I'll Be Your Blue Sky
Marisa de los Santos’s novel Love Walked In is one of my very favorite books of all time. It’s a beautiful story that explores love in all its many forms: love of family, love of friends, love of self, and, of course, romantic love. It’s a book I read close to ten years ago, but its characters remain with me even after all this time. So, when I saw that Ms. de los Santos was writing another book featuring this unforgettable cast of characters, I knew I had to read it.
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky takes place approximately fifteen years after the events of Love Walked In and its follow-up Belong To Me, and while it isn’t absolutely necessary to have read either of the previous books in order to enjoy this one, you’ll have a much better understanding of the characters and how they relate to one another if you do. There are a lot of people in this book, and keeping them straight was a bit tricky for me, so I can’t imagine how difficult it might be without knowledge gleaned from the previous entries in the series.
It’s the weekend of her wedding, and Clare Hobbes has cold feet. At least, that’s what she tries to tell herself. Zack is absolutely the perfect guy. He’s smart, handsome, and it’s obvious to everyone who knows the two of them that he’s head over heels in love with Clare, but Clare can’t quite shake the feeling that she’s experiencing something more serious than a run-of-the-mill case of bridal jitters. There’s something in the way Zack seems so desperate to know every single thought in Clare’s mind that feels off to her, but what is she to do at this late date?
Then, while walking in the garden of the hotel Clare and Zack have booked for their wedding, Clare encounters an elderly woman named Edith. The two of them don’t talk for long, but by the time they go their separate ways, Clare knows exactly what she has to do. So she ends her engagement to Zack, and returns home to lick her wounds. The more she thinks about it, the less able she is to put her finger on exactly how Edith convinced her to walk away from the life she and Zack had planned together, but even so, Clare knows she did the right thing. Now, all she has to do is convince Zack there’s no chance of her changing her mind.
Three weeks later, Clare is contacted by an attorney who tells her that Edith has died and has left Blue Sky House, the place she lived so happily with her beloved husband Joseph, to Clare in her will. Clare is obviously quite surprised by this, but decides to head to Delaware to take a look at the house she has inherited. She figures it will get her mind off things, and even more importantly, will put some much needed distance between herself and the embittered Zack.
Clare is immediately charmed by Blue Sky House, and by the hints she finds of the deep and abiding love Edith shared with Joseph. It soon becomes apparent that Edith was no ordinary woman. As she begins to dig through the belongings Edith left behind, Clare discovers possible links to her own past. Soon she and her best friend Dev are entrenched in a web of secrets spanning back fifty years or more, dark truths that seem to resonate through the small seaside town even in the present day.
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is a beautifully rendered story of love, family, and self-discovery that moves effortlessly back and forth between the 1950s and the present. Both Clare and Edith are independent, intelligent women who are unwilling to give into societal pressures, and I absolutely adored them both. Edith’s story contains a bit more suspense than does Clare’s, but I was utterly riveted by the book as a whole, something that doesn’t always happen with dual timeline stories. Often, I find one section markedly more interesting than the other, but Ms. de los Santos does a stellar job making both timelines equally compelling in different ways.
Spending time with Clare and her vibrant group of friends and extended family put me in mind of visiting with a group of loved ones I hadn’t seen in quite some time. There’s something so comforting about being reunited with beloved characters and watching them move through a new stage in their lives and it was great to catch up with everyone I loved in the previous books. Not everyone had a speaking part in this story, but I was able to see how they were all doing, and it put a huge smile on my face.
The novel would have been a DIK if it hadn’t been for the ending. Things are wrapped up in a way that doesn’t feel very realistic, and though I think it was supposed to seem fated or meant to be or something similar, I actually felt let down by it. I really wanted to love the conclusion to Clare’s story, but I just wasn’t able to. Luckily, the rest of the book was wonderful enough to make up for the unsatisfactory ending.
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is a delightful mix of historical fiction and family drama with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. It tackles some difficult themes in a sensitive manner, and I’m sure it will appeal to both devoted fans of Ms. de los Santos’ work and those who are experiencing its greatness for the first time.