Flash Review | Drops of Cerulean

Spanning the years 1930–2014, Drops of Cerulean chronicles the lives of Ilona, the daughter of a Greek restaurateur, who marries into a prominent Houston family; her son, Cadmus, who becomes a professor and then moves into a retirement home after his husband passes away; and Delphina, an anxiety-ridden woman with a mysterious recurring dream. 

Ilona and Cadmus have a falling out when Cadmus is a young man, and before they are able to reconcile, Ilona dies. Cadmus is plagued with guilt and feels responsible for the death of his mother. Two worlds collide when, years later, Delphina comes to understand that she had been Ilona, Cadmus’s mother, in her previous life. Well written and engaging, Drops of Cerulean deals with topics such as socioeconomic class, LGBT rights and acceptance, rebirth, and past-life regression.

Set in Houston and revolving around the city’s ever-changing skyline, Drops of Cerulean is an amazing debut from a gifted writer.

I recently finished the first part of a two-part novel called Drops of Cerulean by Dawn Adams Cole. Usually, especially with an ARC copy of a book, I would wait to write a full review but I have so many thoughts I feel like I need to get some of them to paper while they’re fresh in my mind, so here’s a flash review of the first part of the book to prelude my full review.

Honestly, this book has my heart in a vice-grip, and I love it. The first half, dealing with the lives of mother-son duo Ilona and Cadmus Doyle, is such a rich and emotional display of the complicated family dynamics that plagued pre-and-post Depression generations that I’m not sure I’ve seen a story that feels so authentically from the time period.

With heavy multi-cultural themes (Ilona’s part of the story in part tracks her coming of age as a Greek woman beholden to tradition falling in love with and eventually marrying an Irish Catholic) and the realities of raising and growing up as a gay man spanning the 40’s to 60’s in the case of the young Cadmus, there’s so many interesting, vibrant layers to Drops of Cerulean that I’m doubly excited to see how the second part of the story, which leaves Ilona and focuses once more on Cadmus and a young woman named Delphina, continues these themes or possibly expands into different territories.

Without giving any spoilers, I can easily say that this is looking like one of my favorite reads so for 2019. Keep a look out for a full review once I finish devouring part two.


  1. Full disclosure: I am the author’s husband and biggest critic and champion. 🙂
    Having said that, your initial reaction echoed my own after I first read Dawn’s book. Dawn dismissed her intuition to write this book for many years, but after several coincidences manifested she finally put pen to paper. I believe this book has a lot to offer to a wide range of audiences and, for me, it’s a reminder of how best we can live in this lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

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