It may come as a shock to you, dear reader, but I am a huge Cate Blanchett fan. Huge. Off the charts kind fo fan. So of course, my love for Carol knows no bounds. And yet in terms of fan fiction about my beloved ship, I have not found myself as spoiled as say by Devil Wears Prada or Once Upon A Time fandoms. I always thought that Carol fandom is by its nature a happy one, because Carol and Therese had their HEA, versus the other two having to really make up a lot of ground and deliver what the screenwriters denied those ships.
Be that as it may, every once in a while a story appears in Carol Aird/Therese Belivet ship on AO3 and takes my breath away. The Misunderstanding by indoorbutch is that kind of story. It is a retelling of Carol/The Price Of Salt with a slight AU twist to it. The story is set in the same time as the original, with a different setting of the protagonists meeting.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I can rave for days about The Misunderstanding by indoobutch. In fact, I can rave for days about all the stories that indoorbutch wrote and graciously shared on AO3. The writing is amazing. Concise yet evocative, flowing and emotional. Beautiful.
What I also love about this story is that Carol and Therese while still separated by age and social circumstances, meet as equals in terms of their sexual experiences, and Therese gives no quarter. Well, she gives other things. But in terms of equality in experience and knowing yourself and your desires, they are more than equals. It was refreshing take on the pairing where traditionally Carol guides Therese. In The Misunderstanding, Therese is young, but she is no novice.
The secondary characters are fantastic per usual. Abby, in particular, is amazing and her new girlfriend may surprise some of you.
I also found it very interesting how the author wove in social commentary and the painful issues that the LGBT community faced at the time (still faces in so many aspects) in this quintessential love story.
Cons And Heads Up
There is violence and homophobia on page and it is very authentic to the time the story takes place in. While it bothered me, I understood the authenticity of it and it did not detract from the story.
CATE BLANCHETT! Now that I have your attention, yes, you should read it because it’s literally Cate Blanchett as Carol Aird having a mindblowing love story full of passion, angst, self-doubt, grand gestures, sacrifice and sex. Because let me tell you, the intimate scenes are not just hot. They’re scorching!
Excerpt from The Misunderstanding by indoorbutch
Whatever Therese imagined or dreamed for this evening, whatever secret hope she entertained and then told herself to dismiss, what she did not expect was to walk into a room and find another woman kissing Carol Ross.
Honestly, how she ended up at this party in the first place is still a source of bafflement to her. It all started with a job, just a simple job, photographing for a furniture house’s spring catalogue. She answered the advertisement in the paper and when they heard that she worked for The Times, they hired her on the spot. Something to be said for the prestige of her day job—even if the pay is bad and the men constantly try to get her to go on dates with them.
The shop was on 4th Avenue. Therese showed up on Saturday morning, and a man called Dennis Myers (the owner) gave her a tour of the floor, pointing out that all the new pieces had a special little tag on them, so she’d know what to shoot.
This was not the sort of work Therese usually enjoyed. She preferred photographing people, in all their messiness and beauty. She liked to imagine what their secret lives entailed, what their faces and outward appearance hid from the world. Perhaps she projected onto them, having, as she did, such a secret life. But in any case, when it came to the secret lives of furniture… Therese was initially flummoxed.
Except that once she had the lay of the project, each chair and table and sofa and bed frame unfurled for her a whole future of possibilities, if her pictures helped them sell. She imagined families for the furniture. Dogs jumping up on the settees. Children running around the dining room tables. Roommates watching TV on the couches and couples making love in the beds. She got so caught up in the work, in the stories, that she never saw her coming. Didn’t know anyone was behind her until—
It startled her. Would have startled her, even if she had been paying attention. The voice was low and rich, a little husky. When Therese spun around she nearly choked.
“Oh, I’m sorry, did I startle you?” the woman asked.
She was arrestingly beautiful, like a starlet or a queen. Therese had always prided herself on the ability to school her expressions, to seem cool and calm even when she wasn’t—even when she saw a pretty woman. This time, however. Therese gaped, shook herself, babbled nervously, “Oh, no, no, I’m sorry, uh—can I help you?”
The woman gave her a smile that looked amused, maybe even charmed. Her smile was as gorgeous as the rest of her, wide and pearlescent and it made her eyes sparkle. Eyes that, Therese quickly perceived, were pale and hypnotizing.
The woman asked, “Would you like some tea? Coffee? Only I was about to get myself some from the breakroom and thought I’d ask. You’ve been working for two hours.”
It was such an unexpected gesture of kindness that first Therese didn’t know how to respond. And when she did respond, her own words baffled her— “Oh, no. Thank you.”
“You’re sure?” the woman asked. “Not thirsty at all?”
Bits And Bobs
Fandom: Carol/The Price Of Salt
Rating Guide: G= General, T = Teen and up, M=Mature, E = explicit
If you enjoyed The Misunderstanding by indoobutch then try this book
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