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REVIEW: Out of the Blue by Sally Mandel

Dear Ms. Mandel,

Out of the BlueApplause, applause, standing applause. You’re gonna like what I have to say about your book. Anna Bolles is smart, funny and in love with Joe. Joe Malone is smart, gorgeous, and in love with Anna. They know they have something special, something that everybody looks for. They know this by chapter 2. So, I can hear all the authors reading this yelling, where’s the conflict? Where’s the plot? You can’t just have the h/h fall in love on page 10 and that be it.

The It is that Anna has MS, multiple sclerosis. It colors every aspect of her life from home to work (she’s a high school English teacher) and when she got it five years ago, she mentally closed the door marked *future* in her life. Now she’s not sure if Joe will be there for the long haul or if she wants him to be. MS is an awful disease and her relapses aren’t pretty. Does she want Joe to see her like that? Does she, can she believe in *for better or for worse, in sickness and in health?* Because her worse and sickness are already here and they aren’t going to get any better.

This is a great book. It’s not always easy and you let us see the character’s flaws as well as their good points. Life isn’t easy for anyone but Anna has challenges that most of us wouldn’t even realize. You show that, show how MS can totally change a life and by golly you get the drugs that Anna has to take right. But you don’t bash us over the head with it or get all preachy and maudlin. Joe and Anna have tough issues to face but face them they do. And when they walk back down the aisle (well, actually Joe carries Anna as her left leg has decided to take a vacation during the ceremony), I believe in their future. It won’t be all rosey and love won’t cure Anna but I can see them working on things, working out things and staying together for the future. A- Gosh I love this book.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

13 Comments

  1. Jane
    May 20, 2006 @ 17:10:49

    The great thing about this is that it is available as an ebook. :). I loved this book too.

  2. Marg
    May 20, 2006 @ 19:35:25

    This looks good.

  3. Maili
    May 20, 2006 @ 21:51:46

    Oh, yeah. This is one of a very few novels that left me with two huge panda eyes, burning bright red nose, aching throat, and a deep desire to hug Will or a tree [no difference, really]. So, yeah, I fully sec your rec.

  4. Kristie(J)
    May 21, 2006 @ 04:39:41

    This one is very touching isn’t it? I loved it too!

  5. Jayne
    May 21, 2006 @ 06:56:12

    I didn’t know this came as an ebook. Grrr. I read an old paperback copy. Well, I need to go back and edit this entry to show that. Alright, ebook rec wanters. Here’s a good one for you.

  6. Jayne
    May 21, 2006 @ 06:58:19

    Maili, do you mean that there’s no difference between Will and a tree or that your eyes were so red and swollen from crying that you couldn’t tell the difference? ;)

  7. jmc
    May 21, 2006 @ 12:49:24

    I loved the end of the book — mostly because it seemed more real to me that most books with epilogues that show how many kids the h/h have or that they are expecting or whatever else fits into the traditional HEA. After reading it, I checked out Mandel’s Heart and Soul, which was very good, too.

  8. Jayne
    May 21, 2006 @ 18:16:44

    I’ve heard differing opinions about “Heart and Soul.” Some people loved it and others said, “not so good.”

  9. Maili
    May 21, 2006 @ 20:23:13

    Yup, that’s right, Jayne. Whenever I get panda-eyed, I’m partially blinded. At my mum’s funeral last year, through heavy tears I whispered to my youngest brother that a certain uncle was getting drunk and maybe we ought to hide him before the new priest would turn up and see the state of him. My “brother”, with a very different voice, said, “I’m afraid it’s too late, but it’s all right. Don’t mind me, please”. F***. Every time I recall this, I cringe.

  10. jmc
    May 22, 2006 @ 19:05:15

    Well, the sort-of-hero and heroine of Heart and Soul were not as likeable as the h/h of Out of the Blue. And the issue or conflict between them was less sympathetic, I thought, because it was a “secret” for a large chunk of the book, so all the reader sees is assholish behavior without any reasonable explanation. But FWIW the story was absorbing and ultimately more memorable for me that OotB.

  11. Jorrie Spencer
    Jun 10, 2006 @ 18:19:18

    Coming in late.

    Haven’t read OotB, but just finished Heart and Soul. It is an absorbing read, and I loved her descriptions of music, but I’m mad. I don’t know that I’ll blog about it since it would have to be totally spoilerish.

    She’s a good writer though.

  12. Margaret McGovern
    Aug 02, 2007 @ 19:55:32

    I would LOVE to contact the author. The book moved me beyond words. I live with MS, am almost 50, and my husband walked after 30 years of marriage. It reminds me to hope but I’d love to reach Sally Mandel. Please let me know how. Thanks

  13. Jayne
    Aug 03, 2007 @ 12:10:08

    Margaret, I’m not in touch with Ms Mandel. Perhaps you could write to Random House.

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