The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q
by Sharon Maas
Publication Date: January 30, 2015
What’s the Story?
Thirty years of family secrets. Three generations of women. One family heirloom that could change everything.
When she ran away from her childhood home in Guyana, Rika swore that she would never return. Cut off from her family, she has fought hard to make a life for herself and daughter, Inky, in London.
Now, over thirty years later, Rika’s cantankerous, wheelchair-bound mother, Dorothea, arrives in London. But as old wounds re-open, Dorothea and Rika are further apart than ever.
Inky soon learns that her grandmother is sitting on a small fortune. As she uncovers the secrets of the past one by one, she unravels the tragedy that tore her mother and grandmother apart. But nothing can prepare her, or Rika, for Dorothea’s final, unexpected revelation.
An epic, mesmerizing tale of tragic loss, the strength of words left unspoken, and the redeeming power of love.
The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q was a touching story that was filled with intriguing characters and important real-life issues. Because it was the first novel I’ve ever read by Sharon Maas, I went in with an open mind to the type of story she had written. It’s not my general type of novel because it wasn’t chick-lit filled with drama, laughs and love. Every so often I like to step outside my comfort zone and read a novel that has a bit more depth than the average rom-com. What I got from this novel [that could be classified as women’s fiction], was a wonderful story filled with important topics. I’m not a fan of the novel’s style of going back and forth between past and present, but it did lend a certain element of surprise that would not have been possible if the story was told in order from beginning to end. Although it was a slower read for me, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent reading it.
There were many passages throughout the novel that were thought-provoking and philosophical. Some of the most important concepts involved love, racism, and respect. One of my favorite lines from this novel was that “Love isn’t a duty“. Love is earned and given and it is one of the most precious things in existence. It is with love that we care for others and it is with love that we sometimes retreat from those that matter most in order to protect them. It is also with love that we learn to move on from tragedy and embrace the good things in our lives. This story is filled with tragic love and family ties that are bound in secrets and misunderstandings. These situations and issues were all wrapped up in a foundation of love.
Throughout the novel, there are numerous situations where white people are treated as though they are superior to black people. It was sad to read that being white could ever ‘make’ someone better and that behaving, dressing and speaking like white people was something to aspire to. It’s unfortunate that we ever had such prominent racism in our world, but what’s even more upsetting is that it still exists today.
One of my favorite messages in the book was to be yourself. It takes more strength to be true to yourself than to simply follow the horde of what everyone else is doing. This idea went back to racism and standing up for yourself and what is right and just. It also correlated to staying true to who you are and not dressing or acting a certain way because it’s perceived as cool or will make you popular.
The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q was a wonderful story with powerful messages about love, life and learning to let things go in order to be happy. It was a beautiful story about tragic love and ultimately about forgiveness. I highly recommend this novel if you are interested in reading a story about overcoming difficult situations, with a few laughs and some interesting characters along the way. “Freedom and happiness come with letting go.”
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Receiving novels free of charge in no way reflects on my honest opinion and no monetary compensation was provided for my review. Writing a review is the best way to say thank you to an author. I encourage you to write reviews and share them on sites like Goodreads and Amazon so that your fellow readers can see what you think!
About the Author
About the author from her Goodreads profile:
Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1951, and spent many childhood hours either curled up behind a novel or writing her own adventure stories. Sometimes she had adventures of her own, and found fifteen minutes of Guyanese fame for salvaging an old horse-drawn coach from a funeral parlor, fixing it up, painting it bright blue, and tearing around Georgetown with all her teenage friends. The coach ended up in a ditch, but thankfully neither teens nor horse were injured. Boarding school in England tamed her somewhat; but after a few years as a reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown she plunged off to discover South America by the seat of her pants. She ended up in a Colombian jail, but that’s a story for another day.
In 1973 she travelled overland to India via England, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. After almost two years in an Indian Ashram she moved to Germany, got an education, got a job, got married, had children, and settled down. She still lives in Germany after three and a half decades, but maintains close ties and great love for both India and Guyana; and, somewhat reluctantly, for England.