Review: From Dust by Freya Barker

Note: This ARC was provided by Patchwork Press Cooperative via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sydney Donner walked away from her life in Boston five years ago. She doesn't want to think about her past but will always carry the heaviest of burdens associated to it. Her life in Portland is a far cry from what she was used to but this is what she deserves. When she's noticed by the manager of a local bar and restaurant called The Skipper rummaging for food in a dumpster, Syd's life changes once again. She's given a job and hesitantly welcomes the connections she makes with most of her co-workers. It's The Skipper's owner, Gunnar Lucas, and his two young children who begin to make her heart beat once again. But Syd has secrets might very well shatter the fragile foundation of her new life and family with Gunnar.

From Dust is a standalone contemporary romance novel from author Freya Barker and is about a thirty-nine-year-old woman who goes by her nickname Syd given another chance at living her life. Sydney Donner's past isn't terrible but it is marked by a gut-wrenching loss that leads her to turn to alcohol for a period of time. Most of the people who should have been there to give her understanding and support turned their backs on her, leading her to choose to walk away and not be heard from again. Being offered a job at The Skipper was something she never expected, but it's the one opportunity that allows her to start feeling human again and learning to accept the kindness of strangers and that she doesn't have to be alone.

The story itself is heavy and, at times, angst-ridden. Syd has gone through a lot, but she has also failed to properly deal with her past issues, leading her to not really being able to move fully forward. Amidst it all, her journey is an inspiring one, almost as if she's come back from the dead and has begun living again. Her relationship with Gunnar is paced well, which is a good thing because I don't think a case of insta-love would have been believable for these two. Gunnar isn't your run-of-the-mill alpha hero and witnessing the transition of his character was fascinating. Then there are Gunnar's children, Emmy and Dexter, who are precocious but are catalysts for Syd opening herself to the possibility of forgiving herself and living again.

While the story and characters were satisfying, I did have an issue with a lot of the sentence construction, word usage, and grammar in the book. At times, the text came off as awkwardly phrased and felt stilted. There were also instances of lack of continuity (for example, Syd not wanting to immediately go back to the "cold blankets" in the shed, so she goes to the pier and, after a while, decides to return to her "warm blankets"). There would also be sudden shifts from one setting to another, forcing me to go back to see if I had missed anything in the transitions. The editing issues did affect my overall reading experience and myrating but the book does have a story worth telling and likable characters. From Dust gets 3.5 stars. ♥

Release Date: 06 August 2015

Date Read: 04 August 2015

Learn more about Freya Barker here.

Purchase From Dust on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


  1. Thank you so much, Jennifer, for the fabulous review! And to put your mind at rest; the issues you address have been worked out during the editing process since you received a pre-edit copy. I so appreciate an honest review, it's the only way for me to improve! xox Freya B.

    1. You're welcome! I'm glad that all the kinks were worked out prior to publishing. Sometimes, a bit of tweaking is all a good book needs to make it great. :)

      Congratulations on the book's release!


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