Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Publication: May 5, 2020 by Pegasus Books
Synopsis: A luminous narrative inspired by the fascinating real case of “the Blue People of Kentucky” that probes questions of identity, love, and family.
In 1937, there are recesses in Appalachia no outsiders have ever explored. Two government-sponsored documentarians from Cincinnati, Ohio—a writer and photographer—are dispatched to penetrate this wilderness and record what they find for President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration.
For photographer Clay Havens, the assignment is his last chance to reboot his flagging career. So when he and his journalist partner are warned away from the remote Spooklight Holler outside of town, they set off eagerly in search of a headline story.
What they see will haunt Clay into his old age: Jubilee Buford, a woman whose skin is a shocking and unmistakable shade of blue. From this happenstance meeting between a woman isolated from society and persecuted her whole life, and a man accustomed to keeping himself at lens distance from others, comes a mesmerizing story in which the dark shades of betrayal, prejudice, fear, and guilt, are refracted along with the incandescent hues of passion and courage.
Panning across the rich rural aesthetic of eastern Kentucky, The Last Blue is a captivating love story and an intimate portrait of what it is like to be truly one of a kind.
The “Blue people of Kentucky” case has always been fascinating to me, so I was super excited to be added to this book tour. Going into it, I expected I’d really like it, but it was so much better than I was expecting! It truly is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and I’ll be recommending it for a while!
Morley has some of the most beautiful writing that I’ve ever read. I was slightly confused at first with the timeline jumping back and forth, but I think that had more to do with myself rather than the book. I don’t think I’ve ever been this emotional while reading a historical fiction novel; there are a few that made me cry, but never to this extent. This is the type of book that will stick with you for years after reading it, the kind that you won’t be able to get off your mind for weeks after finishing it.
Jubilee is quite possibly one of my favorite fictional characters. She’s extremely well-written, and it’s so easy to just adore her. The other characters are also beautifully written. I’ve never felt such strong emotions toward every single character in a book, whether it be anger or admiration.
If you’re into historical fiction or looking for a touching book about love, identity, family, and prejudice, you absolutely need to read this! You won’t regret picking this one up, I promise.
Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of this book via Let’s Talk Books Promo in exchange for an honest review.
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Meet the Author
Isla Morley grew up in South Africa during apartheid, the child of a British father and fourth-generation South African mother. During the country’s State of Emergency, she graduated from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth with a degree in English Literature. By 1994 she was one of the youngest magazine editors in South Africa, but left career, country and kin when she married an American and moved to California. For more than a decade she pursued a career in non-profit work, focusing on the needs of women and children. Her debut novel Come Sunday won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Prize. Her novel Above was an IndieNext pick, a Best Buzz Book, and a Publishers Weekly Best New Book. The Last Blue is her third novel.
She has lived in some of the most culturally diverse places of the world, including Cape Town, London, Honolulu and now Los Angeles where she shares a home with her husband, daughter, three cats and five tortoises.
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