In a Field of Blue: A Novel

Written by Gemma Liviero
Review by Janice Ottersberg

Rudy Watts and his mother live in England’s Lake District at the family home, Lakeland Manor. It is 1922, his oldest brother Edgar is still missing and presumed dead after fighting in WWI, and his brother Laurence, a reprobate spendthrift, expects to inherit Lakeland. Unexpectedly, Mariette and a young boy, Samuel, show up claiming to be Edgar’s widow and son. Her appearance shakes up the family. If her claims are true, the child would replace Laurence as the heir to Lakeland.

Rudy is captivated by Mariette, but he must put his feelings aside to find the truth. Rudy is a character to love and admire for his vulnerability and his steadfastness. He has always lived in the shadow of his brothers. Liviero skillfully places the reader in Rudy’s thoughts so that we feel and understand his inner conflicts. He struggles to conduct an objective investigation while wanting to believe Mariette. He is falling in love with her and feels a guilty betrayal of Edgar for that. Laurence manipulates and bullies those around him, which causes Mariette to flee Lakeland, leaving Samuel in the care of Rudy and his mother.

Switching viewpoints, Mariette tells her story as a young child abandoned by her mother. Starved and victimized, she and her sister Helene survive alone on the streets and wandering the countryside. Jerome gives them food and a bed in exchange for working in his orchards. Years later, WWI robs them of their happiness and their happy home with Jerome when they must flee their ravaged French village. The secrets of Mariette’s life and the fate of Edgar unfold as the story builds.

The pace remains strong throughout. Each chapter ends with the right touch of foreshadowing that keeps the pages turning. This is a touching love story within a rich storyline that is well worth the read.