“This is one of those rare books that you don’t want to rush; One that you want to savour… It’s a beautiful memoir full of love and grace, and has a depth that’s so touching you’ll be completely engulfed. There are so many incredible accounts…. happy, hopeful, sad, insightful, delirious, joyful… And yet all are shared in the most sincere manner….This is one of the easiest five stars I have given. A truly inspirational account.”
Kevin Cooper, author, book reviewer and blogger, U.K.
“Her style is engaging and compassionate; we, the readers, feel we are in intimate conversation with her… Good memoirs bring light into the world, and An Honest House beams light from every page… I highly recommend immersing yourself in An Honest House.”
Diane Taylor, author of The Gift of Memoir: Show Up, Open Up, Write
“This is a fantastic book, Reyes is a great writer. She paints a beautiful story, both heart-rending and heartwarming, but always optimistic. There is humour, joy, sadness, beauty, anxiety, and, life. Because this is a book about life and making the most of it. “
Kate Jackson, book editor and blogger, Gibraltar
“An Honest House is honestly wonderful… She sets the table with delicious descriptions of her heritage home, friendships, and gardens as she wrote her way into my mind and heart, so that I walked with her through the pages of her story.”
Wendy Macdonald, Christian poet, author and blogger from Courtenay, B.C.
“This elegant memoir is beautifully written, full of heart, humor and joy in the ordinary days and things of life.”
Cynthia Jobin – Poet and Blogger, Maine, USA
“Her books, which are easy to read because they are so inviting and engaging, are also subtly complex. An Honest House is at once a real chronicle of a woman suffering daily from PTSD, chronic pain, concussion and depression while also being a love story between husband and wife, children and parents and extended family, and community. It is a story of faith and doubt, little triumphs that become shining lights of hope. The story is so compelling and interesting and the writing flows so nicely that I get caught right up in it and don’t realize that I have completely left my own world until I finish the last page and look up.”
Jacqui Denomme, Library Professional from London, ON
“The honesty with which the author approaches (the subject of PTSD) is courageous and inspiring. But though the subject matter is difficult, this book is as full of joy, love and touches of grace as the first. You’re left with a feeling that you’ve just learnt a great lesson on how to live.”
Andrea Stephenson, Librarian and Author from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
“No ‘preaching’ or telling us ‘how to’, or well meant advice; just a well-drawn, well-written account of her story… I felt welcome in her home and in her life.”
Mandy Henderson, blogger, New Zealand
“Cynthia doesn’t clean things up for the readers, but gives an honest look into the struggles and difficulties she has had to deal with. She doesn’t give a three step path for overcoming, but rather a day to day encouragement to keep going in spite of where you find yourself.”
Karen Pickering, Review on Amazon
Cynthia’s writing is excellent. She touches emotions but avoids sentimentality. There were a few passages where I couldn’t avoid the tears. When she writes about herself, there is no ‘woe is me’, rather, she tells it how it was, with refreshing honesty and candour. Not an easy achievement.
She also laughs at herself, confessing her less-than-perfect cooking skills. And humour is scattered throughout the book, as is the unexpected. But that’s life.
“Good memoirs bring light into the world, and An Honest House beams light from every page… I highly recommend immersing yourself in An Honest House.”
Review of An Honest House by Cynthia Jobin, poet
REVIEWS OF A GOOD HOME
By HarvestingHecate on 3 Jun. 2016
Anne Day, Company of Women:
“This is a beautifully-written book that demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of faith and love.”
Susan Marjetti, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
“Read 14 books this summer. Most memorable? A Good Home, by Toronto’s Cynthia Reyes. An enriching and lasting experience.”
Gail Scala, Writer and Gardener:
“From her childhood home in the hills of Jamaica to the various country-like settings in Toronto and surrounding areas, Reyes bares her soul as she describes each home in loving detail while she searches to find meaning and significance in the path her life leads her on. Her homes and the gardens that surround them are described in exquisite detail and they take on personalities of their own as they become her sanctuary, her prison or her saviour. A wonderful piece of work that resonates a long time after you close the cover.”
“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.”
The burning logs smell of maple and apple wood. Embers spark.
Wood ash sifts through the grate.”Like a spark that flares into a raging fire in an instant, Cynthia Reyes’s memoir, A GOOD HOME, starts with her describing her recovery from a life-changing accident, and her husband’s quest to find stories she had written over previous decades. Many of those stories centred on homes that shaped her life, from Jamaica to Toronto to Vancouver and back. Over the course of a year, his search led him to find her stories in old envelopes, torn bags, ragged boxes, and computers – past and present. Some of those computer files required finding equipment old enough to read them. Reading and re-reading those stories helped her re-discover her life and re-connect her life with the written word.
Shelley Beach, Award-Winning Canadian Artist and Teacher:
“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!”
Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor, Geography, University of Toronto:
A Good Home explores important and poignant questions about how we create homes and dwellings, and how love permeates the places in which we live. What does it mean to create a sense of place across oceans? Reyes powerfully examines this question, through humorous anecdotes and retellings of her life story. Her tales brought me to tears one minute, and had me breaking into guffaws the next. I find myself returning to her book time and time again since reading it, revisiting certain chapters, and marveling in the life lessons that are here for all of us.
Jacqui Denomme, London Public Library:
“As exciting as fiction but even more so because these stories are real and true, unique and universal at the same time. I found myself wanting to tell everyone to read this charming and beautifully written book.”
Sylvia Vollenhoven, Writer and Executive Producer, S. Africa:
“Using her homes as a metaphor for the different levels of experience is a brilliant technique. I had mixed feelings reading the book: I didn’t want to put it down and I didn’t want it to end. It is a beautifully written story.”
“A Good Home will delight your soul and touch your heart. There is magic in these words.”
“Our fave for July is Cynthia Reyes’ A Good Home. It’s a memoir of growing up in Jamaica and coming of age in Canada – a memoir whose simple style, lyrical prose and defining characters will provide you with hours’ worth of grinning from ear to ear as you recognize events or characters from your own past; with out-loud laughter at some of the antics and quirks and also with occasional tears when sadness strikes.”
Sandra Dear, Avid Reader:
“In her gentle self-deprecating manner, she tells the story of her life with humour and irony, its achievements and its pain. A good home is where the heart is. I wished it would go on and on. As Oprah used to say, I want to buy all my friends a copy of this book.”
Nick Hughes, Avid Reader:
“There are books I enjoy and yet look forward to the ending. Others I dread the thought of arriving at the end because I want it to go on and on; yours is one of those. What a wonderful journey I have been on.”