If you look at the back of almost any book these days, you’ll see glowing recommendations from big name authors or other celebrities. You know: a fancy version of “This book is the best thing since sliced bread!”
Writing ‘book blurbs’ has become such a going concern that some well-known authors make a good chunk of change off it.
But when my manuscript was complete, I wasn’t looking for big name celebrities to lend their names. I wanted people who genuinely “got” my book. And I wanted individuals whose own writing reflects a passion for the thing we call “home”.
I asked only a few people and was very lucky: they all said yes. You’ll see their kind comments on the back cover of A Good Home.
One response stood out. It wasn’t just a sentence: it was a whole review. To have two strangers agree to read the book was remarkable. But what they wrote was even more moving.
The review came by email from Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, interior designers who live in Scotland, England and Canada, and whose TV shows and columns about home design are well known internationally.
I never miss their newspaper columns. They combine a passion for home design, insights into the deep connection between people and their homes, and a great sense of fun at the same time.
But when Colin and Justin both read my book and sent their review, it surprised me. I read it, got up from the computer, drank a glass of cold water, dabbed my eyes, and immediately forwarded the review to my husband. Here’s what Colin and Justin wrote:
“When Cynthia Reyes dips her pen in ink (for this is how we imagine her, immersed in traditional techniques and devoid of modern day conveniences like laptop or iPad) she creates magic; captivating, heavenly prose falls from her quill.
She’s indeed a gifted scribe and, leafing the pages of A Good Home (gripped, as we were, from the opening paragraphs) we hung on her every, emotive word.
Cynthia, bereft at her cruelly adjusted physicality following a car crash, somehow – against all the odds – learns a new sense of positivity. A new sense of order. Recounting her past becomes the key to unlocking a better future; a future she thought might never properly unravel.
Using a sequence of recollections from previous homes – homes where her life was shaped and her character built – Cynthia discovers how to live again in the face of cramped, cruel adversity.
Her fear she’ll never write again, post trauma, is terrifying enough, but it’s her fear she’ll never again be the wife her husband once loved that is truly heart rending. Around her carefully arranged words we crawled nervously with her in unstinting ambition for recovery… and, page by page our hopes and dreams for Cynthia were fortified.
Towards the end of the book, to illustrate her newly found sense of perspective, Cynthia quotes Wordsworth’s poem of consolation over the loss of the meadows and fields in which he played as a child.
‘Though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.’
This is what Cynthia does so perfectly. So adeptly. She learns to embrace that which she still has, rather than that which was lost when her injury happened. And she learns to understand she’s still the wife she always wanted to be.
Cynthia Reyes’ glass is always half full. Rarely half empty. But ours, as we read her uplifting story, brimmed over….”
Well, my tough guy husband rarely cries. As in – almost never. But he’s been by my side through the toughest period of my life, and this book is as important to him as to me. When he read Colin and Justin’s review of my book, he couldn’t speak, and when he did, about all he could say was: “They got it.”
Thank you, Colin and Justin, for taking the time to read my book. And for loving it.
Long may you continue to give us new thoughts and ideas about that precious thing we call “home”.
86 thoughts on “The Review That Left My Husband Speechless”
The sky is the limit, my dear. Enjoy the flight!!
How kind, Tim. Thank you.
A good home, a big heart and an inspiration to all of us. Indeed, so well deserved dear Cynthia
Thank you, Vesna. Very much.
Beautiful! And while I’m very pleased for you, I can’t say I’m remotely surprised. xo
Debra: Thanks for believing!
Reading ” a good HOME” was like enjoying fine poetry that flows effortlessly, convincingly and magically. Cynthia Reyes weaves the inspired story of her remarkable life, anchored and affected by her search for sense of place. Just as a visual artist may achieve a “painterly” result, so too has Cynthia. Excellent!
Thank you, Shelley, for this beautiful review.
Wow. Beautiful post and story. You touch and inspire me to keep reaching for more and to make the most of my ordinary challenges. Thanks, Brad
Thanks so much Brad.
All my best in your own endeavours.
You are “authentic” …so rare…I have not read your book, but I have to now because people like you are so rare…thank you for stopping by today + visiting me over the cyber fence…..our paths are not so far apart:-) what an inspiratioin you are:-)
Well, gee whiz: after visiting your blog, I was so inspired. So aren’t we lucky we discovered each other!!
Thank you most kindly.
🙂 Yes, we are + I am looking forward to reading your book, it is downloaded to my kindle + after reading the reviews. I am so grateful you stopped by…..over the cyber fence our homes are not so far apart:-)
Thanks so much for buying my book.
I appreciate the vote of confidence.
LOVE your book so far! I could not put it down last night but I did since I had to go to sleep-lol:-)love your “story-telling”…you are truly gifted:-) It has been along time that book has captured my interest and kept me up reading past my bedtime!
You are very kind, Thank you. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
oops, should I say..”put my kindle down!”:-)
That was especially moving.
I have it now on my iPad!
Thank you very much!
Reblogged this on Cynthia Reyes and commented:
Because saying ‘thank you” never goes out of style.
Thank you, Colin and Justin!
Those guys are great! And Hamlin was right – they got it.
Yes indeed, Diane. They are great.
