Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Book Review: I'll Be Your Blue Sky

I haven't been giving you a lot of reviews lately and that's because I'm just not reading as much. I'm hoping to get one, maybe two more in for this calendar year and then I'll pick it up again in January. I can't stay away long, that's for sure.

I'll Be Your Blue Sky - Marisa De Los Santos

On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming, yet overly possessive, fiancé.

Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.

Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.

Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.

This is an author I so badly want to love because the covers of her books always drag me in. Every single one. Then I start reading the book and it's always something, just a little something I can't name, that just doesn't grab me. Something just isn't enough to hook me on. This time I really think it was the flip flopping between generations, and I really think if the book had been just about Edith or just about Clare, it would have been fine. But trying to combine the two stories and somehow making it one didn't quite jive for me. The other thing that I noticed was a lot of the dialogue and conversational areas in the book read oddly to me. Nobody in real life would have a conversation like this and it made it really hard to read but also to visualize these scenes as you read them. 

I will say, the greater part of the story is living a life with a possessive partner (perhaps in their own way, not outwardly obviously so) was really great. I really liked how the author brought this on subtly, so subtly that you wouldn't pick it up immediately. Clare begins the book trying to list all of the great qualities of the man she's set to marry and she really gets stuck on nine. Then as she thinks more about it, there are little things that he does that are just peculiar enough to seem strange, but not enough where you'd assume anything bad about him. My favorite line in the whole book is so quick but I really thought about it long after: "No one should live with someone who scares her." It just reminded me of the countless books I've read taking place in the 1940-1950 era that featured a woman who was in a terrible relationship but just couldn't get out because that was the time, you just didn't do it. There was another line, "The ones who look like home are home. That's where you go." and that reminds me so much of my husband. If you had told me I'd feel like this ten years ago I would have thought you were nuts, but it makes so much sense now, the older I get.

This is a romance, kind of, but there is a much larger story around that so don't go into this thinking this is a Hallmark movie romance playing out. It's not really that at all, but there are a lot of things that pop up seemingly connecting Edith and Clare together and some of those are a bit much, but it's interesting enough to keep you reading to see how this all ends.

Overall I'd give this one 3 stars. It's a really slow start, it's an interesting story, and this would make a really interesting book club read.


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