by Marisa de los Santos
Reading a Marisa de los Santos novel is like listening to the most intricate of melodies, layered with exquisite detail that places you in the centre of the story. I have read every one of her novels and pick up each one in both anticipation and unspoken expectation. I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is the third in an unofficial series, following Love Walked In and Belong to Me. This one is readable on its own or in succession with the other two, and as with De los Santos’ other novels, it does not disappoint.
Clare Hobbes is getting married. She should be the happiest she’s ever been, but all she wants to do is run away. While picture-perfect Zach is everything Clare could ever ask for, she can’t let go of the nagging sense that she is with the wrong person. On her wedding day, an overwhelmed Clare runs from her pre-wedding brunch and meets Edith, an elderly lady who reminds Clare of the importance of carrying a place inside her that feels like home: something Clare has forgotten. This seemingly minor interaction, however, flips Clare’s life upside down when she learns just a few weeks later that Edith has died…and has left her a house. Armed with a jangling set of keys and a pile of indeterminable ledgers, and with her best friend, Dev, by her side, Clare sets out to resolve an endless list of questions. Who was Edith? What happened at Blue Sky House so many decades prior, and how does it relate to the ledgers left behind? And, most pressing and perhaps most impossible, why would Edith leave Clare, a near-stranger, such a mystery to solve?
Alternating between Clare’s experience and Edith’s, the reader is given almost a sense of dramatic irony, understanding Edith’s story before Clare does while still coming to the same conclusions. Readers who are left with a new understanding not only of Clare, but of all those who have helped to make her who she is (which is particularly satisfying if you have read the other two books in this line). I recommend this book as a camping read for summer or just as an evening wind-down (preferably accompanied by a warm blanket and a bottomless cup of tea).