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Sisters3
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Re: Questions for the Author

Kate,

I really enjoyed the book and felt so HORRIBLE for Grace at the end (I loved the ending though) with all of her love and devotion for Hannah and her job. You did an amazing job portraying her feelings. I also appreciated your author's note at the end of your book with the book suggestions. I too enjoy the same type of books you described and you have successfully created one of your own favorite types of books! Thank you so much!
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goingeast
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Re: Questions for the Author

Ms. Morton,

I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your style of writing. I became completely engrossed in the story and the characters. Yes, some of the characters left me feeling frustrated (especially Grace) and some left me wanting more of them (Robbie, Albert)but overall it was an enjoyable read. I recommended the book to my husband and he is reading it now. Thanks again and I hope they make it into a movie.

Ann
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paula_02912
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Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: for the Author

Ms. Morton wrote: "Hi Paula,
I'm so glad you enjoyed Riverton! And awful though it sounds, I love hearing that Grace's story brought you to tears. It never ceases to amaze me, the power of books: really they're just pages and pages of black marks on a white page and yet, as readers, we create a world in our mind real enough to make us laugh and cry and feel."

Ms. Morton, if a book moves me to tears or to show any sort of emotion, I feel that the book has done what it was supposed to...it enabled me to immerse myself into the story, as if I was living with the characters and feeling what they were feeling or just observing them as they go about, doing what they do each day...I is amazing what vivid pictures words, "just black marks on a white page" can create...it is a credit to the author...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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cybergranny
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Re: Questions for the Author

Ms Morton – Thank you so much for your gift of HaR. It held me spellbound and had me guessing all the way to the end. Definitely the best I’ve read in ages. Can’t wait for your next offering!
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abbyg7
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Re: Questions for the Author

Ms. Morton,
I wanted to thank both you and Barnes and Noble for the chance to read this book. I didn't get very involved in the discussions because it just seemed to get so large and overwhelming very quickly. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed The House at Riverton. It grabbed my attention right away and I had a hard time putting the book down, yet I wished it could keep going on. I ended up feeling very close to Grace, Hannah and Emmeline and was so sad at the outcome of their stories. I am looking forward to reading more of your novels. Thank you again for this opportunity. Mary
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KateMorton
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Re: Questions for the Author


paula_02912 wrote:
Hello Ms. Morton, I must say that The House at Riverton is one of the best books I ahve read in a long time. I loved how it had a Victorian flavor to it. It reminded me so much of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, two of my favorite Victorian Lit books of all time. As I was reading, many of my questions were answered, but I still had a couple...

1. I noticed that three was a recurring number in your story, Why did you choose that particular number?

2. What is the significance of "fog" in the story? I associated it with Robbie, was I correct in doing so? It just seemed that everytime he came around the fog was rolling in and whenever he left the fog was rolling out.

3. The biggest question I had was, Did Hannah know that Grace was her sister?

4. What inspired you to write this novel?

5. How did you come up with the title for each chapter?

6. Do you think that Grace's character would have been less powerful if she was a lady and not a servant?

7. What was the premise of "The Game"?

8. Does naming the character Grace have any significance?

I will stop there...I hope to get on again really soon.




Hi Paula,
I adore Victorian novels (I wrote my Masters thesis on tragedy in Vic. novels) so I'm delighted that you detected a Victorian flavour in THatR! I really admire the dense quality of so many Vic. novels, the rich narrative tapestry.

Now to your questions:

1. The number three is an important number in so many different realms. In particular, it's the number of magic and children's fairytales, so it made sense to me that the Hartford children would seize upon it for their Game (additional to the simple fact that there were three of them). I also liked the idea that triangles are architecturally strong. It seemed an interesting metaphor for the de-stabilisation of Hannah and Emmeline's relationship after David's death.
2. Fog is such a transient, changeable thing. The original title for the book was The Shifting Fog, a description of the way Grace's aging memory works in the story. I liked the idea that the fog of time was moving so that she could once again glimpse long ago things clearly. I also had the expression 'fog of war' in my mind, and felt that it was a very useful metaphor for the way Robbie’s shell-shock functioned after his return: he could repress the horrors for a time but suddenly, and without warning, the fog would move aside and there they’d be again.
3. Hannah was a bright girl; I always felt that she probably figured it out.
4. One of the first images that came to me was of Robbie on the lake bank, the fireworks in the sky behind, and the sound of a gunshot. I knew that his death would be thought a suicide, but I also knew that history had got it wrong.
5. I always thought of the chapter titles as memory triggers for Grace. Themes that described the particular parcel of memories that she was relating.
6. I was determined that Grace should function as an 'outsider' in the story. Her fascination with Hannah and Emmeline is important to the decisions that she makes. And, in a practical sense, Grace had a certain invisibility as a servant and was thus privy to scenes she otherwise might not have been.
7. The Game's premise was simple: it was an elaborate fantasy in which the Hartford children let their imaginations run wild, exploring faraway lands, fighting fierce battles, making incredible discoveries (very imperial, really!), before racing inside to record their adventures in little handmade books.
Kate


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KateMorton
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Re: Questions for the Author


ploabhawes wrote:
Hello Kate~

I just wanted to wish you a huge (much belated) welcome to our large group!! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to chat with us. I really enjoyed your book and I feel lucky to have been included in this ARC group. I haven't had a chance to get through all the posts on this thread so forgive me if I repeat what someone has already commented on......where did you get your inspiration for your characters? Personal experience, favorite books/movies or a mixture of both, or none, right? :smileyhappy: I have to tell you that out of all of your characters, I really felt for Frederick. I really wanted to hear his side of the story because it seemed he led such a privleged yet challenging and solitary life. While you did such a wonderful job making us all envision many of your characters so deeply, once again Frederick was in the background just like his family treated him. Wonderfully done but I can't help but wonder about his story.

This might be a strange question but when you sought out to write your book, what were your goals with The House of Riverton? What did you want the reader to feel and be left with when they finished? For me, each day I looked forward to getting the chance to sit and get back to reading to see where all the chracters were and how they were doing.... :smileyhappy: You truly brought them to life with much feeling!

I wish you the best of luck with your future writings and I truly appreciate having the chance to interact with you on these boards.
Lisa




Hi Lisa,
It's a pleasure to take part on the boards; I'm glad to have the opportunity! Inspiration for the characters came from all kinds of places. As with most writers, I suspect, when I'm writing my mind is always open to ideas: things people say, the way they behave and feel... Some of the characters do share traits with people I know or have read about (one of my younger sisters identified with Hannah but was actually a partial inspiration for Emmeline!). The best feeling is when characters transcend their inspirations to become people in their own right. Grace, for example, was very real to me: I heard her voice when I was writing and never had to wonder what she would think or say. I just seemed to know.

I felt for Frederick, too. As you point out, his was a rather lonely and unfulfilled life, and the scope of THatR only allowed me to scrape the surface: another idea for a prequel perhaps? :-)

As for what I wanted the reader to feel: when I first started the book, I was my only reader so I set out to give myself exactly what I wanted. I longed to escape into a dense and colourful world that I wholly believed in, and for the characters to be people whom I missed and thought about when I was away from the keyboard. I hope I've managed to convey some of that feeling to THatR's readers.
Kate


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Caliwriter04
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Re: Questions for the Author

Kate,

The book is absolutely wonderful! As an independent filmmaker, I loved the accuracy in your depiction of the sets, and the way the filmmaker carries herself. Truly, I love the story. I think it would make an excellent film. The characters are so finely crafted and the the story weaves around them so gracefully.

I look forward to reading more of your work, but I cannot help but wonder...any possibility of this one becoming an actual film? It really is a great piece.
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paula_02912
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Re: Questions for the Author

Ms. Morton, thank you for answering all my questions...in my mind I felt that Hannah knew that Grace was her half-sister, because as you stated she was a smart girl...I just wanted to see if I was reading things correctly...I must say that I didn't know that the three was number of children's fairytales, but I did know that it played a very important role in magic...especially, that associated with Celtic myths and legends...I didn't think that the story would have been as powerful if Grace was a lady, because she would not be able to go into and get involved in so many different aspects of the children's lives...being a grown can certainly put a damper on any childhood games, such as those they played...I liked your explanation of the use of "fog"...I didn't think to connect it to Grace's memory fading in and out as the book progressed...I can see it now though...I felt that it was strongly connected to Robbie...

