I read Marisa de los Santos for the first time when I was a young teenager. The book was You Belong To Me and I have distinctly fond memories of it, but authors you liked in your teens don’t always stand up under the cynical gaze of adulthood. Happily for me, Santos does. Belong to Me may have been the first book I read that is categorized thoroughly under “women’s literature.” The tag “women’s literature” utilizes to a gender binary I try to avoid and the Patriarchal negativity that comes along with that description definitely influenced my opinion of Santos’s work for years after that first foray. I finally revisited her work in 2016 when I read Falling Together (and wrote about it here). While occasionally formulaic, Santos once again comes through in I’ll Be Your Blue Sky with a simply lovely novel of romance, kinship, and feminine strength.
A few chapters into Blue Sky, Santos’s tender prose began to feel like a favorite blanket wrapped snug around my shoulders. The story flows easily and is romantically nostalgic without being saccharine. Santos’s works often incorporate an element of mystery or intrigue. In Blue Sky Santos deploys an alternating point-of-view narrative paired with the mystery of a house that has been bequeathed to the main character, Clare, from a woman she met exactly one time. Characters from You Belong to Me have reappeared in this novel more than a decade later, but it’s a completely standalone story.
There are elements of historical fiction, heart-warming romance, and struggle. I recommend this book for those readers looking for a book about love and family that is an easy read and pulls you in right away. If you’re a fan of Liane Moriarty but have gone through all her books, try this one. For fans of Celeste Ng who want similar themes and writing style but are hoping to feel a little happier at the end of the book, I recommend Santos. I recently gave this book to a patron at the library who asked for, “something that’s distracting, feel-good, but not trashy.”
I listened to this book using the Libby App and my library card! Cover photo is from https://shereadswithcats.com.