Book 1 of the Olivia Series by Yael Politis
Historical Fiction (USA 1840s)
List Price: eBook$5.99, Paperback $14.99
Page Count: 409, Word Count: 132,000
“… an absolutely delightful and perfect story. I was into it from the
first word and it never faltered right to the end.”
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 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. As 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. Until 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.
2010 YWO Book of the Year
2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, Quarter-Finalist
I grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, not far from Olivia’s farm. I spent years researching this story – enjoying the challenge of trying to recreate daily life in another time and place – and based many details (including how Mourning got his name) on letters and journals passed down through my family. I received a great deal of insight from my sister Martha, who lived in a modern log home, hunted her own land, and was as independent and stubborn as Olivia. I have lived most of my adult life in Israel, working as an agricultural laborer, Hebrew-English translator, English teacher, technical writer, and proposal writer.
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The eBooks of Olivia, Mourning and The Way the World Is include a dedication to my sister, Martha Worden, and acknowledgement of other people who provided support and feedback. Since front and back matter is often “lost” in an eBook and goes unnoticed, I am including them here.
This book had a lot of help from my big sister Martha, who was like no other woman I know. She was extremely social, the “glue” that held family and friends together, and yet chose to spend the last part of her life living in a beautiful but isolated log home. She hunted her own land and was as independent and stubborn as Olivia. She gave to me generously – love, friendship, encouragement, insight, too much fabulous food, and just enough alcohol. I miss her every day.
Special thanks are owed to my friend and “overseer” Jane Abramowitz, who never fails to go the extra mile for her friends. I also received invaluable support and feedback on the books in this series from Tina Foley, Rasana Atreya, Carol Kean, Linda Scharaga, Mark Thomas, Michael Greenberg, Bobbi Dekay, Erik Cross, Yvonne Schumacher Strejcek, Henry Tobias, and Michal Weissman.
Cover photo by Yulia Kazansky
Cover design by Tatiana Villa