A couple more question for you...

At what point in the story did you decide to use The Game as a tool to foreshadow what was to come?

Why did you choose Hannah as the sister to whom Grace would be so closely connected? Why not Emmeline or even David?

Once again, thank you for taking the time to be with us on the boards...I look forward to your responses...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
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Re: Questions for the Author

Ms Morton,
I am one of the devil's advocate about the book. I felt there was a good story there, but buried under a lot of stuff that went no where and that some things that were in the book, I wanted to know more about, or people and they were just gone. I was quite frustrated by the book and really couldnt connect with anyone. Alfred, quite frankly was the only sympathetic character to me and I liked him, and I wanted him to marry the secretary, as he did, but stay married to her for the rest of his life and the story not let Grace yank him back and forth again. For me to hear at the end, oh he and Grace did finally get together (after everyone else she runs through is dead I noticed) and that they were very happy, was like throwing a bone at the very end to those of us looking for something of redemption from someone, so it didn't seem real and its the only time I got mad at Alfred. Anyway, not everyone likes the same books right, or sometimes you like the same books but different parts.But to me, those differences are what make clubs interesting and unique. If everyone felt the exact same way I did about the book, there wouldnt be much for me to discuss with anyone would there lol.

There were things about the book that I did like. As I said before, maybe not in here to you, but I think the chapter "Hannah's story" was the best written chapter of the whole book. I dont agree with what they were doing, but it was such a nice, tight, whole little story, with no all seeing Grace telling us whats going on while she only watches. That was a very good chapter. In this reply you mentioned a couple of things I wanted to ask you about:

You said: "2. Fog is such a transient, changeable thing. The original title for the book was The Shifting Fog, a description of the way Grace's aging memory works in the story. I liked the idea that the fog of time was moving so that she could once again glimpse long ago things clearly. I also had the expression 'fog of war' in my mind, and felt that it was a very useful metaphor for the way Robbie’s shell-shock functioned after his return: he could repress the horrors for a time but suddenly, and without warning, the fog would move aside and there they’d be again."
Well this was of interest to me of course because it was in my favorite chapter and I found it very symbolic. When they are on the boat and you describe the Fog rolling in, or out, I thought about Robbie himself and I also thought about that bookcover for Australia named The Shifting Fog and I liked it. I liked how as a title for a book, you can read along for some time and then, there is something so real that you know it does suit the story for the title. I liked the idea of the Fog and I liked it as the title. You mention here the expression "fog of war' as a metaphor. Interestingly enough, I thought of the words "war of fog' for the same reason. That as the book went along, Grace was in some ways waging a war against the fog of her age catching up to her mind's ability to remember. And that Robbie was waging the war of the fog that was created in his mind by actual war. We both meant the same dont you think? Just a difference in phrasing, 'fog of war' being more of a consequence they are enduring and 'war of fog' being the battle they are waging constantly. I did like that chapter and those ideas.

Also in saying how you came up with the titles, one thing that I say bless every author who will title the chapters, so thank you again for that, you said "I always thought of the chapter titles as memory triggers for Grace. Themes that described the particular parcel of memories that she was relating." Kate, I thought your chapter titles were spot on. I think too, that if anyone wonders about a chapter, whats going on there, if they think about the title that you have used as triggers for Grace's memories she is relating, the title will trigger in the reader mind what IS being related, what is happening. I Loved the titles, Catching Butterflies, Down the Rabbit Hole and most especially, The Fall of Icarus. If anyone is unfamiliar with Icarus and reads just the encyclopedia info, they will see how fitting this title is in so many ways to that chapter.

