Blue Willow by Deborah Smith: 5/5
published by Bantam Books in 1993
The Colebrooks and Mackenzies have been linked together for 6 generations and this bond is reinforced by Artemas Colebrook and Lily Mackenzie's friendship... however, their age difference (8 years) and class difference divided them and each lived their own life. Artemas, the oldest of 6, with useless and depraved parents, has always had many responsibilities such as raising his siblings and becoming the CEO of Colebrook China. As for Lily, her life changes dramatically when her parents die in a car accident when she's 18. Both marry and live their life, but fate inevitably brings them back together.Genre: contemporary romance, family saga
Now a widower, Artemas gives an important project to Lily's husband, a struggling architect. On the night of the reveal, the connecting bridge between two buildings crumbles, causing the death of several persons, including one of Artemas' sister and Lily's husband and son. In addition, Artemas' brother James' leg is maimed during the accident... Responsibility is pursued and attributed, accusations and blames are hurled, feelings are bruised and hurt, loss is enormous... and still, Artemas and Lily's love for each other still exist, but is buried... What will Artemas choose? His family... or will he again sacrifice Lily?
Review: All right, another not-so-great synopsis, but forget about it, the book was GREAT!! (As if you didn't figure it out by the grade :P anyway, I cried sooo much while reading this book, my eyes hurt!
The Characters - I really liked Lily and Artemas... although Lily seemed a bit too perfect... You know, too understanding, too forgiving, too good... but at the same time, she was a fascinating character. I mean, she's such a strong character and her strength is built on so many tragedies... and she's very down-to-earth... There was a lot of love in her and passion... and I was happy how Ms Smith portrayed her... she stood by her husband's name, fought for him, protected him... she didn't fall right back in Artemas as soon as he opened his arms... Poor Artemas actually, he really had to work hard! So yeah, she was a fascinating and very complex person with in-depth characterization. As for Artemas, man... I wish there was a man who loved me like he loves Lily. Sure, it's painful, but it must be something. Artemas is the definite leader of the family, the perfect brother you could have. He holds the siblings together and command with respect... It's definitively someone that you want to have on your side which made it the most impressive when Lily stood against him. Anyway, I liked his ruthless side as well... and I really liked the fact that he loved Lily so much... it did seem a bit obsessive, the way he insinuated his way back into Lily's life after his wife died... the only thing that bothers me a bit is the way he kept contact with Lily once he married through his right-hand man, Tamberlaine... it just seemed so arrogant, that he kept track of her, how she was living, if she was happy... but at the same time, it didn't allow Lily to forget him, because Tamberlaine would show up asking about her wellfare and updating her on Artemas' situation... but in the end, he's a great man...
Other characters include Artemas' siblings, Lily's aunts, Hopewell Este (the man who bought Lily's familial farm house) - most of them have some story and development, although main characters are really Lily and Artemas.
The Story & Writing - One thing that was very different from all the other books I've read by Ms Smith is that this one wasn't in the first-person pov... which I greatly appreciated. I think this book was more powerful at the third-person and it allowed the readers to have more scope on everyone's feelings. The pace was also excellent... we see glimpses of Artemas and Lily as they grow and exchange letters... Lily's parents accident really changed her life and we get to witness that... and time goes by, after the tragedy, before Lily and Artemas are brought back together by fate... which was needed it. I mean, the time, because I can't image Artemas and Lily being able to cleared everything in a few weeks and live happily ever after. Time heals... and time was necessary in their case. Hmmm, what else... I liked the fact that so many things happen, tragedies... and it didn't only happen to Artemas or Lily... Seriously though, I think that I've always loved this kind of story... two persons that love each other, but can't be together due to circumstances... and are then brought together by fate and the stars :P Anyway, a very engaging and emotional ride.
The Cover - well, it's kind of unremarkable... I mean, it does not stand out... but it does fit the title.
Am I keeping this book? Definitively.
Anything else? I'm currently trying to find her backlist... with some success :D I really like her style and so far, I've cried while reading all her books except for one :P