Tumblehome Reader Comments

Unofficial CANLit ambassador Fay Devlin in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, engrossed in Tumblehome, which she then left behind for other travellers to enjoy. And see review by its next reader, Alessandra, below.

A fantastic read! Tumblehome was very thought-provoking and touched me deeply. Brenda’s brilliant style of writing had me journeying right alongside her; experiencing the excitement, adventures, fear, turbulence and emotion. The book left me wondering what the following decades have in store for her. Sure hope we all get to find out!

—Mary Zilney, a non-camper

I’ve stayed up way too late the last two nights reading Tumblehome. Your honesty, insights and openness are brave and wonderful and inspiring.

—Bonnie Baxter

Tumblehome is a refreshing read, as Brenda is very open with her writing and shares so many of her reflections on her personal experiences. Her life’s journey has certainly taken some interesting turns, with some very significant up and downs. I am especially enjoying reading her thoughts as she relates them against the backdrop of her canoe experiences. Her descriptive passages are beautifully written, and she certainly has not only a passion for writing but also the creative skill and expertise to “paint pictures with words.” I think it will be a book on my bookshelf that I will revisit many times over.


I giggled, I shed many tears, I was completely enraptured by all your experiences and thoughts. You have such an awesome gift for writing. I could have read it in a couple of days, but I wanted to savour each chapter as there was so much to absorb and enjoy. Thank you for sharing your very personal experiences, as well as reminding us of the importance of loving and being kind to ourselves, our fellow humans, and our world (Mother Earth), with all its wonderful creatures.

—Nancy Beverly, a non-biased sister

I’ve just finished Tumblehome. (Amazing title, by the way.) It was a pure delight! I enjoyed the narrative structure. The focus on your inner journey was so easy to relate to. I loved your beautiful and insightful nature writing. More please!  And you’ve inspired me to do a solo trip even if it’s only car camping to Achray [in Algonquin Park].


I finished Tumblehome in two days, as we say in Italy “tutto d’un fiato” (in one breath). So many words captured my attention, so many thoughts. And it was like you were speaking to me, sitting on the shore of the lake, exchanging our lives. Yes, your pages were lively!

—Alessandra Costantini (who read Tumblehome on the Faroe Islands, thanks to the generosity of my friend Fay, who was travelling there and brought along a hot-off-the-press copy to leave behind for others to enjoy. If you happen to be in the Faroe Islands, have a look for it!)

If someone had told me that I would enjoy a memoir written by a woman about her solo canoe trips in the wilderness while she explores the romantic and spiritual dilemmas that weigh on her, I would have concluded they didn’t know me very well. I approached the book with trepidation, but was genuinely engrossed very early on and surprised to discover how much of a page-turner it was. The events that unfold are often frightful and some are jaw-dropping. But aside from the gripping narrative, I truly felt I was travelling alongside the author, on the water, over the land, and through various life quandaries and mysteries.


I’m neither a tripper nor a spiritual-seeker and I’m not a woman. But the book resonated deeply with me. I felt I was accompanying a close friend as we made our way through a series of highs and lows. Being transported into the wilderness and into someone else’s life was illuminating and rewarding on many levels and I still can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it was about the writing, the stories, the personal disclosures and candour that sucked me in, although it was clearly all of those elements combined.


This memoir is so much richer and bigger than I expected, and its impact so much more profound than I was prepared for. I’ve already bought a number of copies to share with the people close to me in the hope and prediction that they will be as immersed and touched as I was.

—Ted Cadsby, corporate director and best-selling author, most recently of Hard to Be Human

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