Monday, February 25, 2013

Blue Sky by Melissa Lemon

In the new novel, Blue Sky, by Melissa Lemon, a young woman finds a man in her basement. After the initial shock and terror of coming face to face with a stranger, she discovers he has been living on the streets for three years and only sought refuge in her basement from a winter storm. She decides to try and help the young man and, eventually they fall in love. However, their different backgrounds put a wall between them and they are going to have to find away around or they will lose each other forever.

Now, for my first confession…I have not read a romance novel in 14 years—not since my oldest child starting bring home YA novels and I realized not all YA books were appropriate for youth. (That’s when I started the daunting task of reading ahead of all my book-loving tweens to check out every book they brought home--Whew! That is also when I started writing YA novels that I wouldn’t mind my own kids reading.) So I was a bit curious about how much I would enjoy my step back into the romance genre.

Because of Melissa Lemon’s characters and plotting I have another confession to make…I absolutely loved my journey back into romance.

In Blue Sky, Sunny is dealing with the loss of both of her parents to a car accident when she discovers Lewis in her basement. Their first encounter is dramatic and, with the storm outside, Sunny realizes she has just been taken hostage in her own home.

In his own way, Lewis is also a hostage—held prisoner by a past he lets rob him of his future. As the storm outside dissipates, their relationship grows and Sunny makes a decision to help Lewis. Over time she becomes fearful of losing someone else she cares about so she carefully avoids developing a friendship with him beyond her efforts to help. Lewis, on the other hand, is fearful that his past will prevent him from having a future with Sunny. Through a series of misunderstandings, the pair separate and Sunny realizes that, to find a homeless man she is going to have to walk a similar path—including the ironic twist of living a hidden life in a stranger’s home.

Blue Sky was a clean and tender romance filled with characters I quickly cared about…so much so that, at just over 400 pages, the book was too short! I wanted to read more about them.

Melissa Lemon also uses Blue Sky to enter the world of homelessness and take a poignant look at family dysfunction and the hidden pain it causes.

I enjoyed both Sunny and Lewis’ characters and the way Melissa lets us look into their inner emotions. Through the personal loss both characters experienced, each felt alone in the world yet they guarded that hurt and loneliness in very different ways. When Lewis tells Sunny the worst part about being homeless it caused an audible reaction in me because it was a perfect response. And when Lewis finally comes clean about his past the entire scene was so well written, including the body language, that I half suspect the author has sat with someone who has struggled to share painful memories.

In fact, some of the descriptions in the book were so well written that, as a writer myself, I went back and reread them a second and even a third time to analyze how she crafted the scene and study the word choices she used. (I especially loved the kiss where Sunny pulls away and Lewis isn’t ready to let her go and tries to reclaim her.)

Now for one more confession…I liked the character of Lewis’ brother, Jack…a lot! Often people do deal with difficult problems by using humor and that made Jack’s almost cocky comments both sad and endearing. His willingness to stand in front of family problems and 'take it on the chin' for them was very believable. In fact, I would love to see a spin-off book that moves Jack forward as a main protagonist…or at least places him along side his brother, Lewis. So, how about Melissa? If you’re up for a sequel, I’m up for another great read!

If you want to learn more about Melissa Lemon and her writing, check out her home page Melissa Lemon

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