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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
Kate Faraday always felt a bit of shame where her parents were concerned. It was tough growing up with an alcoholic father and a mother who suffered from mental illness. Added to the dysfunction was the fact that her parents lived in separate houses, but stayed in each other's lives. Kate lived with her father, but she had been looking out for her mother for as long as she could remember. After high school Kate leaves the tiny town of Cooper, to go to college in Lansing in the hope of leaving Michigan and moving to California, where she could start over. When something happens to her mother she finds herself dealing not only with long-lost relatives, but with feelings that she has kept buried as well.
"When Red Is Blue" is a powerful story that allows the reader a true glimpse of the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family. Sabrynne McLain breathes life into each of her characters allowing me to feel the emotions that they felt. As we learn about Kate's mother Sophia it is easy to feel sympathy for her, but the snippets of the past that we get also allow the reader to see the pride she felt for her only daughter. Art Faraday was another surprise. Kate remembered him as an alcoholic, but as she sifts through the past she sees a man who sacrificed, and truly loved her mother. Kate's character is the most complex of all. The author allows us to see Kate's flaws, but Kate judged herself more harshly than anyone around her did. She is a daughter who worried about her mother, felt guilt over something that wasn't her fault, and didn't hesitate to come home and help her father when he needed her. "When Red Is Blue" is a touching account of a daughter longing to break away and leave the past behind, but learns that she must deal with the past in order to embrace her future! A book that will resonate with anyone who has ever been touched by alcoholism or mental illness. Memorable characters have made this a story that I continued to think about long after I read the final page!