We’re grateful our job brings us to gems like today’s story.
[Sad] • 3,602 words
Pear Butter and Bright McIntosh have recently passed. What remains of the Apple Family find themselves in the care of their newest family member. But they can’t do everything to provide for the new foal on their own.
An ad is placed.
A position is filled.
But loss is a thing that affects each individual differently. And new faces can be both a curse and a blessing.
FROM THE CURATORS: There are certain story ideas which just hit you right between the eyes. “This has about the most perfect set-up of any story I’ve read recently,” AugieDog said in our discussion thread. “I mean, of course the Apples would need a wet nurse for Apple Bloom! Why has it taken all these years for someone to realize that?” And it’s always a joy to find a story which capitalizes on an idea so strong. “This is fantastic, a vivid tale of broken people fixing their lives by coming together at the worst of times,” Soge said in his nomination. “It really puts all the characters through quite the ordeal, but never stretching credibility, leading to a well-earned ending.”
But even beyond the premise, we found much to impress us — chiefly, the exemplary balancing act the story pulled with its Sad tag. “The emotional tone here is very carefully handled,” FanOfMostEverything said. “It lets us feel the characters’ despair without making us wallow in it. There’s enough diversity in the mood to keep it from becoming a slog, whether it’s the attempts at normalcy that feel very true for a mourning family, or intriguing hints of things to come like Rosemary’s first reaction to seeing Apple Bloom.” Present Perfect agreed. “The emotional drain of the situation comes through in the writing; never is it forced, and that alone would make this worth reading,” he said. “But taking the Apples’ greatest loss and turning it into an opportunity to bond with another pony suffering her own loss is a fantastic idea. We get to see grief from multiple sides, and how it can bring people closer together.”
And that wasn’t all that curators praised. “It is backed by some wonderful characterization, powerful drama, and very interesting tidbits of worldbuilding which really help elevate the story,” Soge said. AugieDog, not normally a fan of perspective leaps, was even impressed by that: “Given the subject matter, I find the uncertain and wandering perspective very effective,” he said. “The way we don’t get a single character name till we’re a dozen paragraphs into the story makes the opening very distancing, and it just plain fits. Later, when the POV hops, it’s like the story’s opening up along with the characters. And having the last section be from Apple Bloom’s POV? Just right.” All in all, as Present Perfect said, “this is a really good use of the show characters, not to mention the Sad tag.”
Read on for our author interview, in which miss-cyan discusses dog yards, Equestrian ladies, and yan seeing.