The Last Blue by Isla Morley captures the spirit of an Appalachian Mountain community in the late 1930s. Jubilee Buford lives on the outskirts of the small town of Chance, Kentucky with her family. Jubilee and her brother Levi are not like the ordinary folk of Chance, they have been outcasted due to the color of their skin, blue. Deep down the Buford family line, many have been blue, but now only Jubilee and Levi are left. Many in the town don’t appreciate their differences and challenge and harass them whenever they come to town.
Havens and Massey are a photographer and writer respectively, that are hired by the Farm Security Administration to write stories about the people in smaller towns in the United States. After a stunning and brief encounter with Jubilee in the woods, Havens is bitten by a poisonous snake and brought into the Buford’s home while they tend to his wounds. Havens and Massey develop relationships with the members of the Buford clan, and learn the trouble and trials of a life being blue.
The Last Blue is truly a heartwarming story. There is love and loss and as a reader you develop a deep connection to the Buford clan. Jubilee is a gentle and lovable character and the amount of hatred she has to endure due to her medical condition is heart wrenching. Even though the book does not span a huge length of time, you can see the personal growth in Jubilee as her experiences change due to the influence of the outsiders to Chance.
My first experience reading about the blue people of Kentucky was The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and I was instantly hooked. I knew I wanted to read more about the blue people and their lives, and this book didn’t disappoint. I did find it a bit repetitive and slow in parts, but it was a fascinating look into a different type of racism and prejudice. This book would be a great book for a book club with so many different key points to discuss!
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