Thursday, July 3, 2014

REVIEW: Darnay Road by counselor

Some stories have such a big following that it’s hard to remember where you first heard about them because every-freaking-body you know is reading them.  They're the stories that are recognized by initials or stand-apart details and are immediately connected to an author's name. They get you talking, screaming, and swooning about fic, and often become the standard by which other stories are compared. These are those stories.

We've invited three guest reviewers to share their thoughts on some of our recent ‘we can’t stop talking about them’ favorites.

Darnay Road by counselor
Starts out in summer of 1963. Sweet little ten year old Catholic school girl Bella Christine meets 11 year old smoker with armpit hair who really does live on the wrong side of the tracks Easy. She and Alice May are mystery solvers in their spare time, and Easy (E. C.) and his brother Jap (Jasper) will keep these two little ladies on their sleuthing toes. Warning: Might get hairy. Fiction M - Romance - Bella, Edward

Lay Athomemom~

It’s happening. To me.
Darnay Road, Chapter 27

This line accurately sums up how I feel any time I read a Counselor fic. Through her writing, I’ve lived several lives. Whether it’s the life of a logger in the 1930s, a soldier home from the war in the 1940s, or a 10 year-old girl on the cusp of being a young woman in the 1960s, Counselor never fails to bring the past to life in a way that’s real, relatable and always entertaining. 

In her newest fic, Darnay Road, we get to see the sixties through the eyes of Bella Christine, Catholic schoolgirl/super sleuth. When I think about the 1960s, I picture it as a decade of civil and political unrest and one giant leap for mankind. However from Bella’s point of view, it’s a far simpler time. A time where handle bars were an acceptable form of transportation, TV and music were as wholesome as Wonder Bread and being called by your first and middle name didn’t necessarily mean you were in trouble. 

Counselor is nothing short of brilliant bringing this era to life, but aside from that she’s created a fantastic little world between Darnay and Scutter Road. Everything you could ever want lies between those streets for Bella. A best friend to share secrets and spy with…and slap occasionally when needed, a slew of mysteries to be solved, and a boy as handsome as Gidget’s Moondoggie himself…Easy (E.C.).

It’s hard to narrow down all the things I love about this story. Counselor has once again created a fascinating cast of characters, each with their own rich back story and secrets to be revealed, and a Bella I absolutely adore, which is rare for me.  She’s never written an Edward I didn’t love, and Easy is no exception. But above all, it’s the love story between Bella and Easy. Counselor is absolutely masterful at perfectly depicting the excitement of first love - the butterflies when he’s near, the thrill when you realize he likes you too, and all the vulnerability that goes with it. 

There’s something really special between these two. It’s not puppy love, it’s slushie love. And it’s perfect.

Tgb McCray~

Every Counselor story leaves me wondering how I went my whole life long without knowing the characters I just met or growing with the wisdom from the lessons she has taught. Darnay Road, her newest, is more than a period fic or a story about a bunch of little kids in the 1960s. It’s a first love/coming of age romance that hits you right in the feels. It reminds us, even if we are not from that era, of who we were at age nine or ten. We see ourselves in these characters. 

Bella Christine, our plucky narrator, is joined by Alice May, her mystery-solving neighbor, best friend, and partner-in-crime. Their first crime might be sneaking up to the altar in church, but by later in the story, the pair are keeping an eye on Alice May’s aunt and her special time with their parish priest. The girls are growing up in the 60s, the year after the Cuban missile crisis held the world in the grip of uncertainty. For both girls, uncertainty comes to their quiet summer on Darnay Road with the introduction of the Hardy Boys, aka Jap and EC “Easy.” Pretty much from the beginning, Bella’s inquisitive little heart is all in for the boy from the literal wrong side of the tracks. A roller skating accident means a broken arm for Bella and brings her closer to Easy. 

“Why’d you call me Ballerina?” I say, but I don’t plan to say it or anything, it just comes right out. 

He shakes out the match and pitches that and takes a drag and he lets it out and I’m just so patiently watching. He’s looking at me and he says, “You’re pretty.” 

