit jar covered with wax paper and a rubber band, and she was shaking it slowly up and down. The neighbor had a cow, a Holstein. Lots of milk. I guess the folks bought it from her.

    Oh yeah, Hans is good with women, even mothers. Anything from two to 92.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 69 -
How Many Mothers Has He Charmed?
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter, I thought food was the way to a man's heart... not a mom's... :D Still cookies, were a good choice. I like that Han's made cookies as a gesture of good will.

"Sure, busted ribs, concussion, don't let any of those little things stop you. Go ahead and bake us some nice German cookies.(I thought this was really funny... nice sarcasim)

"Mama, can't you meet him halfway? Hans is trying to make
(I had a bit of a time disorientation at the hop, I knew that there was a jump in pov, but I was surprised the cookies were already done, maybe it was because of how it opened... like it makes sense that Tanya and her mom might be having this conversation right after Hans left... not the thirty or so minutes later with no context to know it was a conversation much later after Hans entered and left.


 Comment Written 23-May-2011

reply by the author on 23-May-2011
    Yes, you're right. I'm trying out the beta version of "Scrivener2" and when it comes out for real next month (hopefully) it will help with a lot of writing stuff. I can "float" a picture of Hans as I write (a young Helmut Griem, but curly hair) and use it for description. Now I need to find a "Nicky" and a "Tanya" to go with what I've downloaded. I can fill out character sheets and easily refer to them, and can rearrange chapters or scenes with a mouse click. The program's been long available for Apple, and is now coming to Windows. Cost? $40 -- a real bargain, I think.

    I've been very good to myself this month. Tomorrow, Amazon will ship two new keyboards (couldn't make up my mind) and also a Boze CD player for my bedside table with an iPod setup to sit beside it.

    I've GOT to stop shopping, but I think focusing on Dawn's POV class, which starts tomorrow or Wednesday, will keep me from looking on
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 68 -
Why Did I Say That?
Hi Nor, I read through this chapter, I enjoyed it, though in some ways the conversation didn't go in a straight line, which might be intended, because Hans seemed to be wondering why he asked to have a talk in the first place, like he doesn't even know what to say. I got a sense of the awkward tension between them.

not what I want to talk about. I think you (have) misunderstood why I came to your farm."

"Then you came for the other reason, for sex."
(Why did kukalav bring Hans? He went through a lot of trouble)

[Occasionally there are available women. Sometimes a female guard will take the chance, and once a Russian widow took me out of a work gang, bribing the overseer.]
(I don't know if mentioning all the possible opportunities for sex really is needed here, mentioning that he Anskansa was enough, the rest slowed things down)

Here comes the damned Russian joy-juice,(.) Hans swallowed, his throat

this stuff's a little better than some I've drunk(drank?).

"Why did you try to take a horsewhip to me? Dammit, I might not have been suprised(surprised) if your wife picked up a

Hans stood, bracing himself with one palm on the table as rage boiled within. He couldn't understand all the heavily accented words, but some of the meaning came through. "Don't say it!" he warned. "Tani and I are in love, dammit,
(I think there's too much time between the Don't say it... I imagined a person who is angry, who is injured, taking the time to get to his feet, feel anger... and then speak. It took too long. Makes more sense if Hans says "Don't say it!" Hans stood, bracing....")

"I said she cannot be engaged to two men at the same time."
(I'm confused to why Kulakov brought Hans to the farm. Early in this discussion, it might be helpful to reiterate what exactly he wants in this.)
grinned and straightened up. (straightened up as in tidied the surroundings? or straightened his body?)

"Oh, I think a nap is just what I need."
(isn't a head wound mean you're not supposed to take a nap?)

(I had to go with a four this chapter, a few typos and things I questioned, but more importantly the dialog/ action/ delayed dialog thing)

I liked that Hans asked for Tanya's hand in marriage, it really seemed like him, jumping first, off the cuff.... but heart in place and ballsy.


 Comment Written 15-May-2011

reply by the author on 16-May-2011
    I think, as usual, you caught a few things that could be improved. Hans does not believe he has a concussion or broken ribs, and he's probably right about it. Nicky, on the other hand, believed Hans was more seriously hurt. You're right, though. He got over it too quickly. When he wanted to talk to Kulakov, he was roaring mad. By the time they sat down together, he'd cooled some. And he blurted what he really wanted: Tanya. Kulakov brought him to the farm because he didn't want Tanya rushed into marriage with Rostov. She hadn't seemed happy enough about Rostov. She'd said Hans was the baby's father, and since Kulakov and Ivanovich (camp commandant) were close buddies in world war one, he decided to go and look the situation over. He wasn't quite comfortable about Hans--thought him arrogant (which he can be) but brought him anyway. Straighted up, as in his body. I agree with the comments about Hans bragging about women for prisoners. He really shouldn't . sound like that to a girl's father.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 67 -
I Need Him Beside Me!
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter,

He ached all over, but his head--no his side--hurt most.
(I liked the uncertainty of what hurt most, that was a nice effect.)

Pain stabbed through his right knee, which buckled. (Did he fall all the way to the ground? the double knee might have interrupted the flow) Grimacing, he got on his knees,

When Tanya's father responded, he took Hans's shoulders and Nicky took his feet. (This was confusing, how is Hans locked eyes with him, when it seems like Nicky has his feet, and Kulakov his shoulders, it seems awkward, like Kulakov is behind him, maybe better if Kulakov has Hans's feet?)

He turned away from Kulakov, dismissing him. Looking for
(I've lost orientation on how Hans is lifted, looking at Kulakov and turning away from him.)

"You ran to her. Tried to catch her. She fell on you[.](,)" Kulakov explained.

"And I don't want Hans sleeping in a damned barn!" Tanya broke in. "Either you accept him, or you lose me."
(I really don't think the sleeping in a barn thing should be Tanya's biggest point of contention... why not the horse whipping instead? Especially in this perspective. If my future husband had to stay at my farm due to whatever reason, and my dad said, He's sleeping in the barn... I wouldn't argue...Of course he's sleeping in the barn! and my boyfriend isn't even a prisoner of war. So it's a little chilly ... he can man-up.)

"I need you beside me!" Her green eyes sparked with anger,
(This weakens her, to me. I remembered... at this point, how she decided she would have a baby, on her own. Before Gregor offered himself. Now she's angry,.. but moreso needy, after falling off a ladder...after throwing a tantrum.)

I know you are working on Tanya, I had to go with a four on this for the disorientation I had on the logic of how Hans was looking in Kurkov's eye while Kurkov had him lifted by the shoulders, and Nicky had him by the feet.

The opening scene, with Hans waking up was the strongest part, gave a good indication of his injuries, and the closing, kurkov and Hans about to have a man to man talk was a good cliff hanger/ page turner to leave on.


 Comment Written 11-May-2011

reply by the author on 11-May-2011
    Yep, this one needs work, all through these chapters. Both Hans and Tanya are feeling a bit like scolded children, though. Her father knew her deep feelings for Hans, and brought him to her -- only to make him sleep in a barn and treat him like a slave. It doesn't seem fair to her. Hans, who is required to obey Kulakov if he wants to remain on parole, grudgingly accepts hardship,although he'd resist any more physical abuse. But Tanya resents it as old-fashioned, given the fact she's already pregnant.
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Rating of Chapter 66 -
Is My Daughter Up There With You?

Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter, moving along, been a bit sick.

"Hell, some things are easier said than done. We're both
(I like that Tanya snuck in to see Hans, that's a bit romantic, I also like the believability of Hans pointing out the pragmatic issues of getting closer when bundled up, especially for a guy whose not at 100% with his fingers and shoulder to start with)
"I don't often sleep in my uniform, but it is cold in here,
(I found the explanation odd, maybe unexpected, as to why Hans was explaining why he'd be sleeping not completely belted up.)

his loins. When she would have straddled him, he resisted.

"Do I hear my daughter up there with you?"
(I liked the progression of Hans getting caught, and the tender moment of him acknowledging his child and the possibility of future happiness.)

"Is my daughter up there with you?" Catching hold of the

Go to your mother. I will deal with you later!" Kulakov
(Kulakov's yelling does a good job of showing his state of mind)

"Papa!" Tanya yelled. "Hans, don't hurt him. He doesn't

Tanya scrambled down and slipped about ten feet from the bottom of the ladder, falling backward.
(Did Tanya shout? or yelp, or gasp, or make any noise to help the reader better understand she's gotten herself in trouble?)

(A lot of action in this chapter, good scene. I found the unfolding events easy to believe, and everyone's behavior believable.)


 Comment Written 11-May-2011

reply by the author on 11-May-2011
    I like the points you raised here. She should make a sound to show she's in trouble, and there's no reason for Hans to say that much about sleeping in his uniform. If I leave any of that in, it'll probably be "telling" in narrative.
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