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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Vine Voice Reviewer Gives Five Stars to Historical Fiction

Title: Olivia, Mourning
Book 1 of the Olivia series)
Author: Yael Politis
Author's website:  http://yaelpolitis.wordpress.com
Genre: Historical Fiction (USA, 1840s)
ISBN:   1493652451
Purchase Link

Reviewed by Carol Kean, an Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer
Originally published in: Amazon.com

Great characters, well-researched historical  5 stars

What a beautifully written but heart-breaking story! From page one, I was hooked. A boy named Mourning, orphaned as an infant, is adopted by a small-town white family. He grows up to be a sterling character, capable, hard working, and reliable. What would the town do without him? A girl named Olivia grows up in the same town, escaping the racist mindset that plagues everyone else except a lawyer who actually has Mourning's best interests at heart, and a woman whose reputation is questionable, but whose character and integrity far surpass that of the self-righteous townfolk. When Olivia wants to stake her claim to a piece of land her uncle left behind, she proposes something like a marriage of convenience between her and Mourning. She's white, he's black, so marriage is out of the question, and their arrangement is strictly platonic, until Olivia finally acknowledges her attraction to a man society will never allow her to marry. At times she must pretend to boss him around like a servant because the alternative is persecution of a worse sort. The novel takes a dark turn, which can hardly be summarized with plot spoilers. The ending is a cliff hanger, sure to send readers racing for Book Two.

The prose is gorgeous, the historical setting is vividly reproduced with painstaking detail, and the characters are so real, it's hard to believe they really are fictional. The fate of Olivia and Mourning, however, fulfills the double meaning of the title. Emotionally, it's a brutal read. However, it's all just the way the world is. And so the sequel (which I've read) is also aptly titled. I strongly recommend these novels for their social and historical value, but also for the sheer beauty of the story. Just be prepared to feel angry, horrified and heartbroken.

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