Rain on a Distant Roof:
A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada

By Vanessa Farnsworth

"Vanessa Farnsworth's book is one of the very few that manages to delve deeper into the human psyche ... exploding myths surrounding the illness and combining this, as she does, with thorough up-to-date research (2013) on the parasitical bacteria called borrelia." - Andrew McGuinness, novelist & lecturer

Rain on a Distant Roof is an excellent read. I recommend it. Our politicians at all levels and physicians of every ilk should read it as well.” — Jim Wilson, President, Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

"Farnsworth has written both a well-researched study of a frequently misunderstood disease, and a harrowing journal of a devastating illness and a disastrously unresponsive public health system."— Quentin Mills-Fenn, Style Manitoba review

"Farnsworth is an experienced and exceptionally good writer, up to the task of relating a powerful and horrifying personal story while at the same time educating readers on the science of the difficult-to-diagnose tick-borne diseases." - Lorne Eckersley, Creston Valley Advance

Rain on a Distant Roof offers uncompromising access to a very personal experience with Lyme disease, an unpredictable, debilitating and potentially fatal illness that is becoming more prevalent across Canada. Vanessa Farnsworth combines a journalist’s tenacity with a writer’s sensibility, presenting her struggle with the disease but also with a health care system that too often leaves sufferers misdiagnosed and undersupported. Farnsworth is an excellent advocate for the Lyme community, both on the page and in person: she is articulate, passionate, invested, well-informed, and vital. Her book is a clarion call to pay attention to a serious health crisis in the making.”— Charlene Diehl, Director, Winnipeg International Writers Festival

"Rain on a Distant Roof offers thought-provoking insight into the daily struggles and obstacles faced by chronic Lyme disease patients. Vanessa Farnsworth's self-described "tick-shattered life" is an all too common but seldom told story of desperately ill Canadians caught in a healthcare nightmare."— Susan McInnis, President, Lyme Disease Association of Alberta


By 2020, it’s estimated that more than 80 percent of the population of eastern Canada will be living in regions that are endemic for Lyme disease and the numbers of infections are expected to soar. Yet what remains unknown about this debilitating illness continues to trump what is known, placing the health of Canadians increasingly at risk.

Rain on a Distant Roof uses the latest in scientific and medical research to explore the considerable challenges that have placed Lyme disease at the center of the most fractious debate in modern medicine. Those challenges include the inability of doctors to properly diagnose the illness, the absence of reliable medical tests, the reliance on controversial treatment guidelines, and a public health response that is, at best, problematic.

Along the way, readers are introduced to the bizarrely intelligent bacterium at the root of the Lyme disease – a bacterium so strange that scientists describe it in terms normally reserved for the creatures found only in science fiction - by the author, whose own terrifying battle with the disease unfolds before the reader’s eyes.

This groundbreaking book, a compelling mixture of biography and scientific discovery, is a must-read for anyone who spends time in nature or even their own backyard.


You can read excerpts from Rain on a Distant Roof on the Quick Reads section of the Signature Editions website, which is viewable from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. (When you get to the end of the excerpts, you'll find a convenient code for 25% off the book.)


Vanessa Farnsworth has published more than 100 columns and articles (including several on Lyme disease) in national and regional publications, including Canadian Gardening, Canadian Living, Cottage, Garden Making, The Creston Valley Advance, The Grower, Harrowsmith Country Life, Kootenay Life East, Route 3, Small Farm Canada, and Vitality Magazine. She holds a degree in English from Toronto's York University, a diploma in print journalism from Oakville's Sheridan College, and she studied creative writing at The Humber School for Writers. Her literary fiction has been published in journals across Canada and in the United States, including The Dalhousie Review, dANDelion, filling Station, The New Quarterly, PRECIPICe, Qwerty, and Reed Magazine.


PLUS Your Local Bookseller


Published by Signature Editions.

ISBN: 978-1-927426-23-4
eBook ISBN: 978-1-927426-24-1