1891... Spinster librarian Olive Wilkins is shocked to learn of her brother's violent death at a saloon gaming table and her sister-in-law's subsequent murder, traveling far from her staid life to rescue her niece and nephew, now orphans. She arrives to find the circumstances of her brother's life deplorable and her long held beliefs of family and tradition, shaken.
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?
©2011 Holly Bush (P)2015 Holly Bush
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"Great Midwestern Tale of Early American Struggles"
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.
"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!
"Cute and Clean Historical Romance"
Once I discovered a love for audiobooks thanks to How It Went Down, I went on a mission for sites that give away audiobooks for review. One of my biggest surprises was that some Goodreads groups do this! I know some groups giveaway eBooks to review, and in some cases paper copies, but audiobooks? Who knew! Suffice to say I snatched Romancing Olive up as quickly as possible. I need to catch up with my 2015 Historical Romance reading goal, and this is the perfect way to get me out of my historical romance slump!
Even though I was excited about starting this book, once I officially began Romancing Olive I expected to not enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea of just one voice narrating the entire book. You have to realize I started my audio journey with a book that seemed to have a voice for each character. I was pretty disappointed to discover a woman would be narrating the guy voices. As the novel progressed, however, I grew to enjoy her narrating style. She was far from robotic and seemed to really get into the novel. I laughed along with her and even teared up in certain parts! Lee Ann turned out to be a great asset to Romancing Olive and I can’t wait to listen to more books narrated by her. 😀
Not only was I leery of the new narration style, I wasn’t a huge fan of Olive in the early chapters and didn’t know if I were going to be able to finish this one.
When Olive arrives in Spencer, Ohio it is a far cry from her life in Philadelphia. It’s small and run down, and not in the least concerned about the kind of propriety that is pretty much the focal point of life in the city. She comes off a bit snooty and judgmental at the beginning – and the worst kind of know-it-all without any life experience. I was about ready to throw in the towel until Olive finally realizes how wrong she had been about her younger brother all those years. I started to see Olive in a new light when her world is rocked on its axis, but instead of giving into hysterics she straightens her shoulders and moves on with her life, determined to give her new charges a better home filled with all the love and guidance they never knew with her gambling-addicted brother and his prostitute wife. I realized how strong Olive is and so did the other characters in Romancing Olive!
I grew to love all the main characters; Olive and her two new charges, Mary and John, Jacob the stubborn but loyal widower whom took them in and buried their parents, and Jacob’s three children. Each and every character had their own flaws but showed substantial growth by the end of the novel. I had times of irritation with all of them but couldn’t help but grow fond of them all as the book progressed.
I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the slow progressing romance in Romancing Olive. I don’t usually find myself reading slow-paced romances these days and got a kick out of the different speed of this book. I also liked that the heroine in this book is older than the usual romance heroine. She’s referred to as an “aging spinster” a few times which irked me, but seeing as in the time period 35 was older than it is now, I let it go.
Historical fiction fans of every genre should give this story a try – I believe it could appeal to anybody who enjoys a historical novel every once in a while, romance fan or not, since it’s pretty clean when it comes to romance. I enjoyed Romancing Olive so much, I raced to beg another audiobook romance from the author. I can’t wait to dive in!
This was a great read.Olive lives the life of a spinster at home.When she goes to retrieve her brothers children,she learns of a whole other world.Though I found some of the narration somewhat halting,Lee Ann Howlett did a good job with voices.I was gifted this copy for an honest review.
I received this audiobook for an honest review. I must say I did enjoy this book very much. I didn't want to stop listening.
"another good romance from Holly"
I recieved this audiobook as a gift in return for an unbiased review . This is a charming romantic story set in Ohio in 1891, so it has that old western feel to it throughout.I likes the characters and the calm pace of the story,dispite several disturbing happenings (Olive's plights are anything but calm.) Holly's writing has you rooting for the "good Guys" and hoping they will choose the right options.Tha narration was by Lee Ann Howlett, she has a very plesant voice to listen to , and the slight gruffness of her voice suits the book well.I did have some issues with some of her narration, when the characters where speaking it was fine , but several partsin between I found it a little bit flat and without suitable emotion , as if just "reading" the book. this wasn't bad enough to ruin the audiobook , but I just found it a little anoying in parts.
"Great, Mostly Innocent Historical Romance - Enjoy!"
Once in a while it is refreshing to listen to a romance story that is innocent & good without all the other influences found that a lot of the current romances.
This is one of them.
Olive go southwest (this is a historical romance) to retrieve her brother's children after he and his wife have died. She is a spinster with no intentions of romance or love.
When she gets to town she is told that Jacob has been caring for them, along with his own children, since the grizzly circumstances surrounding Olive's brother and sister-in-law's death. When she goes to get the children, she finds them in the care of a very handsome and much younger man.
As they discuss things, they agreed that it is best for her to stay at his home with all the children until the legal matters have been settled and she can take her brother's children back to Philadelphia. For propriety sake Jacob and the boys move to the barn to sleep.
While all of them appreciate what and others roles in their makeshift, temporary family, there is not an inkling of romance for either of them.
However, when the sheriff begins to show interest in Olive, Jacob has strange, protective feelings toward her. When Jacob's mother brings along a proper age, beautiful but shy woman - a woman that she has decided would be a great wife for Jacob- Olive discovers her protectiveness of Jacob. Is there more?
As I opened with, this is a really nice story that needs nothing else added to it. If you're looking for something with graphic descriptions of lovemaking, violence or the like, this is probably not what you want to listen to.
I enjoy the steamy romance books with all of the contemporary themes and details that I mentioned in my previous paragraph. But this one end, and another written by Holly Bush, are most enjoyable whether you are searching for a nice romance or just would like a break or change of pace from the current trend. I highly recommend this book.
Lee Ann Howlett is narrator. Her performance is very believable and keeps the reader/listener engaged. I marvel at her ability to vocalize each character, whether male or female, young or old. This is a great performance.
If this were a movie, I would give it a rating of PG. It is very tame, innocent and suitable for most ages.
I was given Train Station Bride to review, by the same author and narrator. I added the only other book available (this one) to my Wish List and purchased it shortly after. I will continue to look for this author's books.
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This being the second book I listened to from this narrator, I will say she has improved quite a bit. However, this story wasn't as interesting as the other. I don't think it was my cup of tea, but it was a nice way to spend a night.
"Did not enjoy book!"
Did not enjoy book. Language was offensive, to me. I love old fashioned Prairie stories.
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