Riley and Joe go whizzing past and they call to him. “C’mon leave that kid alone,” Riley says. 

That kid?

He takes off after then after them like I ain’t even standing there. Alice is getting back with the pen and she calls to him but he doesn’t even look he rides off into the twilight and leaves us side by side. 

I’ve been a Counselor fan from way back. I’ve read all of her stories multiple times (except for Finding My Thunder, my favorite, and oddly the only one I cannot yet reread). Where Darnay Road is leading, with a pair of brothers from an abusive home and a young girl with an innocent heart in the right place makes me nervous. Vietnam is coming and young Easy is already fighting his own war at home. With Counselor, I often just grip my phone and hang on for the ride. This tale of Americana kicks me right in the feels when its young characters stumble and makes me laugh and swoon sentences later with gems like:

“He has hair under his arms. Ain’t he eleven? Lord a mercy what am I doing with a man?” 

It may hurt sometimes, but it will be worth it. Don’t miss this one. 

Mel (edmazing)~

It is no secret around here that I love Counselor stories. I've always loved historical fics and she takes them to another level, splashing the imagery with the familiar objects and filling your heart with the beliefs of the time. Of course it's more than just the detailed settings, it's also the quirks and individuality that bloom in each of her incarnations of Edward and Bella. They have all been so real and unique; they stand apart in a world filled with our favorite duo.

Darney Road is a first person story told by 10 year old Bella Christine. I love being inside this innocent spy girl's head,and I'm not typically one for “kid” stories. Life is full of mystery to her and it's no wonder with a strict Catholic granma raising her. Her life has been contained to her safe and trusted block, the private school she attends, and little else. She's spent her time sleuthing with her best friend from across the street, watching evening programs with gran, and reading Hardy Boys books.

But times are a changin'.

Alice has moved away and the dangerously cute boy from the wrong side of the tracks keeps coming around. Oh boy.

Easy, a knock off for E.C., is everything that kid rebels are supposed to be. He is cloaked in questions that cannot be answered. He's tough, runs with a bunch of moon chasing roughians, and smokes. Basically he is hell on two wheels. And I think he is as over the moon for Bella Christine as she is with him.

..."I know the things you don't need to," he says so firmly.

I am looking at him. "But I…."

He turns toward me again. "No. You are just a little girl and you got your nice pink room and your pretty little…toes and your nightie." He's flustered looking me up and down and I knit my fingers together. I am so throwing a leg over my high horse. "You're the prettiest thing I've ever seen," he says. "Smartest too. And you make me laugh all the time. You're like that little doll that winds up in the jewelry box…going round and round."

I don't know what to say. I'm not mad anymore, but how he sees me, it can't be true. And I don't want it false cause it's so nice. And so wrong too. It makes me feel all lumpy in the throat and it worries me hugely. Really enormously. Going round and round?

Lines and emotions that like definitely hit me right in the heart. They follow me around and have me jumping out of bed to google draft facts at the crack of dawn. I have no idea where life will take these two, but I know that I want to be along for the ride and I think you will, too. Counselor has a gift for putting words together and breathing life into them.

JediSc has done an outstanding job putting together a Pinterest board for Darnay Road. It is a fantastic visual accompaniment to the story. To enjoy her efforts click here.


We’d like to thank our ten guest reviewers for sharing their thoughts with us on these three amazing stories.  Nat (evilnat), Becca/Gothic Temptress, Fanfic Maplestyle, JenRar, VampiresHaveLaws, Susan Q, Carrie ZM, LayAthomemom, Tgb McCray, and Mel aka Edmazing.  Also a special thanks to Jaime Arkin for the awesome banner for today's feature!


  1. Ladies! I look forward to every post by The Lemonade Stand but these guest reviews bring that extra special personal touch! Thank all y'all for your words of praise for these great stories and for takin' the time to share 'em with us!

  2. Lovely reviews ladies for what is sure to be one of my very favorite stories.