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Accustomed to the sophistication of Philadelphia, Olive arrives in Spencer, Ohio, a rough and tumble world she is not familiar with, facing two traumatized children. Her niece and nephew, Mary and John, have been living with a neighboring farmer, widower Jacob Butler, the father of three young children of his own and a man still in pain from the recent loss of his wife.
Real danger threatens Olive and Mary and John, while Jacob and his own brood battle the day-to-day struggles for survival. Will Olive and Jacob find the strength to fight their battles alone or together? Will love conquer the bitterness of loss and broken dreams?
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By LilMissMolly on 04-20-15
Great Midwestern Tale of Early American Struggles
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Romancing Olive by Holly Bush is a wonderful early American story. Not quite a western, the story takes place in Ohio in 1891. The story centers on 35 year-old Olive, who proudly lives a contented life as a spinster librarian in Philadelphia. After she learns of the death of her beloved brother and sister-in-law in Ohio, she sets off to retrieve her young niece and nephew with the intent of bringing them back to Philadelphia.
What Olive didn't expect was the atrocious mannerisms and near barbaric way of life in Ohio. She also didn't expect two very frightened children who would rather stay with Jacob, the neighbor, and his three young children than move to Philadelphia with an aunt they didn't know. Olive quickly decides to stay a few days until the children get more comfortable with the idea of moving with her. In just a few weeks, Olive organizes routine and discipline into all five children's lives and she soon realizes how much "living" she's denied herself over the years.
I really enjoyed watching Jacob's view of Olive change throughout the book. Olive gradually and believably transforms into a warm blooded woman yearning of a man's touch - Jacob's touch. Jacob, being a widower at 25 and was wise beyond his years, was extremely stubborn when it came to Olive (until he realized the local sheriff was also interested in Olive). Jacob's personal struggle to overcome his wife's death was very heartfelt and realistic- so much so that I couldn't help but let a few tears escape.
Lee Ann Howlett's performance was good, having different tones and inflections for the varying characters. The voices for the children who played such a big part in the story were excellent. Her reading pace was also good and set the proper atmosphere for the story.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Barry Owens on 10-30-15
Wonderful story with a wonderful narrator
I enjoyed this book! It was not in my usual genre so it took some getting used to. It is set in Ohio during the early 1890's. Olive is a librarian from Philadelphia who learns of her brother's violent death at a saloon gaming table and her sister-in-law's subsequent murder in her home on the farm. Olive's niece and nephew are now orphans without any family who is willing to take them in. When Olive receives a letter asking her her to come and take custody of the children, she travels to Ohio meaning to pick the children up and return to Philadelphia with them.
Having never met their aunt the children are, at first, afraid of her so Olive accepts an invitation to stay for a short time so that the children can get to know her and she can build a relationship with the children. Of course, when Olive travelled to Ohio she never expected to fall in love with town or with Jacob (the widower who has been the children's guardian since their parents were killed).
I loved the ending to this story.
Lee Anne Howlett is a wonderful narrator for this story. There are not so many characters that she had to come up with a lot of voices. Also she has some very believable voices for the children.
This book is a solid four out of five stars.
I received this book from the narrator in exchange for an honest review!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful