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A Healer's Tale  by Lindelea 464 Review(s)
Eirinn LeighReviewed Chapter: 51 on 12/2/2015
I think this is my favorite of your stories so far, in regards to style and flow of writing.
And the ending hit just the right note. Perfectly done.

PipMerReviewed Chapter: 51 on 8/22/2007
I just read this story after having it recommended to me by Grey Wonderer, and it was wonderful! You kept me on edge all the way through, even though I KNEW that Pippin doesn't die until he goes to Gondor with Merry! You had me wondering if perhaps it was an AU...but it all turned out well, which is what I like when it comes to stories about Pippin. He is my favorite hobbit.

I really enjoyed your story Jewels, too, which I found a few months ago through recommendations about Merry stories through Anso the Hobbit.

Well done, Lindelea!

Author Reply: Well, then I owe thanks to GW for the rec, as well as to you for taking the time to comment. You know, Merry is my favourite hobbit, and that is why I don't write much about him--isn't that funny? I end up writing a lot about Pippin and Ferdibrand (who appears on the genealogy chart for the Tooks, but is never mentioned in LOTR).

I've only written one AU (if you don't count the parodies), and I wrote that in an attempt to find a situation where Frodo could stay in Middle-earth and not have to sail to the West. In the few stories where I've written Pippin's death, it was always canon in its time and place. (Like at the end of Jewels, for instance.)

I'm glad you liked Jewels too. Was it the ff.net version that you read? Probably, as the edited version being posted here on SoA is not quite half-done. I wince a little at the ff.net version--it was one of my first fanfics and contains some comical errors, like Estella's age being wrong, and my thinking Melilot and Celandine Brandybuck were male names, and using the dreaded "okay" somewhere in the story, which I was told was a "horrid Americanism"!

Thanks again for stopping by!

TariReviewed Chapter: 51 on 7/24/2007
I finally finished this wonderful tale. It could have gone on and on as far as I'm concerned. I knew Woodruff would marry Ted. They were made for each other.
Did you write anything about their marriage and family?

I wished I could have been there when everyone saw a healthy Pipping walk into the room. What a hoot.

I believe you said the story with Jack, Wil and Robin was Dreamflower's Bunny, so I'm going to read that nest.

Too bad there are no icon's to post. I put one jumping up and down for joy right here.

Tari

Author Reply: So nice to hear from you! I do love Woodruff, and mention of her is sprinkled throughout my Tookish tales, but this is the first in-depth look at her and at her family. So you'll see her in Flames and StarFire and FirstBorn and Down and Out and Where the Merlin Cries but I believe they'd be called cameos or guest appearances. Oh, and she has a bit of fun in Where the Love-light Gleams, saving Ferdi's reputation. Ted does not appear, or at least is not named when he does appear in these tales. It makes for a little more suspense in reading A Healer's Tale though in truth he only got his name in A Healer's Tale and was a bit of a bystander earlier.

(I imagine Pippin got quite a kick out of that scene. *g*)

Yes, Jack and Robin are in Dreamflower's Bunny. I do believe Jack's other lad stayed at home with his wife and young babe, this trip. Perhaps another time...

I love imagining your icon. Thanks!

Hope you find Dreamflower's Bunny enjoyable. It's a WIP, but I'm chipping away and trying to finish it before summer's over.

TariReviewed Chapter: 14 on 7/13/2007
This tender chapter brings me to tears. How heartbreaking.

I love the way you flip back and forth, giving us a taste of Woodruff's life leading to this day.

Tari

Author Reply: Yes, this was one of the most difficult chapters to write. Woodruff's chapters were a good tension-reliever for me. (Probably for the reader, too.) And it was an interesting exercise to interweave the two stories.

Thanks!

TariReviewed Chapter: Prologue on 7/13/2007
How hard this must have been for you to write. To see feisty Pippin reduced to this state is aweful. Inside, a spark of the old Pipping must flicker. He will survive and now I continue reading to see how it happens.

Tari

Author Reply: It was difficult, in many ways, and yet it allowed for such an exploration of relationships, which is most of the reason that I write. And I had the comfort of already knowing about the healing to come. That was a *great* help!

Thanks!

TariReviewed Chapter: Prologue on 6/15/2007
I just read All That Glisters and Just Desserts. Is A Healer's Tale the sequel, which would tell me if Pippin survives?

Tari

Author Reply: Yes, A Healer's Tale is about Pippin's losing the fight for his declining health, and his last-gasp healing, interspersed with glimpses of his lifelong relationship with Healer Woodruff (who helped to bring him into the world in the first place).

A much longer story, At the End of His Rope comes after All That Glisters, and the related story Healer's Tale expands on a couple of chapters in Rope, so if you wanted to know more about Pippin-as-Thain you'd be able to read it in Rope, but if you're specifically interested in his healing, Healer's Tale has more details about that.

Does that help?

And thanks again for taking time to drop a note!

Nienor NinielReviewed Chapter: 51 on 9/26/2006
Oh, that was good!

It's so great what you did with Woodruff's character and how you gave her a history. The way the two storylines are interwoven, with hidden or more open references between the two timelines, worked really well for me.

The scene where the Thainship was handed over - funny, I always thought Ferdi might be a good candidate, but it's also good that things came out like they did.

Nice to see something of Robin's conjuror time.

And that it ends with a thistle-teapot... *sniffles*

All the best, Nienor

Author Reply: Sorry for the belated reply!

I'm glad that the interwoven stories worked. I know it was a challenge to link the two together, but was hoping that both would be all the richer.

Thanks!

FantasyFanReviewed Chapter: 9 on 7/10/2006
I have been re-reading old stories lately. I re-read “A Healer’s Tale” last week, and I have to tell you that I think you were absolutely top-form in this story.

It has all manner of hobbity goodness in it. There at plenty of Tooks, with their maddening, endearing ways, and enough Brandybucks and an occasional Baggins to satisfy. There is little Pippin, and little Merry, who are adorable beyond words, but besides that it is fascinating to hear the stories of the adventures that went into making them the hobbits that they needed to be, in later challenges. There are even disagreeable hobbits, Bracegirdles and the like, to liven up the story and make you appreciate the good hobbits all the more. There is wit, and wisdom, and above all there is love. The sheer amount of love that is in this story is just amazing.

The is the love between cousins, new and growing, tried and strong, desperate and overwhelming.. There is the easy love between family of older generations, before cares and responsibilities weary them. There is love of the admirable kind, of an apprentice to a master, several times over, and the return of that love heaping measure full. There is love, tender and shy, for a new beloved, and that same love, still tender but sacrificing and supporting and unwavering, throughout many years. These are hobbits at their absolute best.

And how you make me love Woodruff in this story. You have a marvelous talent in drawing characters from the back pages of the story, and making them real and whole and so much someone I would love to have in my own life. Woodruff isn’t some idealized hobbit – she has her blind spots and her indecision and her troubles, but she makes a place for herself by pluck and luck and her own competence and the fact that she really does care for every one of her patients, maddening as they can be sometimes, being Tooks.

But as much as you make me love Woodruff, you make me absolutely bleed for Pippin. The original chapters in “At the End of His Rope” are hard enough. Pippin is failing, losing the fight at last, but a cure is found, and the celebration is long and joyous. In this story, the pain goes on and on, told from the perfect point of view of the one who had to count every single agonizing breath, and fight for him after he’d stopped fighting for himself, and bear the bitter burden of knowing that no matter how hard she fought, the battle was bound to end in failure.

The interspersing of Woodruff’s backstory with Pippin’s struggle for breath is so perfectly done. It breaks up the unremitting agony, lets us see their long history together and why she cares so much for him. I kept noticing little parallels through the whole story, little clever things that tie the whole tale together. Today, I noticed another one, which prompts this long note, and the chapter it’s attached to. Since I had read this story last week, today I decided to read “Rope” again. I cried just as hard during the ‘Paid in Full’ chapter as I did the first time, even when I knew it was coming. What I hadn’t remembered, was that at the naming ceremony for little Miri Brandybuck, that Arwen gave a butterfly, exquisitely tinted, so that she might know wonder. You had done it again, hit me with one of those little unexpected remembrances of Frodo that take away my breath, trip me off my feet and leave me in tears. In this story, read just last week, a drawing of a butterfly, and the same wishes, had been what Frodo offered Pippin at his own naming day. It’s just a throwaway line, like the reference to Entdraught in the first chapter, but it makes me appreciate all over again just how good these stories are, how well-crafted and beautifully written and so resonant with the spirit of Middle-earth, and how lucky we all are that you’ve gifted us with your time and talent.

I know there isn’t as much time as there used to be, and that sometimes the Muse is not cooperative, but I wanted to let you know I’m grateful for every one of the 470 pages that these two stories comprise, and the hundreds (thousands?) of other pages you’ve written as well. Be well!


Author Reply: I have only a few moments to respond, but just wanted to tell you how lovely it was to read your thoughts on this and "Rope". You know, when I write a scene like a Naming Day or Remembering Day I usually go back to other stories to see what was done before. It is possible that the butterfly is a deliberate reflection, though I don't remember any more what my thought process was. However, it makes sense to me that it was remarked that there was "an elvish air" about Frodo, and so it might not be such an accident that his gift mirrors Arwen's in a different time and place.

I had a difficult time with this story, stringing out the agony so long. But sitting by a deathbed *is* a long and painful process. I admit that when I first wrote the timeline with Pippin's pneumonia followed by his fight for health and life, climaxing in miraculous healing, I was in rebellion against an older brother's cancer. How I wish he might have had such a healing of his own. In a sense, he did, but not in this world.

And now my time is done and I must turn off the computer before the poor beastie crashes on me. But it was so very nice to have a cup of tea with you once more.

Author Reply: OTOH (finishing a thought that was abruptly truncated when the poor beastie started to hiccup) it is entirely possible that the parallel between Frodo's and Arwen's gifts was serendipity. It is astonishing to me, how many time I read through stories, comparing them or seeking diversion or comfort, or when I research past stories while in the writing of a new, to make sure I haven't made any huge errors, that I stumble on parallels that I don't remember plotting. It is as if the Muse really is keeping track of all these details, without my noticing.

Anyhow, *hugs*

ArielReviewed Chapter: 51 on 10/24/2005
Awww... Very well done indeed. Deathbed scenes are always better when they have a happier ending. Thank you for this lovely story.

Author Reply: Thank you for taking the time to comment! (And I agree with you about deathbed scenes...)

AndreaReviewed Chapter: 51 on 10/24/2005
Wow! What an ending!
"Not necessarily the last chapter in Woodruff's life" as you said, but the first time for Pippin to sit at her side as she did - years ago.
I loved the stone he gave her and his wish for Ent draught!

Woodruff is very special to Pippin as he is to her, the child of her heart.
I enjoyed reading this story very much. Now I'm prepared to read "Rope" ;-)

Thank you very much, Lindelea!

Author Reply: I liked the image of Pippin sitting by her side for a change, and giving orders that tea be made in the special pot, and them sharing stones and secrets.

Thanks for your comments! I always find motivation to write, in the feedback I get. And now you're prepared to read Rope? You were able to put it off? I'm impressed by your self-restraint, good job! Hope you'll find some time to comment, when you do read "Rope". It's always fun to revisit a story through a reader's eyes.

You're most welcome, and thank you for coming along for the journey.

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