That also sums up how I felt, Derrick. Wow.
Fantastic! A real affirmation of your work from a meaningful source. Congratulations
Thank you! Well said. We all value such affirmation.
Cynthia, just finished your book and really enjoyed reading it, I am not quick to cry but was in tears off and on throughout your story! Hope you and your family are well and you have another big dog at your feet!
Ah… your remark touched my heart. I thank you for buying my book, and reading it, to boot! Sorry it made you cry, but I hope it also made you bellow with laughter in many parts. My life is either a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy, methinks. (big smile) Thank you again for your kind comment.
Enjoyed the whole thing, especially the Jamaica episodes and I think your husband is a real gem.
I agree, you couldn’t ask for a better review!
Thank you, Allen.
What a wonderful review Cynthia, no wonder you and Hamlin were so overcome.
Thanks, Clare. It was totally unexpected and wonderful.
What a fabulous review of an extraordinary book! Kudos to you Cynthia – for the book and for touching the hearts of so many!
How affirming to know that you touched the hearts and imaginations of these “big shots”. To touch anyone in this way is an accomplishment. Actually, it shouldn’t make any difference that they are famous – but let’s face it, it does. And it speaks volumes about them that they are able to absorb and be moved by your experiences through your book.
It does speak volumes about them. Their lives are so busy that it’s marvelous that they were able to do this.
How wonderful, to know that you communicated so fully and effectively, and moved readers so completely!
Thanks, Kerry. I’m still a bit surprised at that (smile) and very thankful.
WOW! You must be so proud – this review is richly deserved, Cynthia xxxx
Thank you, Dianne.
Wow..what an amazing review! Congratulations Cynthia!! 🙂
Thanks, Patrick. And thank you for being so generous to other authors yourself. I note and appreciate what you do to highlight the work of others.
Kudos on a fantastic endorsement, Cynthia! Sharing… 🙂
Thank you, Bette. I have also seen very good reviews and reaction to your book Dog Bone Soup. Congratulations to you too!
What a beautiful and well-written review!!! Thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂 🙂 🙂
And thank you, Maxine, for reading and responding. As an author yourself, I know you understand what a gift this review is.
A beautiful and very touching review. You must be so happy! Congratulations!
Yes I am. Thank you, Olga!
Love those boys and their review of your wonderful book!
Love them too! Thank you.
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
Most of us would be over the moon to receive a review for one of our books that ‘got it’. Cynthia Reyes received one that certainlly did that and more. Great job Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan
Thank you most kindly Sally — for reblogging this post, but also for the generous way you boost other bloggers and authors. I greatly respect and appreciate your contributions to writers, and to readers. And I love your writing and good advice.
My pleasure Cynthia.. that is what community is even if we live thousands of miles apart. hugs
I can only imagine what that felt like. Congrats fellow Canadian. 🙂
It felt great! Thank you.
Absolutely W.o.W. review. Congratulations. ❤
I felt a warm glow of pride for you, just reading the review, so I can imagine how you must have felt. I’ve always watched their design shows and like the melds of personality a lot. I have a new respect for them now, Cynthia. And for you 🙂
Thanks, Jo. After I returned to my senses (smile) I felt enormously grateful. Such kindness from Colin and Justin.
I think what touched me most was their recognition of the very real struggle to find your old self in your new; to reweave your life and being after the accident into something you could grow comfortable and happy with. For that I thank them; for your words and thoughts I thank you!
Ah, what a lovely response from you, dear Margaret. You have such a way with words (and pictures too!) Thank you.
Cynthia, having read your wonderful book, I agree with this raving review. You know how to write your way right into our hearts. Never stop writing.
Blessings ~ Wendy
Thank you, Wendy.
By the way, I tried logging on to your blog post recently and kept getting an error report: “file 404 not found” or something like that.
Thank you for the heads up, Cynthia. Does it work if you click on my name link from my comment? I’ve switched to http://www.wendylmacdonald.com and my old blog is supposed to redirect there too.
Yes, that works.
Oh my what a wonderful review. I am just not a good writer and appreciate the talents of people who can think things in their heads and get it out so perfectly on paper. Their review is spot on!
Funny…it never occurred to me that someone would not “get” your book. I connect so closely with all you shared and your childhood. I spent the last 10 minutes pondering people I know who would NOT get your book and came up with a few. It made me feel very sad for them as to me life is based around my home and your words describe that life perfectly!
I love reading this. Not only because your writing got well-deserved attention, but also because of the kismet of it all. I want to believe to good people come good things. It sounds like in this case, that held true:).
Thank you, my friend. A lvoely note to start my day. Hoping all goes well with you and your sons. I’ve been a bit off radar lately, but hoping to get myself up and going again soon, and back at reading posts like yours.
What a wonderful result for the hard work you put into your work. It was so lovely to read about it.
Thank you very much, Jean. That review came at just the right time. I’m wishing you a good week.
Such precious feedback Cynthia and from the heart to the heart. Best kind. 🌺
Bless em, what a lovely thing to say. They not only got the book but come over as really decent people, too.
Yes, I can see why it brought tears to your eyes. Missed the post the first time.
Oh my, how touching! What a beautiful review of your book! No wonder you greeted them the way you did 😊