Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
“Morning, noon, and night. I choose you.”
P. Dangelico’s newest story, Out of the Blue, is an emotional juggernaut about choice, the choice to love a person just as they are. Her story centers around a young woman, Blue, who has left her life in Los Angeles behind to run an animal rescue in Ojai. She loves her life on a property where she spends her days working hard to care for the animals and their surroundings. One day, her best friend, Jess, shows up and asks her if one of her clients, a Hollywood movie star, can complete his home arrest and community service with their rescue program. Blue is not excited about that prospect since she understands the world of Hollywood, but the woman who owns the rescue program, Mona, agrees to it. The day before the movie star is due to arrive, a different man shows up, one to who Blue feels an instant tether. Shane is the brother of Aidan Hughes, the movie star. He has tasked himself with overseeing his brother’s behavior, and he asks for a space on the property. Mona, Blue’s boss, offers up Blue’s residence, the guest house on the property. Put out of her home, she isn’t a fan of Shane’s, even though she finds herself attracted to him. As their story progresses, Blue is drawn to Shane, yet his behavior towards her vacillates between hot and cold. One night, when she attempts to find a date, Shane finally decides to accept his attraction, and they have a hot, steamy night together. This progresses into more days of this, and Blue finds herself falling for Shane. However, the problem is Shane is a nomad. He doesn’t like to stay in one place for too long. Unfortunately, Blue has found her home, and she has no interest in following him. Even more, with her past, she needs to be someone’s first choice. Is it possible for Blue and Shane to find their happy ending?
For me, the brilliance of this Dangelico’s Out of the Blue is the idea behind it: the ability for people to choose a person just as they are, to be someone’s choice. Dangelico creates a parallel of this issue between Blue’s parents’ story and her own struggles to accept Shane’s spirit. One of the most profound parts of the story comes in a conversation between Blue and her father. Blue resents her mother because she left when Blue was young to ‘save the world’ while forgoing raising her own daughter. She has never understood how her mother could choose the problems of other people over her. She has also struggled with her father’s acceptance of it. In the face of her choices, her father tells her, “No. You can’t blame someone for being who they are, Blue. I knew she was not the type to stay home and raise a family and I ignored the signs…[…] I can’t blame her for her nature any more than she can condemn me for mine.” In this moment, it’s clear that Blue will eventually need to choose to love Shane and let him go or accept him and live within the boundaries they decide for their relationship. The beauty of this reality especially as Dangelico metes it out through the different animals on the farm and their temperaments provides the backbone of Out of the Blue. As a reader, you understand Blue’s struggle, the pain of her childhood, and all the ways it’s tinged her life, and you need a happy ending for her. However, while you want Shane to be that happy ending, until the very end of the story, you’re never quite sure if he is. He is definitely physically compatible with her, and Dangelico brilliantly writes their physical chemistry, burning up the pages of her book. Yet, there is a struggle within this book for Blue and Shane to be well-matched. You aren’t quite sure even though you hope for it. That question drives you forward into the pages of Dangelico’s beautiful story.
My one criticism of this book, though, is the resolution of Blue’s trauma. This is a woman who has lived with the trauma of assault, and it’s caused her to live a protected, carefully constructed life. Yes, it’s spurned on her love for abused animals, one of the best parts of this book. Yet, the way in which Dangelico resolves Blue’s issues is too easy. I won’t share the details of it, but I think Dangelico might have put more development into it.
P. Dangelico’s Out of the Blue has so many qualities that grow your adoration for it. I personally loved its characters and their development. From Blue to Mona to Shane to Aidan, there are journeys to be walked and happy endings to be found, and Dangelico’s impressive storytelling easily helps you find them by its final page.
In love and romance,