The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

OLIVIA, MOURNING (Volume 1 - Olivia Series) by Yael Politis

Olivia, Mourning by Yael PolitisPublisher:  Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date:  November 27, 2013
Pages:  406

Historical Fiction (USA 1840s)
Available on Amazon in eBook and paperback.

2010 YWO Book of the Year
2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, Quarter-Finalist

About the Book:  Newly orphaned and forced to live with her brother and the overbearing woman who will soon be his wife, Olivia Killion is determined to gain her independence by inheriting 80 acres of farmland in far off Michigan. Her father’s will bequeathed the land to whichever of his offspring would put in a crop and stake a claim to it. Olivia insists, “I’m sprung off him just as much as Avis or Tobey.”
The problem: she’s seventeen, female, and it’s 1841.

She has a friend who would make a perfect partner for this endeavor. Mourning Free knows how to run a farm, having worked many years for local farmers. More importantly, Olivia has complete trust in him and no fear of a romantic entanglement developing between them. Mourning will put in the crop for her and she will then help him buy land of his own.
The problem: Mourning is black, the orphaned son of runaway slaves, and reluctant to travel and work with a white girl. He especially fears the private agents from the south who patrol the free states, hunting fugitive slaves.

Olivia believes she and Mourning can make their partnership work and they set off together. All goes well, despite the drudgery of survival in an isolated log cabin. Incapable of acknowledging her feelings for Mourning, Olivia thinks her biggest problem is her unrequited romantic interest in their young, single neighbor. Then she is betrayed and violated and her world falls apart.

Strong-willed, vulnerable, and compassionate, Olivia is a compelling protagonist on a journey to find a way to do the right thing in a world in which so much is wrong.

Wanda's Thoughts:  Olivia, Mourning is a phenomenal book - storytelling at its best! This historical fiction, with a wealth of information, is an emotional read with drama and overwhelming challenges throughout. The storyline never lost momentum and my interest never waned. The descriptive writing was beautiful with vivid details on the living conditions, but simple and flowing - easy to read. 

Olivia was determined to inherit the 80 acres in Michigan, left by her Uncle Scruggs - a place called Fae's Landing. She had no idea how to run a farm, but she had six hundred dollars to start the venture and all she had to do to claim the land was put in a crop. She hires Mourning Free - he would be perfect and would work for less than a white man. Mourning had a natural ability for fixing things and would do anything asked of him without complaint. And Mourning sure needed a new start. After a rather arduous trip, they arrive in Michigan to find horrible living conditions, but Mourning was optimistic, saying all beginnings are hard. It seemed all there was to life was doing chores and Olivia had no idea things would be this bad. And the story unfolds with startling revelations to come. 

I absolutely loved the characters - very well developed. Mourning, speaking in the vernacular, brought the dialogue to life. There were impossible situations that made for an unhappy ending which left you hanging with a lot of unresolved issues. But book 2 is already out there and I hope to read it in the near future. This is definitely a 5 star novel by a truly gifted writer. Don't miss this one!

I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review of this book. 

Yael PolitisThe Author - Yael Politis
I grew up in Michigan, but have lived all my adult life in Israel where I have worked as a dishwasher, secretary, librarian, office manager, agricultural laborer, management systems analyst, English teacher, Hebrew-English translator, technical writer, marketing writer, and proposal writer.

I have just completed two new historical novels: Olivia, Mourning and The Way the World Is (Books 1 and 2 of the Olivia Series). Both take place in Michigan and Pennsylvania in the 1840s. I love the challenge of recreating daily life in another time and place and based many of the details in Olivia, Mourning and The Way the World Is on letters and journals passed down through my family, over seven generations of lives lived in the Midwest. I received a great deal of insight from my sister, may she rest in peace, who lived in a fairly isolated log home, hunted her own land, and was just as independent and stubborn as Olivia.
Both books are available on Amazon.

Olivia, Mourning:

The Way the World Is

My debut novel, The Lonely Tree, was published by Holland Park Press of London. It received a 2009 Book of the Year award from the YWO writer's site and honorable mention for the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award for general fiction.

It is available for purchase on:

eBook (Kindle): '

eBook and paperback: