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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 65 -
Is She Coming Back?
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter, the writing was strong, the scene I could see.

What the hell's the matter with her, he thought.

(Tanya's still a bit irrational in this chapt, bouncing between extreme anger and euphoric love, melting at Hans's touch, I think you had plans to modify this a bit, keep Tanya a bit stronger. Though I like Hans's behavior here, and I could see the scene playing out -- though I'm a bit of a feminist, and in some ways, this has the taste of, good thing the guy was able to cool down his woman in her fit of female hysterics. If you keep this, though, a good thing would be to showcase Hans's honor here, I enjoyed that, but maybe reel Tanya in a bit (though that's up to you, how you want to portray her. She is pregnant... raging hormones and all, but there I go, pinning her outburst to female issues. I could understand Tanya needing to step outside, her anger at her mom getting the best of her, and perhaps Hans following her out (not necessarily being ordered out but that could cause other problems in the flow in different ways), I could relate to her wishing she could take Hans to her uncle's. Some of her demands though, I paused on. Her mood swings.)

but you were hungry, and you deserved more than one little
(why did Hans deserve the ham?)

"Uncle Boris has a fine(,?) big bed."

Hans inhaled the clean mountain air. The crunch of snow under his jackboots and the scent of evergreen trees
(I like the grounding of the scene in Hans walking back, the use of more than sight, and the inner taste of some of the things on Hans's mind)

"Where did you expect to sleep? With Tanya?"

He grinned** , although he wanted

Nicky looked across the table at him and grinned** noticed
grinning x 3 in this chapter).

he thought of Tanya, who (had?) failed to return home. By

"Have you taken to sleeping with Nicky?" Tanya asked.
(I liked the humor here, not over the top, and i found it believable, endearing of Hans that he didn't get freaked out, funny that he immediately though it was Nicky)


 Comment Written 03-May-2011

reply by the author on 05-May-2011
    Well, you're right about needing "who had failed to return home."

    "good thing the guy was able to cool down his woman in her fit of female hysterics." -- I had to laugh at that one, but I think he thought she was having a fit of some sort.

    Hans thought of Nicky because Tanya was likely curled up asleep at her uncle's, and he could think of no one else who'd climb up to visit. Nicky's a close friend -- not as close as he'd like to be, but he knows the limits.

    Yeah, too many grins in this chapter.

    Thanks, Turtle. You won't recognize Tanya in the new book, he-he.
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Rating of Chapter 64 -
I've Had Just About Enough of Mama
Hi Nor, I read through this chapter. I was engaged in my emotional connection to Hans and Tanya, Though the intro, being in both their pov's, I thought it would be stronger to stick to Hans on the inside and Tanya on the outside from the start, cause in this moment, for me as a girl, I can imagine Tanya's pov, and was more interested in Hans, plus the rest of this chapter leans more towards Hans.

Hans and Tanya embraced, neither wanting to be the first to let go.

used his thumbs to caress her cheek[bones], wiping away the wetness.
(using bones made me think he was pressing really hard)

back against the wall to avoid her notice. The smell of wood smoke mingled with the spicy aroma of fried ham, making him salivate. (I liked the added dimension of food, though this sentence felt out of place between him trying to hide from the mom, and identifying that it was Tanya's mom)

go. He made a low bow(bowed low?) and snapped his heels

Uh-oh. I think your Germanic charm is not working."
(I liked Nicky's injection of humor in the exchange here, a hint of lip.)

Hans, you don't have to obey an order until it's given to you. We're leaving before he can tell you to sleep in the barn." (as a soldier... I wondered if this put Tanya in the light of more of a rebelling teenage voice than a woman who would understand the dangers of putting Hans in the position of being resistant. He could be in prison, in syberia, or dead, the barn looks good. I was confused by her reaction.

"Do what I tell you!"

(The scene played out clear though, tight and to the point, with bits of the setting that started as pinpoints that my mind filled in the blanks without getting overencomberd by to many details, but not dialog happening in a black hole, using more than just visual, but the other senses.)


I know you are working through editing points and things might change, hopefully some of my impressions are helpful.

 Comment Written 26-Apr-2011

reply by the author on 26-Apr-2011
    They certainly are. I wish I wrote better females, darn it. Hans and Nicky and the rest of the men come much easier. You've told me several times that Tanya isn't "right" as a strong woman. In the revised draft, she and Hans don't like each other at all ... well, until later. He likes Dr. Streicher, who also more or less befriends him. He's doing light work for Streicher around the infirmary, getting over the worst part of the shoulder wound, although his hand doesn't work right yet. Then, I think, he'll be ordered to paint Tanya's quarters -- as I said, at this point he's got a grudge. She wanted to kill him when he lay wounded on the ground. She doesn't like him either, although each of them feels an attraction, it isn't "love" yet. What do you think?
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Rating of Chapter 63 -
Don't Talk, Just Hold Me
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter, Exciting to finally see Tanya and Hans reunited. I liked the brief moment of her not recognizing him, but why would she? And the humor of Hans and Nicky and a bath, that was fun.

Hans thought as he viewed(I paused on viewed) the peaceful

veins, making sleep impossible. He glanced at Kulakov(,) who dozed in the seat(across from him, beside him?).

shave in(at?) the train station before Kulakov hired the

The faint clip-clopping of the horse's hooves lulled Nicky to sleep(disorienting shift, I like the clip clopps, but not that they lulled Nicky to sleep in present tense... had lulled? or recheck it feels like a POV shift blurring the thoughts), and he leaned in, resting his head against

age. Hans dropped to the snow, and Nicky handed their rucksacks over the side before jumping(joining them?).

Hans decided to walk around the house. Hay made him itch, and Nicky's snores were enough to shake the rafters.
(I wasn't sure where he was going? might need to flesh out his intent here)

"Oh! Oh, God, how can it be? He sent you to Siberia."
(would have liked to have seen her reaction a bit/ gotten a better sense of her tone)

and he planted a knee-weakening kiss on her trembling lips.
(I wasn't sure about the knee weakening, in the context of the emotion in this moment, it might be a little corny? Cause it's hard to pinpoint if he thinks it's knee weakening, or if he thinks it's knee-weakening for Tanya)
Maybe just have her knee's buckle a bit, to show it as a weakening her knees?)

I liked that Tanya's father came in at the last moment, that was interesting to see.

A subtle image, but still powerful.


 Comment Written 20-Apr-2011

reply by the author on 25-Apr-2011
    You're the second reviewer who didn't like the "knee-weakening" bit, so it's out in the revision. Thank you very much. Because of these reviews, a couple of these older chapters have made "All Time Best" which raised my place in the ranking system--not that it matters. We know the system's based on quantity, not quality. I do appreciate your reviews.
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Rating of Chapter 62 -
We're Going to Russia!
Hi Nor,

I read this chapter, overall, enjoyed seeing how

Nicky, never far away (wasn't sure about this telling interuption) , appeared
You want to finish our game?"
"I can't concentrate. (maybe delete I can't concentrate?) We're going to see Tanya!"

"Captain's coming back? When?" The boy's face lit with joy. (the face thing would make sense more before he speaks)
(Once?) Satisfied, he leaned back in his chair. "Another

we're likely to get."
(good post evaluation of Weiss, though in some ways, I wonder (in my own brainstorming session) if in order to skip all this preperation stuff, if You could just skip right to Tanya, how she's doing and then transition with Hans on the train and a short catchup on him finding an adequate replacement thought it took too dang long. Either that or flesh it out?.)

smells of horse and leather harness (singular? The homey smells of horse and leather harnesses)

I left my thoughts as they came, but the writing is easy to read, easy to follow, portrays the scene, the anticipation and the movement of getting Hans from A to B. When I read it through the first time, I was anxious to see him get to Tanya.


 Comment Written 16-Apr-2011

reply by the author on 25-Apr-2011
    You're right. I could cut to the chase here, but on your second read you were fine with it as written. I'll be reconsidering it. As it turns out, I'm rewriting the book, for the most part. I had to change beginning, and as I go, I think of better things to put in. It will be very different, if I ever get done with it.
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Rating of Chapter 61 -
Whatever It Takes, I Will Do
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter.

You should have locked him up, Sergei."
(I wanted Sergei to address this comment a little bit more, though it was properly avoided.)

but he didn't want to tell that to her father.
(I knew all those things happened, but I didn't know why Sergi didn't want to say, or at least Tell Demetri he would run his camp as he saw fit...?)
(The prep session on going to talk to Hans was good, but maybe a bit brief, maybe missing the transitional kicker to move them to go and talk to Hans right away, despite a blizzard and already talking to him)

When they walked into the kitchen, Hans and Nicky abandoned (the change of settings in rapid succession might be where things felt rushed... sitting room, blizzard, kitchen, Hans's room. Happens very fast)
like living. All right, I agree I've messed up her life."
(The conversation here started off weird, awkward, in the first half ... to the point where Sergi starts unrolling his plans, that section really absorbed my attention. I liked Hans's excitement, and the plan. The plan was clear and simple. Hans's excitement was infectious.

I think overall in this section, the multiple setting hops is what caused the whole transition from Hans working in the Clinic to Hans going to the farm feel more rushed than it was, and will need to be eased.

The anticipation and news was exciting to experience with Hans, I was happy for him.


 Comment Written 14-Apr-2011

reply by the author on 25-Apr-2011
    I'll work on those transitions, if I keep the chapter as it was.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 60 -
What Do They Mean,They Will Decide?
Hi Nor, I read through this chapter,

You been ... going to move something?"
(Nice way to start, really sets the tone of the tension, and what's going on with the setting in a short, interesting way)

legs in a characteristic pose. "Not in the mood for chess.
try it, not in winter anyway. (Maybe some action here from Hans?) What's taking the major so long?

major's secretary.

She looked first at Nicky, then at Hans, who stood in the presence of a woman. (kind of a confusing contradiction I experienced here. First thing I thought of when I read this sentence... Hans standing in the presence of a woman, I though of him being respectful, then I immediately heard him refer to Tanya as a faithless bitch, and saw him strike a woman, so I wasn't sure what to take from him standing in Askana's presence. )

(this time around, though, I noticed that a week had passed before this meeting, that does slow down the time when he leaves that I didn't notice before)

What is the old fox up to now? (not sure this thought is needed, but I like the after effect of the other one... where he agrees, and then is shown to be wondering what they are about to decide)

making him think of beatings in(at?) Russian hands.

The Russian's open hand hit the other side of Hans's face, and he erupted from the chair.
(Maybe confusion? I'm not sure, but I paused. I would probably say Han's took another slap to the face and erupted from his chair, or something. Only Hans is sitting, so it's clear in that regard, but the Russian came first)

(In some ways, I like the confrontation between Hans and Tanya's dad, but some of the conversation between them didn't grab me. Felt awkward.

Neither of us wanted a pregnancy. (presuming? How can he be sure she didn't... Maybe delete the Neither of us wanted a pregnancy being spelled out?) Hell yes, I care. There's little I can do...

Seeing the red marks on Hans's face,(telling? , I thought since he says 'hit' that you can mention him looking at Hans and frowning shaking his head or... then directing the question to Dimitri,) he glanced at Dimitri Kulakov."Did you have to hit him?"

This had a sense of Normalcy at the end, with Hans doing his duties and reflecting on what the exchange with Dimitri meant. Things flowed coherently, though a few bits of dialog didn't sync with me all the way between Sergi and Dimitri and Hans. I couldn't pinpoint why though.

I liked knowing what happened to Aksana, that she didn't just disappear completely. That gives a nice continuity. I liked the angst between Dimitri and Hans, that he didn't like Hans.


 Comment Written 08-Apr-2011

reply by the author on 11-Apr-2011
    I see your points here. In Hans's defense, he was raised to stand when a woman walks in, and did that from boyhood, long before he was a soldier. The soldier part, his rough past as a prisoner, and his short temper take him to violence, but he'd never seriously injure a woman. As the officer in charge, he could not accept insubordination without losing face (status), so he wasn't so much striking a woman (the Russian nurse) as lashing out after a warning and punishing a soldier of lower rank for insubordination. He even got the commandant's permission before doing so, because Yermakova was a Russian soldier, not a German, and he wasn't sure how far to take things. Her disrespect and taunting left him no other way to handle her, and finally he just TOLD the commandant he wanted her GONE. Calling Tanya a 'faithless bitch' was a surprised and very hurt man lashing out verbally. He thought she had diserted him for her former fiance, Rostov, and it was more than he could take.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 59 -
Are You Telling Me It's Mine?
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter awhile ago, but I kind of just went into a zoom through the next several chapters. I'll give you my overall concern first, then the bits by bits. Things happen so fast, I was shocked that Hans was told about Tanya and then boom he was allowed to leave the prison. I read through pretty fast, though, (cause I wanted to know)and then stopped myself to come back here and slow down, read it closer to put down my thoughts. So maybe my reaction will be different when I slow down my own pace.

head [to clear it] and glanced at his watch.
(wanted to suggest to delete 'to clear it', but I am in full-fledged doubt mode. Your writing is pretty set/sound in terms of, tight and clear. Add a comma/ subtract a comma, moreso I mention to exercise my mind on what I might do/ should or shouldn't do. Which makes me pretty useless.)

already pregnant. What a faithless bitch!" He bit off his
(Yikes. Hans sure is miffed.)

he think Tanya jumped right into Rostov's arms? Picking up
(Yeah, I thought that too!)

vodka and took a heavy hit, coughing.
(makes it seem like he was coughing and drinking at the same time)

Sergei glowered at him, barely able to hold his temper(.)

"Feeling better, boy?"
(Once before in this chapter, you used Boy... upper or lower case, just be consistent)


 Comment Written 04-Apr-2011

reply by the author on 04-Apr-2011
    Good review, Turtle. I've been gone a few days, and will check out your chapters soon as I can. Yeah, Hans jumped to a conclusion. Much of this will change, but I still like Tanya's father and Sergei stepping in, so will try to keep that. Right, things may happen too fast.

reply by --Turtle. on 06-Apr-2011
    I like Sergei and Tanya's father stepping in too, I like Hans being a bit annoyed about it.
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Rating of Chapter 58 -
You Will Not Repeat What Happened
Hi Nor,

Read through this chapter, I was on a roll.

"He isn't likely to beat me or anything."
Hey, :) That's how I choose my man, too. Rotosv has always seemed a decent sort. Though Tanya doesn't love him, I hope he doesn't turn into bad guy. I enjoyed Tanya's talking of him.

Hans blinked awake[,] and sat up, pressing (delete comma)

he covered himself with the blankets. "Why the hell is your nose out of joint?" (I don't understand what this means. Did she break her nose?)

Nicky giggled again.
(should Nicky giggle or laugh? I wondered, but it's not a big deal)

Hans grumbled. "You[ ]'ve been listening."

In some ways, I wonder if for as much trouble as she's been, if Ankasa's exit was anticlimatic, but I'm glad she's going. There's some good humor, interaction between Hans and Nicky here, and I'm glad that he stood up for him. I'm not sure how I felt about Aksana getting skreechy, like she's never dealt with a drunk man before.

I'm glad that Hans didn't get to drunkenly have sex with her.


 Comment Written 24-Mar-2011

reply by the author on 29-Mar-2011
    Hi, Turtle. We used to say "Don't get your nose out of joint" before we started saying "Don't get your panties in a twist." Means the same thing. I may cut the expression, though. Aksana is VERY annoyed with Hans. To her, having a man fall asleep in her presence is the greatest possible insult, even if he's drunk.
Comment by
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Rating of Chapter 57 -
Women Are Faithless--All of Them!
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter, was so glad to see Nicky come back that I wanted to see the full reunion.

she thought, and he tried to escape the blush that
(I have a fondness for men getting caught in compromising positions)

"A pleasure." Nicky made a polite bow. (is Made a polite bow wordy? awkward?)

why do I care what she thinks?
(yeah, why? Bla, good conflict, I know... Hans is a ladies man. Old habits die hard. A skirt chaser, chases skirts... doesn't mean he doesn't love Tanya. Still, funny to watch him worry about it.)

He has asked Tanya to marry him."

"And she refused?"

"No, she accepted."
(Well done on this, breaking the news for the reader, and Hans at the same time. I really enjoyed this news, and the obvious pain it causes Hans is tangible. I wasn't expecting to hear Tanya's answer this way, but it was set up really well, gave me tingles)


 Comment Written 21-Mar-2011

reply by the author on 21-Mar-2011
    Oh goody, I gave you "turtle tingles." Yes, Hans can't stand losing Tanya for good, and especially not to the competition, i.e., her former fiance Rostov. He doesn't suspect she's pregnant, so it appears to him as if she's just used him, like he didn't really mean a thing.
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Rating of Chapter 56 -
She is My Responsibility, Not Yours
Hi Nor,

I read through this chapter. I have to admit, if the Yermakova storyline is done, I'm relieved. I don't think she put Hans in a good light. I found myself anxious through the chapters with her. Not even so much her, though she wasn't a friendly flower, Hans's behavior toward her didn't make him rise above her behavior, but sink.

I thought back to when I first wrote my original chapters with Janice. My mom was the one I bounced the ideas off of and she said. (and I quote) "I hate her, she's a bitch and I'm glad she died..." (um, Thanks mom...that's the main character of the story...) I laugh about it now, but I went back and studied why my character set off my usually very nice mother. I think I got the same type of reaction with the Aksana/Yerma/ Hans story line, which caused me anxiety.

I'm having a difficult time liking Aksana, which might be fine, considering that she is an antagonist, but my dislike of her is making me like Yermakaova more than her, therefore I'm subconsciously rooting for abuse towards Aksana, which is making me not like Hans when he is reacting to her to protect Aksana. (you have to secure Yerma in bad light, more than just bullying Aksana, before Hans hits her. The abuse from Yermakaova towards the patients, which paints here in a better negative light, happens after his reactions.)

Yermakova yelled at Aksana again. Hans heard* her from the sanctuary of his room, and put his hands over his ears.
(wondered about heard here, verse just lifting his head and putting his hands over his ears would indicate he could hear the yelling)

Are they unconsciously competing for my attention?
(Hans thinking both women are competing for his attention makes him come off a bit self absorbed.)

cheek. The sergeant's blow would leave a bruise. Turning

"You bitch! Did you just call her 'the lieutenant's whore'?"
(Akansa is totally acting like a teacher's pet (i.e, I don't have to do what you say, I'm above you in rank as Hans's favored interpreter and I'm pretty and you're not), the reader knows Aksana is trying to woo Hans, and she's all sweet and pretty. Yerma may be a bully, but isn't that how the rank goes? So Hans comes off as a bigger bully, because he's in more charge and can hit an ugly woman.)

backhanded Yermakova, who sucked in her breath. After he
(this caused me anxiety. I was conflicted. Hans is in charge, his reaction confirms Aksana is his pet, above her rank in the rank order if Yerma is a higher rank. Hans hitting her for calling Aksana a whore, uhg. Not making him seem like a bigger man in a better light. (it might be easier to watch if this happens after he finds the prisoner being mistreated)

hell is going on here? He's lying in a damned puddle!
(This stuff happens too late, It might help to strengthen the negative painting of Yerma before Hans hits her. You want the reader to want to see her hit before she's hit, after is too late and the ugly taste is the first impression. Making Hitting Aksana the last straw, instead of the first.)

I'm glad to see Nicky back. It's a relief. Hans might be tired of the woman and slapping them around, but the three of them together were causing me anxiety.

Maybe I'm alone in my strong reaction, I'm not sure. The flow of the sentences and writing was easy to follow, felt strong to me, (only a few comma's separating the subject from the verb, one Ing verb starting a sentence I thought about pausing on but not enough to actually pause. But I really feel that the abuse to the patient needs to happen before Hans hits Yerma)


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 Comment Written 21-Mar-2011

reply by the author on 21-Mar-2011
    I agree. I want Hans to come off as a little superior -- he is sometimes arrogant-- but I don't want the reader to start hating him. If I use this, I'll remember what you said about his hitting her. I didn't get this reaction from readers when I posted this, but you know how that goes.
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