Gastien…It’s your choice…
The Cost of the Dream is the life story of a would be painter, Gastien, from boyhood to early adulthood. Ms. Rowland presents a detailed story of one boy’s dream, the choices he is presented with and how the decisions he makes lead him from the peasant farming village of his parents to the Montmartre. Her descriptions of what it might have meant to be a poor artist in Paris in the late 19th century were gripping.
In her story she shows her readers multiple aspects of life, love, art and sexuality. She hints that life is what you make of it and that we are all presented with choices everyday. The important thing may be that no matter how black and white we think the answers are, the choices are still ours to make and the decisions we make are still what steers the course of our lives. There are no black and white outcomes, only varying shades of grey. I enjoyed the highs and lows in Gastien’s story tremendously.
Caddy Rowland also taught me one thing about writing a story where the characters are obviously not thinking or talking in English. I generally don’t care about using translated words or phases in foreign novels that are assumed to be spoken totally in another language. In this case, the use of a few French words and phrases softens what may otherwise be harsh or guttural.
If you enjoy historical fiction and family drama, or stories set in a Paris of the 1800’s, I recommend this one. In my opinion it stands alone solidly, but creates a doorway into the rest of the Gastien series, as well.