Contests & Reviews


We’ve received a 1st Place ranking in the Chanticleer International Book Awards’ Hearten Awards for Uplifting and Inspirational Non-Fiction. Thank you!

We’re honored to be selected as Finalists in two categories of the Chanticleer International Book Awards: The Journey Awards for Overcoming Adversity in Narrative Non-Fiction, and the Hearten Awards for Uplifting and Inspirational Non-Fiction. Thank you!

We’re excited to be selected as Finalists in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, Adult Non-Fiction category. This contest is judged by two reading groups in London and Stockholm with over 150 readers. Thank you!

Editorial Reviews

“It’s gritty and gorgeous and heartbreaking and inspiring… Highly recommended.”

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite

The Open Book: A Family Memoir of Adventure, Trauma, and Resilience is told using the voices of three women: Roselle “Rosie” Madrone, Robin Detmer, and Kris Dutter. Kris, the mother of Roselle and Robin, embraces the dream of building a life outside the confines of the so-called civilized world and moves with her husband to the jungles of Belize, where she has her two daughters, Rosie and Robin, in an off-the-grid homestead they’ve established. Between memories of Belize and a return to California, readers witness the evolution of three lives that are interconnected but completely divergent. Each has suffered, and each speaks their truths as they reconcile their lived experiences and the shared discord brought on by the common denominator in all three lives in the person of Kris’s husband and Rosie and Robin’s father – Jeff. “As we’ve gotten deeper into this project, the emptiness I’ve long felt about Dad has transformed into real grief as I finally allow myself to access my long-submerged memories and feelings.”

Memoirs are extremely tricky to review because in most cases they tend to be written as a legacy even if the hope is for mass consumption. The Open Book is not a legacy memoir and is one of those engrossing reads where fact has the potential to be more riveting than fiction. What authors Roselle Madrone, Robin Detmer, and Kris Dutter give us has the potential to be almost cinematic. Kris’s origin story in Belize while young and in love with Jeff, surrounded by friends with the same desires, at least to start with, is the most intriguing. I also really connected with the contemporary lives of Rosie and Robin as they work through generational trauma. It’s gritty and gorgeous and heartbreaking and inspiring. For any reader who ever wished to see what the love child of Wyss’ Swiss Family Robinson and Ashworth’s Once in a House on Fire might look like, it’s definitely along these lines. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Donald Brasted-Maki for Eugene Weekly

Novels frequently shift narrative point of view so that each main character gives their own very different perspective on events as they unfold, but a memoir, by definition, tells the story of one person’s life as viewed through the lens of that person who is also the author. In contrast, The Open Book is the collaborative memoir of a family told by a mother and her two daughters, three extraordinary women each with a slightly different perspective on their family history. 

In the 1970s, Kris Dutter and her husband flee what they view as the corruption of this country to build a working commune with other couples in the tropical paradise of Belize. The narrative is then picked up and shared by their two daughters, Robin and Roselle, who are born and spend much of their early childhood on this commune. Belize proves to be a Garden of Eden, but one unexpectedly invested with its own evils, some that they find there and some that they have brought from home. These strong, resilient women return to the U.S. where they struggle with and eventually triumph over adversity.

Reader Reviews

A life-changing book. How can one write a short review of such a vast and touching book?… You will not be able to put it down. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, because these ladies will write their way straight into your heart. Well done.”

100% recommend this book to anyone who can appreciate a genuine, truthful story about family, love, loss, and healing! It is equal parts heartwarming and heart wrenching. From the moment I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down!”

A story of grace. This story is a must read for anyone that needs words of encouragement about facing life’s trials. Beautifully written and full of raw emotion evoking feelings of pain and joy and everything in between.”

A raw, intimate telling of a remarkable true story. It kept me riveted until the last page, left me deeply moved, and wanting more. Compelling, engaging, both heartbreaking and inspiring. I highly recommend this book.”

This book blew me away! I devoured the text, so curious what would happen next. This story is so unique, yet hums with underlying universal truths that make it relatable to any reader. It depicts strong women surviving and ultimately thriving despite the odds. The story paints vivid depictions of the jungle that made me feel enveloped in another world. Fantastic read.”

More Reviews on Amazon!