“Like Sapphire Blue” by Marisa Billions

Like Sapphire Blue

Marisa Billions
Mirador Publishing (2022)
ISBN: 978-1914965586
Reviewed by Stephanie Elizabeth Long for Reader Views (11/2022)

To the naked eye, Emma Landry has it all—a charming home rife with luxury and comfort and a beautiful wife with whom she is hopelessly in love. So why is her beautiful wife staring at her from across the table with unfeeling eyes? Something has happened. Emma can feel the world she’s worked so hard to build crumbling, and it seems there is nothing she can do to change it. She’s done everything but pull her heart out of her chest for this woman, which she would gladly do if it meant salvaging the unsalvageable. Emma’s heart is breaking. But to understand how they got to this point, she must go back to the beginning.

Despite coming from poverty and being raised in a trailer by a single father, affectionately known as Bear, Emma Landry was more determined than ever to overcome the plight of being from the wrong side of the tracks. Often alienated because of her differences, she sought fulfillment and recognition from her peers through basketball, which gave her the confidence to challenge ruthless bullies. That confidence empowered her to reveal her intense feelings to Bailey. Neither had ever considered being with another girl, but as soon as Emma set her sights on stunning Bailey, she had to have her.

Things seem to be looking up for Emma; she’s enamored with Bailey, gearing up to play college basketball on a scholarship, and she’s building a relationship with her maternal grandmother. But trouble always has its way of rearing its ugly head, and nothing can prepare her for the nefarious secret that she’s about to unearth.

“Like Sapphire Blue” pulled my heartstrings from the first page. Emma’s character exuded passion and heartache that was palpable in the emotionally driven introduction. It made me desperate to unearth what had happened to evoke these feelings. Who was at fault? Had one of them done something horrific? These were the questions that drove my urgency to keep reading more. The novel is told from the first-person perspective; the timeline switches between the present and the past (a clever approach by the author) so readers can piece together the years in between.

The author couldn’t have crafted a more root-worthy main character. Emma was tough and resilient, and relentless in her pursuits. Despite the level of hate and animosity she endured for being a lesbian in a community of ignorant people, she channeled that hate and transformed her life into something beautiful. I adored how she evolved over the years and unabashedly embraced her identity.

Moreover, I couldn’t finish singing this book’s praises without acknowledging Emma and Bailey’s passionate, albeit complicated, relationship. Theirs was one of those love stories that had me feeling all the feels. I’d get completely wrapped up in their romance only to have my heart shattered when complications separated them. It was truly a volatile ride, but one I’d take again and again. Moreover, I did not see that ending coming, neither will you, so brace yourself!

I voraciously tore through the pages of “Like Sapphire Blue.” I put off chores and rushed through responsibilities to escape into the world that Marisa Billions created. If you are drawn to stories about unrequited love, self-discovery, and a little bit of mystery, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. I promise you’ll be hooked after the first page.

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