Starting off in the 19th century the author gives a good picture of the time, landscape and characters.
Although the start didn’t really give anything away to what the novel was going to be about, I continued to read as the story goes very in-depth about Olivia’s life before it changes forever.
Leading a somewhat sheltered life, she has had to live most of her life caring for her begrudging father. When he dies and nothing of worth is left to Olivia, she goes searching for her own fortune.
The story truly begins with Olivia’s journey to claim a so-called useless piece of land that her father owned and no one wants. Having no experience and travelling by herself she partners up with Mourning, a black man, which of course in those days causes all sorts of problems. Humorous in parts, the author goes into great details about the surrounds and what it was like in those days.
Travelling to Detroit puts Olivia in some precarious situations, the entire situation alien to her, she has to learn everything from scratch, and how hard real life is.
It was a bit difficult to get immersed into the plot as there is a lot of talking about farming life, and the work she needs to learn. Although much detail goes into explaining the era, it is all a bit tedious, as some details are probably not necessary.
I can quickly start to relate to the characters, getting to know their quirks. They are humorous to read about and do lighten up the novel.
A terrible event takes place that is completely unexpected. The mundane country life takes a sinister turn, completely changing Olivia, and taking me off guard.
Although that terrible event that occurred Olivia still had to keep going, keeping this terrible secret without the support she desperately needed.
Through this, I saw a major change in Olivia, from a naïve young girl, to a strong, courageous woman. Repaying one cruelty with another, her secrets at times becoming unbearable, she leaves it all behind to once again travel back to her homeland.
I do think the novel should have been considerably shorter, it did drag which caused me to lose focus throughout the tumultuous tale.
The story doesn’t end for Olivia, as book two continues the tale.
2 ½ stars