I know I wrote too much here, but there were parts of the book I did like, a story that I just felt got buried somewhat tho and I really wanted you to follow through with some of the points that for most of the book seemed important, but were just dropped by the next chapter. I wanted to head off with some of the subplots rather than Grace very often lol. It seemed at times too that it wasnt just the voice that changes, which they should, but the styles, which got confusing at times. But you seem to have struck a cord with a lot of people and tho as a whole I can't say I am one, for some points I can't just stand back and not say I didnt like them either when those things I did. Does that make sense?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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mvenus929
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Re: Questions for the Author



KateMorton wrote:Hi there, thanks for the lovely compliment! You're right, the Australian version (and most of the foreign translations) contains a number of embedded texts: three segments of filmscript from Ursula's film, a couple of newspaper articles, the letter sent to the Hartford family advising of David's war death, and an English Heritage article (invented, of course) describing the grounds and history of the Riverton estate. These were cut from the UK version for various reasons, including publisher concerns about how comfortable people would be with reading film script (the US version is the same as that in the UK). I was surprised to realise how well the story worked without the articles etc, however I'm planning on putting them onto my website soon so that readers in the UK and US can read them if they choose. While they don't offer new information, they do provide additional layers to the central story, and, as a reader, I love that sort of thing!

The Forgotten Garden contains three Victorian fairytales, written by one of my characters, and I'm pleased to say that the text will be uniform in all territories!
Kate




I think the book would have been better with them, personally. I felt David's death was glossed over, and that a telegram would have put into words what Grace could not. I'm sure the other elements would have functioned in much the same way. Just my personal opinion, of course.
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paula_02912
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Re: Questions for the Author

mvenus929 wrote: "I think the book would have been better with them, personally. I felt David's death was glossed over, and that a telegram would have put into words what Grace could not. I'm sure the other elements would have functioned in much the same way. Just my personal opinion, of course."

I agree with you about the telegram regarding David's death...however, I think that withholding Hannah's letter helped to maintain the mystery surrounding her intent prior to the incidents that occurred at the lake...I feel that if we got a glimpse of the letter before hand, especially Emmeline's, something would have been taken away from the reader's anticipation of what it might say...granted, if just Grace's letter was added in shorthand, it wouldn't have made any difference, since I don't remember how to read it.
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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Kimmi373
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Re: Questions for the Author

My favorite courses in College were always my English courses. I loved reading and discussing novels with my peers; it always proved insightful and added layers to novels that I might never had discovered on my own. With that said, this online environment is new to me and I am finding it just as insightful! It is amazing to me how many perspectives are being discussed and how the personalities of all the readers/posters are emerging on my computer screen. I am wondering, as the author, what are your thoughts on this whole online book club experience?

Also, were you surprised by anything we as readers "discovered"? Was there anything that maybe we picked up on that you had never considered in the writing of HaR? I loved your post wherein you stated that while you wrote the characters, they evolved in their own way; that the characters did not belong to just you, but to the world. I am wondering, while reading through our posts, did you gain some new insight into the story?
I don’t want realism. I want magic!
~ Tennessee Williams, "A Streetcar Named Desire"
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KateMorton
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Re: Questions for the Author


Aunt_Beth_64 wrote:
Kate-

Thank you so much for sharing your book with us. It is a great read. I haven't been very active on the discussion threads this go round because I have been overwhelmed by the volume of postings. Even so, I did not want this "First Look" to end without taking the time to compliment you on your creative gift. I look forward to reading many more of your books in the future.

Beth




Hi Beth,
Thanks for your lovely post! I know what you mean about the discussion threads: I've also been overwhelmed by both the quantity and the insightful nature of the postings!
Happy reading,
Kate


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KateMorton
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Re: Questions for the Author


CAG wrote:
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing in this discussion and it has been a wonderful opportunity to read your comments. I not only enjoyed your book,I really liked it. I will recommend it to my friends and family. You are a good, strong writer and I look forward to reading your next book. Thank you.




Hi CAG,
I'm so glad you've enjoyed the discussion: it's a rare opportunity for me, too, to 'speak' with so many readers in the one forum. I feel quite humbled by the level of reader involvement during my time in the first look book club.
Kate


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KateMorton
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Re: Questions for the Author


mvenus929 wrote:


KateMorton wrote:Hi there, thanks for the lovely compliment! You're right, the Australian version (and most of the foreign translations) contains a number of embedded texts: three segments of filmscript from Ursula's film, a couple of newspaper articles, the letter sent to the Hartford family advising of David's war death, and an English Heritage article (invented, of course) describing the grounds and history of the Riverton estate. These were cut from the UK version for various reasons, including publisher concerns about how comfortable people would be with reading film script (the US version is the same as that in the UK). I was surprised to realise how well the story worked without the articles etc, however I'm planning on putting them onto my website soon so that readers in the UK and US can read them if they choose. While they don't offer new information, they do provide additional layers to the central story, and, as a reader, I love that sort of thing!

