Reviewed by Jody Uy
I’LL BE YOUR BLUE SKY
By Marisa de los Santos
320 pp. William Morrow.
I never pegged myself as the type to read romance novels. I had always thought of them as overly gooey and filled with hearts and flowers that I never really bothered to try. When I picked up this particular book and read the title, I was honestly more than just a tad bit skeptical. The novel, however, ended up as a more compelling read than I had initially imagined. It isn’t a groundbreaking, heart-wrenching tale of sorrowful love, but great stories don’t need to present each reader with that sort of catharsis anyway. I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is a refreshing story about re-centering that instead asks, “who are you?” and, “where is your home?”
To the skeptical reader, the entire premise may seem to start off rather farfetched, but it is a story that is patient, pulling down your defenses slowly through evocative descriptions, amusing dialogues, and quieter contemplations. We begin with the almost wedding of Clare Hobbes, whose doubts about her fiancé leave her restless. Amidst the last-minute preparations and the comforting banter of her family, she meets and converses with the enigmatic and much older Edith Herron, whose piercing questions and clear insight give Clare the resolve to break off the whole ceremony. Weeks after wedding gifts are returned and the gown is packed away, Clare suddenly learns of Edith’s death and becomes the owner of Edith’s old seaside home in Delaware. Clare visits the house, seeking refuge there after her recent break-up, and finds that more than just a home with pictures, it is a place echoing with memories of love and mystery. She gets pulled into the story of Edith, enlisting the help of her best friend Dev Tremain to uncover the secrets hidden in ledgers and locked boxes.
While the book’s summary alludes to dark secrets and a mystery hidden beneath a kitchen sink, the novel is actually a rather tender one. Clare’s reflections on the people in her life and the events that have occurred are sentiments that echo a lot of our own personal doubts, hesitations, and joys on living. I personally found myself identifying with Clare’s insights on loss, anger, and forgiveness—her thoughts on these are always raw in their emotional depictions followed by realizations that are tempered with wisdom.
Clare’s very human perspective on things is paired with a healthy dose of dialogue and conversation that adds to the tender and light feel of the novel. While her contemplations will get you thinking, the interactions among the different characters, especially between Clare and her mother or with Dev, will make you smile. Their conversations were the best combination of wit, nerdiness, and affection that made me want to insert myself into the Clare family circle as well.
Apart from the fun dialogue and authentic insights, the story shines in its seamless use of two perspectives throughout the novel, switching between Clare and Edith. Events don’t jump about erratically, which often happens in shifting perspectives and timelines, but instead weave together to create the bigger picture. Moments in Edith’s life complement and answer to instances in Clare’s own life in a way that moves the story forward. Perhaps one of my favorite moments in reading the book is when everything clicks together in the end. It is a book that is easy to sit down with, and easy to get lost in especially once fragments of the mystery begin to fall into place. The mysterious and seemingly separate threads intertwine and tighten around each other in a pattern that is surprising and really just quite amazing (can’t say any more than this otherwise it’d spoil everything for you!)
Overall, I truly and almost guiltily enjoyed the honest and easy way the story opened itself up to me. Clare and Edith had me pulled into their worlds of love that I was pleasantly surprised to find weren’t limited to just the romantic sort. The novel touches on ideas of home, identity, and tenderness that are best embodied by the thoughts, actions, and laughter of the characters themselves.
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos is available at Fully Booked stores. To reserve a copy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jody is currently an undergraduate student taking up Education and is discovering everyday the greatest bits about reading and learning that fuel our thinking. When she’s not drowning in readings for class, she drowns herself in music, books, and the wonders of the Internet. You can find her on Instagram @ohfishness.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]