They are planning their future together when Sam’s father is transferred to South Africa. Devastated, Gabby and Sam promise to wait for each other during the two years before he returns for college. But lonely and angry, Sam makes a mistake that will change the course of both their lives.
Twenty years pass before an unexpected diagnosis brings Sam home to his parents’ house on the lake where he believes he can find peace and acceptance. What he finds, however, is the girl he once loved, now a woman unwilling to lose him again, a woman who will make him realize that both love and life are worth fighting for.
Blue Wide Sky is like coming home again. Having grown up in Roanoke, Virginia and spent a fair amount of time at Smith Mountain Lake myself, the descriptions the author provided of the lake, the boats, the docks, the animals, and the mountains made me feel like home. She wonderfully captured the feel of the lake as we are introduced to Sam and Gabby - twenty odd years after they last saw each other. Blue Wide Sky is about a first love given a second chance, although Sam and Gabby both realize that, "there aren't many things you can go back to that are pretty much the same as they are in your memories". (said by Sam)
This book is written in "diary style", with the chapters varying between which person is first person. It is mostly Sam's and Gabby's point of view, but from time to time, a secondary character has the primary voice in a chapter. Adjusting to the various points of view takes a little time but it doesn't take away from the story.
Blue Wide Sky takes us through Sam's return to Virginia after living overseas for all of his adulthood, and his reconnecting with Gabby, who has spent her life at Smith Mountain Lake. Each of them has lived a lifetime since last they saw each other, and each has families and obligations that make the chances of a reunion tenuous at best. Both Gabby and Sam struggle with the anger of the loss of a first love, and the kindling of feelings they both thought were dead and buried. Through their reconciliation, they each realize there is a hole in their heart that was never filled. Just when they begin to forge a new relationship together, tragedy strikes and tests the bounds of their love. As they navigate the struggles in its aftermath, and the implications to their families, they come to realize that their love truly is a "forever love", (warning, bring along some tissues for the trip to Smith Mountain Lake)
While this is just the first book in a series set at Smith Mountain Lake, the author includes an epilogue to help give closure to the readers until the next story is provided. I, for one, will be waiting anxiously for my next trip back to Smith Mountain Lake!