The Forgotten Garden contains three Victorian fairytales, written by one of my characters, and I'm pleased to say that the text will be uniform in all territories!
Kate




I think the book would have been better with them, personally. I felt David's death was glossed over, and that a telegram would have put into words what Grace could not. I'm sure the other elements would have functioned in much the same way. Just my personal opinion, of course.




Yes, it's interesting, isn't it? I wanted David's death to shock the reader, just as the news of a loved one's death must have shocked family members during the war, and a black-rimmed telegram, appearing, as it did, without warning, seemed a fitting way of doing so. With the telegram's removal, the revelation of David's death is still sudden (revealed, almost in passing, by Grace) but perhaps not so dramatic.


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mvenus929
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Re: Questions for the Author

paula_02912 wrote: I agree with you about the telegram regarding David's death...however, I think that withholding Hannah's letter helped to maintain the mystery surrounding her intent prior to the incidents that occurred at the lake...I feel that if we got a glimpse of the letter before hand, especially Emmeline's, something would have been taken away from the reader's anticipation of what it might say...granted, if just Grace's letter was added in shorthand, it wouldn't have made any difference, since I don't remember how to read it.

Certainly withholding Hannah's letter until the end was good, but we still got it in the end. How empty would it have been if we hadn't gotten it at all? I can't wait to see what was included in the Australian version that was not included in the US and UK editions.
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mvenus929
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Re: Questions for the Author

KateMorton wrote: Yes, it's interesting, isn't it? I wanted David's death to shock the reader, just as the news of a loved one's death must have shocked family members during the war, and a black-rimmed telegram, appearing, as it did, without warning, seemed a fitting way of doing so. With the telegram's removal, the revelation of David's death is still sudden (revealed, almost in passing, by Grace) but perhaps not so dramatic.

It certainly was a shock, and it did lose a bit of the dramatic flair to it. On one hand, it seemed like Grace didn't particularly care (though she does say something along the lines of 'I don't want to talk about it'), and that his death wasn't important. On the other, her passing mention of what 'happened' to David provided a bit of curiosity that made you read further into it to find out what DID happen. Reminds me a bit of Remus' and Tonks' death in Harry Potter... mentioned only in passing, but so much of a shock you have to reread a few times to understand what really happened.

I will eventually have to read the novel again to really appreciate it, as I'm still iffy on many parts right now.
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jodell7
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Re: Questions for the Author

Hi Kate,
Thank you for the opportunity to read the House at Riverton. I loved the book from beginning to end. It reminded me a lot of talking with my grandparents. They were my second paretns and I was very close to them before they died. I remember my grandfather going back in time frequently about the war and things. I thought he wanted to tell me about his life, but I think maybe he was getting some things off his mind. The book put a lot of things in perspective and I could really relate. (I am 40 years old by the way). The way the book was written kept me wanting to turn the pages until the end. I liked Grace and thought her to be a person who I would like to be friends with. I liked the ending and was happy that Grace got to tell her story and enjoyed how the pieces fit together. However, I was saddened as some of the characters died. I also liked the fact that the story could be true. It wasn't far fetched and it didn't contain information that was unbelievable. I think everyone will enjoy your book.
Thanks Again,
Jodell
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Peppermill
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Re: Questions for the Author


mvenus929 wrote:
paula_02912 wrote: I agree with you about the telegram regarding David's death...however, I think that withholding Hannah's letter helped to maintain the mystery surrounding her intent prior to the incidents that occurred at the lake...I feel that if we got a glimpse of the letter before hand, especially Emmeline's, something would have been taken away from the reader's anticipation of what it might say...granted, if just Grace's letter was added in shorthand, it wouldn't have made any difference, since I don't remember how to read it.

Certainly withholding Hannah's letter until the end was good, but we still got it in the end. How empty would it have been if we hadn't gotten it at all? I can't wait to see what was included in the Australian version that was not included in the US and UK editions.
mvenus -- significant parts of The Shifting Fog are available on-line, at least they were the last time I looked. The link is on one or more of the early threads, even before our ARCs arrived. At least some of the "extras" are visible there.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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