Book Spotlight: Like Sapphire Blue, by Marissa Billions

9 May 2023

Published: 3rd June, 2022
Length: 304 pages

Emma Landry is tough, independent, beautiful, and smart. Being an outcast unable to identify with her classmates, she was willing to do whatever it takes to climb her way out of

“What color would you say they are?”

Like Sapphire Blue

Having never known a mother’s love, her father “Bear”, raised her on the wrong side of the tracks in a wealthy town.

When success beckons, the woman she’s been in love with is, finally, within her grasp. Life is now worth living and loving.

That is, until a dark family secret is revealed. A secret tied into the very fabric of who she is, and what she spent a lifetime working to overcome.

Faced with a foundation-shattering treachery, Emma finds herself at the crossroads. Can she overcome a destiny stronger than death, destitution, and murder, to prove she is more than just her father’s daughter? Or will this new knowledge lead her to destroy the world she’s spent a lifetime building?

Winner of the 2023 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Fiction Book of the Year.

~ 1 ~

Humble Beginnings

The Present...

Discord, meaning a lack of harmony or unity by the definition. In a relationship it is that moment when the realization hits that there is no turning back and the damage is done. It’s irreparable.

Why won’t she look at me? Emma looked about the room. The table was set with the good china. Their favorite bottle of wine sat corked in the center, and across from her, was her beautiful wife. This was the woman that she spent the last two decades of her life with, and she won’t even look up? There was no way I was ever going to really fall in love with anyone else, you made sure of that. Whenever I thought you were out of my life, you miraculously reappeared every time. With narrowed eyes, gripping the ends of the table she looked around in the dimly lit room.

The dining room was immaculate, crown molding lines the ceiling, and a tapestry of a French courtyard hangs on the back wall. A china cabinet delicately displaying the unused settings on the opposite wall. The dimmer switch was set to low and candles flicker in silver holders (inherited from her wife’s grandmother, who inherited them from her grandmother and so forth and so on). Her wife was sitting, with her thick strawberry blonde hair in delicate waves down her back. Her favorite dress clung to her curves. She has a beautiful body, and not a lot of things look bad on her. Her chin was down, and her beautiful blue eyes are downcast, refusing to look at Emma. She is leaning back against the chair with her head down. She’s there, but she’s not.

Emma sat back, still staring across the table at her wife. One hand rested on the table, the other on the back of her chair. She worked so hard on this dinner. She made their favorite meal – eggplant parmigiana, pasta, home-made garlic bread. Not even an acknowledgement of the fact that the bottle of wine costs what Bear used to make in two weeks working at Jessie’s shop.

Her wife just sat there unmoved. Unimpressed. Not looking. Not speaking. This was her schtick though. The cold shoulder. The silent treatment. It wasn’t the first time she did this to Emma. But still, it was frustrating to her. And to think, this woman has a PhD. You would think she has better coping mechanisms than the silent treatment.

The dinner itself and the beautiful and impressive dining room it was served in, could not be a further cry from Emma’s meager beginnings. To keep from looking at her silent wife, Emma looked around at the room.

“You had everything growing up. This dinner, and what I did to prepare it, probably don’t mean much to you. But to make this, to have this, this is the world to me. What we built together, has meant the world to me.” Emma’s voice was quiet. Tears had welled up in her eyes.

The Past (1976-1991)

Emma Landry never knew her mother. She didn’t even know she had one until she was in kindergarten. She thought she only came to be because of one parent, her dad Frank, who she called Bear, short for Papa Bear.

She lived with her dad in a small trailer near the town. It was behind the auto shop that her dad worked at, which was owned by his brother, her uncle Jessie. The trailer was rundown, and there was a hole in the corner of the floor in the living room where she could see the ground beneath. In the winter time, she would stick a towel in the hole to keep the cold out, but sometimes the mice beneath the trailer would take it. Bear’s room was located at one end of the narrow trailer, and hers was at the other. There was a small living room with a tv that had bootlegged cable running to it. The walls were lined with a dark, faux wood paneling. An old card table with folding chairs was where they ate from dull plastic plates with mismatched silverware and chipped ceramic mugs. The couch was old, cream colored with brown and orange flower print, sagged in the middle and smelled faintly of mildew.

Their trailer and the shop were located on a small, wooded plot of land. They didn’t have neighbors, and she didn’t have friends. Her friends were two plush animals, Teddy (a floppy eared dog) and Brownie (a threadbare cotton tailed bunny).


Marisa Billions is a high school English teacher in Southern California. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Criminology. She is the author of the fiction novels, This Too Shall Pass, Like Sapphire Blue, and Into the Blue Again. She is working on her upcoming fourth novel. Like Sapphire Blue was the Reader Views Reviewers Choice Fiction Book of the Year. She lives in Southern California with her wife, Stephanie, and son, Alexander, and two Boxer dogs, Max and Ruby.