I received a complimentary copy of THE LAST BLUE by Isla Morley as part of a scheduled Let’s Talk Books tour. Thank you to Pegasus Books and the author for the opportunity to read and review!
Rating: 4 / 5
THE LAST BLUE is set primarily in the late 1930s in remote areas of Appalachia. When photographer Haves is assigned to the area to take photographers for a journalist, the pair are sucked into the mystery of why they are told not to venture to Spooklight Holler outside of town. When they give in to their curiosity, they find a shocking site.
Jubilee is a woman whos skin is naturally blue. Along with her brother, she comes from a family where this is part of their lineage. Not everyone is born with blue skin, but the condition is not uncommon. The “right-colored” people of town fear them and treat them horribly, so the family mostly keeps to themselves. Understandably, having a journalist and a photographer there is not what they want, but when conditions have them taking Havens in, he and Jubilee form a quick bond.
This book is told in two time periods, beginning in 1972 with Havens, but spending most of the focus on the past in the late 1930s. Jubilee and her family are quite understandably wary of any outsiders, but Jubilee has a big heart for those around her and I loved the friendship and love that developed between her and Havens.
Learning more about the “Blue People of Kentucky” was also interesting. I did a bit of googling on my own, but the author did a fantastic job of pulling the context of this very real condition into the story. The ways the family was treated and the abuses they faced were heartbreaking! Trigger warnings for racism and violence.
This was a great historical fiction read and a fantastic book for discussion – definitely one to check out for book clubs as well your own TBR! THE LAST BLUE is available now!