Without a doubt Caddy Rowland has masterfully crafted a character driven novel. Gastien’s life is plagued by brutality, even as a young boy, and few could help but admire his determination to see his dream of becoming an artist without admiration. It is a dream he never wavers from despite numerous seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Without a doubt Gastien is a survivor, but his strength and determination are not without cost to his soul.
I have to admit that at times I had to put the novel aside as it was just too brutal for me to continue. This is not in anyway a criticism of the novel, but rather it was so well written that any survivor of human depravity would understand at times it simply hit too close to home.
Truly the strength of the novel is the rich development of each and every character the reader encounters. It has been some time since I have read a novel that truly brings to life all the personas that inhabit its pages and for that alone Gastien: The Cost of the Dream is a must read.
Rowland just as masterfully describes the various settings with skillful detail and gives her reader a real sense of the existence of struggling artists, the confines of society and the various spheres of Paris that the characters inhabit. It is not a romantic or pretty portrayal, but a realistic one. Gastien: The Cost of the Dream is not a pretty story, but one that is very true to real life. His struggles, his compromises and his resilience are part of the human existence.
Gastien: The Cost of the Dream is the first installment in a series and I eagerly await Caddy Rowland’s further exploration in the development of the character of Gastien as I look forward to what the future holds for this remarkable character. I recommend Gastien: The Cost of the Dream enthusiastically with the reminder that the novel contains graphic descriptions of physical violence, explicit sex and is for adult readers only.