In this luminous narrative inspired by the fascinating real case of “the Blue People of Kentucky,” Isla Morley probes questions of identity, love, and family in her breathtaking new novel.

In 1937, there are recesses in Appalachia no outsiders have ever explored. Two government-sponsored documentarians from Cincinnati, Ohio—a writer and photographer—are dispatched to penetrate this wilderness and record what they find for President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. For photographer Clay Havens, the assignment is his last chance to reboot his flagging career. So when he and his journalist partner are warned away from the remote Spooklight Holler outside of town, they set off eagerly in search of a headline story. What they see will haunt Clay into his old age: Jubilee Buford, a woman whose skin is a shocking and unmistakable shade of blue. From this happenstance meeting between a woman isolated from society and persecuted her whole life, and a man accustomed to keeping himself at lens distance from others, comes a mesmerizing story in which the dark shades of betrayal, prejudice, fear, and guilt, are refracted along with the incandescent hues of passion and courage. Panning across the rich rural aesthetic of eastern Kentucky, The Last Blue is a captivating love story and an intimate portrait of what it is like to be truly one of a kind.

Available for purchase here.


“Morley has constructed a memorable and moving narrative, complicated by the troubles of the past and shadowed by the risk of betrayal, which probes what it means to truly be seen and understood for oneself.”, Booklist

“A compelling tale of survival, reinvention, and hope.  Vivid and poignant.”, The Boston Globe (Praise for Isla Morley)

“Intense and ambitious.  Exquisitely detailed.”, Los Angeles Magazine (Praise for Isla Morley)

“An arresting, heart-wrenching novel. . . . a phenomenal debut.”, The San Diego Union Tribune (Praise for Isla Morley)

“Morley is a stunning storyteller.”, The Daily Beast (Praise for Isla Morley)


Author visits with Isla Morley are available via NovelNetwork.com.