Cathy Lynn Brooks

Cathy Lynn Brooks has crafted a beautiful story in Rose-Coloured Houses. What a delightful book. A novel filled with detail and emotion, a sweeping vision of the first half of the 20th century in Eastern Canada. You won’t find a single page containing a car chase or epic battle, just what might have been had Arthur Miller written a play called “Death of a Con-man.”

As I read Brooks’ work, I kept being reminded of Ethel Wilson’s Swamp Angel, of the poignancy of a plot driven by emotion and family dynamics, all set within a detailed historical realism. Opposite sides of the country, I know, but both stories that transcend their locations by being universal: family, love, dysfunction, trauma, home.

Rose-Coloured Houses begins in the middle, then travels back in time, and concludes with an arc that ties the people involved together in a single theme: family. Good or bad, or, like most, somewhere in-between, family is something that unites us all, even as its different expressions in reality clash with our preconceptions, and, inevitably, the thing that causes us to grow into the people we become: some by succumbing, others by transcending.

Make no mistake, this is a character-driven story. It won’t appeal to everyone. But if my mention of other works above were something you enjoyed, you will enjoy this wonderful book.

Highly recommend.