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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

THE WAY THE WORLD IS (Olivia, #2) by Yael Politis

The Way the World Is by Yael PolitisGenre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services
Series:  Olivia #2
Release Date:  December 29, 2013
Pages:  334

About the Book:  Detroit Michigan, 1842
After the devastating trauma she suffered in Olivia, Mourning and finally knowing the reality with which she must deal, Olivia strives to rebuild herself – emotionally, socially, and financially.

She starts a new life in Detroit, the young and exciting city on a river where she has come to feel at home. New friends help the healing process, while she continues her search for the two people she loves, who have disappeared from her life. She finds the greatest solace in helping fugitive slaves escape over the river to Canada. She believes, as one of her new friends says, “In this time and place it is the most worthy thing a person can do.”

Olivia remains 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 - This is a story of new beginnings for Olivia. She had been violated, humiliated, and tortured and now she finds herself alone and very vulnerable. Olivia Killion, a 19 year old woman, with her whole life ahead of her, is living with a lot of anger. She realizes she needs to move on with her life and make the best of her past decisions, one of which she is feeling a grand betrayal of an innocent life. 

Jettie Place, a strong and rather feisty character, had been Olivia's father's mistress, but now showed Olivia nothing but kindness and love. Jettie has a strong influence on Olivia, and helps her to make some heart-wrenching and unbearable decisions. They were decisions that changed Olivia's life drastically and the story unfolds in the 1840's as Olivia leaves Five Rocks, Pennsylvania and makes her home in Detroit, Michigan. 

Olivia becomes involved with runaway slaves and the Underground Railroad when she comes to the aid of slaves trying to make their way to Canada. Jarad Dansbury has intruded in Olivia's life, but she finds him attractive despite his shameful profession. He has the power to search all establishments suspected of harboring fugitives or slaves. He had been commissioned by the state of Kentucky to return fugitive slaves to their owners. I hope we'll be reading more about this interesting character in the next book of the series. 

Olivia buys a property and soon takes out a mortgage through a bank. At first she finds the idea distasteful, but there simply was no other way. 

I felt connected immediately to the vibrant and well developed characters, including the minor ones - Mr. Abraham, Michelle, and Mr. Wentworth, three characters that Olivia wasn't sure if they were trustworthy. Were they in cahoots, trying to cheat her? It seems that Olivia became suspicious of everyone because of her tragic past. Did they really have hidden motives or were their intentions honorable?

Yail Politis does it again! I was immediately drawn into the storyline from beginning to end. The great attention to detail makes this a great read as the setting becomes alive with the beautiful descriptive writing. The novel builds to a rather poignant ending, but still with unresolved issues. I'm looking forward to the final installment of this series. There could be some interesting revelations to unfold. Yael Politis is fast becoming a favorite author of mine and definitely this book is deserving of a 5 star rating. Don't miss this series - I just can't say enough good things about this book.

This was a very difficult book for me to review, not wanting to include any spoilers.  I recommend first reading Olivia, Mourning, the first book in the series, to have a better understanding of the characters.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Yael PolitisAbout the 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.