New Release 3-6-18
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky was provided as an ARC by William Morrow/Harper Collins via Edelweiss in return for an honest review. My thanks for their generosity because this is one of my favorite authors.
I absolutely love Marisa de los Santos. I read two of her other novels before starting this blog, Love Walked In and Belong to Me, and each one was as comforting and warm as I’ll Be Your Blue Sky was.
It only took me two days to read this book, and that was only because I had things like teaching or sleeping to do. If I had a choice I would have read this book straight through in one day. Reading this story was like wrapping a warm blanket around myself and bringing a cup of hot chocolate with those little marshmallows with me to my favorite chair near the window to watch the snow fall gently outside. That’s saying something considering I live in Florida and it has decided to be 90 degrees in March.
This book switches back and forth from Clare to Edith. Clare is in present day, getting ready to marry Zach, and she has some misgivings. Edith is in the 1950s with her husband, buying a house and getting ready to start a life with the man she loves.
The morning of her wedding, Clare sits down next to an old woman named Edith who is also at the home where the wedding is being held. Clare shares that she feels nervous to marry Zach, that she might be making a mistake based on how hard he has to try to be a good person. Edith tells her that every woman deserves to be with someone who doesn’t make her afraid.
This is exactly what she needed to hear, and Clare decides to call off the wedding. When she does, we discover how mean Zach could really be and are thankful that she was able to make that break for herself.
Edith loses her husband to cancer after only two years of marriage, and finds herself alone in a small town in the 1950s, something women just didn’t do. She is approached by a man named George, who asks for her help with an underground railroad for battered women, because her house is the perfect cover, since she has been renting out her rooms to vacationers.
A lawyer contacts Clare, informing her that Edith has passed away and has left her Blue Sky House, the home Edith owned and operated as a kind of Bed and Breakfast. So Clare travels to Delaware to see the house and promptly becomes curious about who Edith was. She follows clues scattered around the home, and along with her childhood sweetheart Dev, discovers the heroism of Edith and George along with her own self and heritage.
I think that sometimes we forget that it wasn’t that log ago when women were still expected to stay at home, make babies, and be servants of their husbands. I don’t know how we forget, since so many members of our society and even our government still believe that women and their bodies are there for the pleasure of others and should be governed by men today. It was still shocking to see the battered women coming to Blue Sky House being marked as kidnappers if they dared to take their children with them as they tried to escape. Fighting this treatment and view of the role of women as subservient continues even today, and we have to keep fighting.
Despite this dire piece of the story, Marisa de los Santos shows us hopeful possibilities. Clare is never beaten by Zach, she escapes that kind of marriage. Dev is patient with her after he confesses his love, and waits for her to come to him without being pushy. Edith is brave and sticks to her guns in the face of the impossible. This story shows us both the horrors women face and how everything can go right and turn out for the best.
I always need these kinds of stories so I can live vicariously through the women in them, but in the After Times I didn’t realize how much I needed this book. I drank it up like a person in the middle of the desert desperate for an oasis. It is truth frosted with comfort and wrapped in hope and support.
Please read this book. It was so good. Go get it now and curl up with it and let it hold you close.