Book Reviews, Interior Design

The Review That Left My Husband Speechless

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.

Book back coverOne 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.

colin and justin room design

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.

colin and justin

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”

  1. 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!

  2. 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:-)

  3. 🙂 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:-)

      1. 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!

      1. 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!

      2. 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.

  4. What a fabulous review of an extraordinary book! Kudos to you Cynthia – for the book and for touching the hearts of so many!

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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:).

    1. 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.

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