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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blue by Lou Aronica

Blue by Lou Aronica
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (394 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Do not begin this novel unless you are prepared to be moved, willing to open your heart, and available to the possibility that life can bring you magic.

Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.

Could it be true that “Magic is just science we don’t understand yet”? If so, then Chris and his daughter Becky have opened up a fascinating new concept for the reader to believe in with their Tamarisk Kingdom.

Blue is an emotional, thought-provoking story that reaching in and squeezes the heart. It combines the world we know and the fantasy world of Tamarisk that Becky and her father Chris created. The connection between the two worlds makes life bearable during dark times and makes it delightfully happy in the lighter times.

The romantic love in Blue is in the fantasy world of Tamarisk, but the love Becky and her father Chris share is the love that shines through with a forever glow. When fourteen-year-old Becky finds out the cancer has returned after many years of being in remission, she reaches out to Tamarisk again after abandoning it when her parents divorced four years ago.

Chris and Becky created Tamarisk when Becky was five years old and struggling to cope with the horrific effects of chemotherapy as her little body fought the cancer. Chris sat by her side and held her during sleepless nights. Together they created a place with all her favorite things and things of both their imaginations—a magical place.

Now, after a four-year absence, Becky arrives in Tamarisk to find Princess Miea, who had been a carefree university student, was now the queen of Tamarisk. Her parents had died four years ago and Miea reigns. Her load is heavy and her personal hopes and dreams are superseded by her royal obligations. She is a lonely young woman amid a throng of people. Miea recognizes Becky and feels a special connection. The parallels in Becky and Miea’s lives are compelling.

The symbolism, imagery and the appeal to all the senses in Blue make it a transporting experience for the reader. It is a vicarious journey into the realm of courage, imagination, hope, and possibilities.

Gage, the presence that heard Chris and Becky’s whispers of anguish, pain, and despair when Becky was only five, gifted them with courage to connect to something special. However, they had control of the gift. Gage watched in wonder as their two worlds joined so Becky and sometimes Chris could travel to Tamarisk. Gage is amazed at the extraordinary use of the gift as he sees Becky and Chris overcome pain and grief and come to embrace the significance of each.

Many of the secondary characters appear only to move the story along and reveal facets of the main characters. However, Polly, Becky’s mother, has a strong influence on the earthly happenings in Becky and Chris’ lives. How she copes with Becky’s situation creates some tense scenes.

The heartbreaking, sad scenes bring tears. However, the joy and hope felt as Becky and the Kingdom of Tamarisk unite gives assurance of a happy-ever-after for Miea and her long denied love Dyson and for a healthy Becky and her special boyfriend. Even Chris and Polly cope in a magical way.

Lou Aronica takes the reader on an emotional journey with a family coping with the unrelenting grief of a child with cancer while offering the reader a world of possibilities where people use all their gifts unselfishly.

Blue made me cry and laugh. It enlivened my imagination and offered hope. This story is full of subtleties that tease the mind. I’m sure new wonders will come to light each time the story is read—it is a story to be enjoyed more than once. Becky and her Tamarisk Kingdom will be remembered long after the last words of Blue are read.