“Like Sapphire Blue” by Marisa Billions

Like Sapphire Blue

Marisa Billions
Mirador Publishing (2022)
ISBN: 978-1914965586
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (05/2022)

I first “met up” with Marisa Billions’ amazing talent when reading her novel, “This Too Shall Pass.” An amazing book with memorable characters, that debut was extremely difficult to put down. So, when I was told that a second book had arrived, I was more than excited. What I wasn’t ready for, however, was an even better book that offered me romance, mystery, suspense, incredible characters, and emotions that ran so deep the story actually changed my thoughts on some aspects of life, while strengthening my own beliefs regarding others. It was as if Ms. Billions knew exactly what her characters had to present in order to make a perfect read, and then completely succeeded in her task.

In “Like Sapphire Blue,” readers get to feel like they’re sitting in a cinema watching the path of the main character, Emma Landry, play out before their eyes. At first sight, we spot a ritzy dining room with an elegant meal laid out on a stunning table. We see the crown moldings decorating the wealthy dining area, and two women sitting in complete silence. It’s an awkward stillness; it is a scene showing the irreparable damage existing between a married couple, once madly in love, now trying to just get through a meal.

Emma has a brain running non-stop while wishing her wife would at least look up and acknowledge her in some way. Emma is hurt, and she is going over the pictures and events of her past, attempting to wrap her head around the moment in time where the once loving relationship she had with her wife turned into this emotional upheaval that just doesn’t feel like it works anymore. She’s desperate to understand when the glitter faded from the rose.

While trying to find answers, Emma goes back in time, unveiling her early life to us all. We feel for her while watching Emma grow up being raised by men. Her mother had disappeared into the night, so to speak, when she was only a baby, leaving Emma with a father, an uncle, and a life of mediocrity. Calling a trailer “home,” Emma lives in meager, deprived circumstances on the “other side of the tracks” in a wealthy town. All she wants is to crawl into a hole and stay there. Call her what you will—a rebel, a loner—Emma is alone in her world and wants to keep it that way. Unfortunately, the path of a bully crosses Emma’s path when she’s only a pre-teen and adds a darkness to her life that makes loneliness seem like a goal she’d like to achieve again…but the nightmarish realities of the world will not just let her be.

We follow Emma as she opens the doors to the courageous yet harsh world that LGBTQ individuals must deal with daily; we see the inequality and bullying they experience from the small minds and even smaller hearts of those who think their morals and beliefs are the only ones that matter. And although this ridiculous “punishment” continues in this world against all creeds, colors, and sexual preferences today, we also see the positives that have come from legalized marriages and a new generation standing up, coming out, and voicing their love for one another no matter what the small-minded still choose to preach.

When Emma uncovers mysteries—secrets buried within her own family tree—and her world once again hits emotional turmoil, the story grows even more intense. And when the finale comes along, readers, you will quite literally gasp at what the writer brings together to culminate in one of the most memorable endings ever written.

I will never forget Emma, her father “Bear,” and the wealth of supporting characters in this one. The wealthy town, the wrong side of the tracks – all of it reminded me of various aspects of my own life – and the independence, intelligence, and all out strength of Emma will inspire me for a long, long time to come. I can’t wait for Marisa’s next story!

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