Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

There are many ways to describe the person you love. Love of your life. Soul mate. True love. The peanut butter to your jelly. Your home and your heart. Or you could call them, like Marisa de los Santos does in her newest novel, your blue sky. This third novel in a trilogy, albeit one that stands alone just fine, is an examination of love and family, sanctuary and doing right.

Opening in 1950 on Edith and Joseph Herron's wedding day, Edith remembers walking into the warmth and comfort of the beautiful home that her new husband has bought for the two of them in a small Delaware beach town. Joseph is Edith's soul mate, her comfort, and her anchor. He is her blue sky and their home is appropriately called Blue Sky House. In the present day, Clare Hobbes is preparing for her wedding to fiance Zach when she confides her unease about their future to her mother and dear family friend.  But it isn't until the actual day of her wedding when she meets and talks to Edith, now an elderly woman, that she finds the courage to call off the wedding. Several weeks later, she discovers that Edith has passed away and left Clare a lovely home in Delaware. Why Edith left a perfect stranger her home and the mystery that Clare, helped by her best friend and old boyfriend Dev, starts to uncover thanks to a both a ledger of guests of the former guesthouse and to a cryptic shadow ledger for the same time period drive the narrative.

The narrative moves back and forth between Clare's and Edith's stories. The reader discovers things before Clare does so there's some repetition in the telling as Clare and Dev slowly uncover Edith's life. De los Santos does hold back a few details from the 1950s story line so that not everything is revealed twice. Edith is definitely an intriguing character, presented as warm and understanding, and even before she meets Clare in the twilight of her life, she is drawn with a strong moral compass. Clare is very forgiving and compassionate but almost to the point of being infuriating. She not only allows Zach to isolate and suffocate her because she knows how hard he is trying to rise above his family, but she continues to try and placate him even as she occasionally fears his ability to keep his tightly controlled emotions and anger in a healthy place. Dev is magical and the reader wonders how Clare has ever forgotten this. The mystery is not terribly difficult to unravel but Edith's life is fascinating enough that this doesn't matter much. Despite the darkness of abuse captured in this story, ultimately it is one of courage and warmth, uplift and love, always and forever real love. Women's fiction fans, especially those who like a thread of historical fiction running through their stories, will appreciate this warmhearted and satisfying novel.

For more information about Marisa de los Santos and the book, check out her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter. Check out the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins for prodding me to pull the book off my shelf to review.

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