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The Magic of Ordinary Days

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,902 Ratings  ·  941 Reviews
Olivia Dunne, a studious minister's daughter who dreams of being an archaeologist, never thought that the drama of World War II would affect her quiet life in Denver. An exhilarating flirtation reshapes her life, though, and she finds herself banished to a rural Colorado outpost, married to a man she hardly knows. Overwhelmed by loneliness, Olivia tentatively tries to esta ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Hilary
Feb 03, 2011 Hilary rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I picked it up after watching and loving the Hallmark movie version of the novel. It's even better than the movie! It's set in 1940's Colorado farming country, and Livvy is forced into an arranged marriage by her strict father when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock. She marries a shy, simple farmer she's never met before her wedding day. This book taught a few lessons that I loved:

1. Love between a husband and wife is not just about physical attraction, butterflies in the st
...more
Heather
Mar 23, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
I loved this. Reading each page was like rolling a chocolate around in my mouth. The words and images were that beautiful. The story was artfully and thoughtfully created and I ended up loving these wonderfully human characters with all their brilliance and flaws. As my friend Laura pointed out, it was so great to see the protagonist's attitude change over the course of the book. I think it was because she was surrounded by uncommonly good and kind people, whose words and actions brought me to t ...more
Linda
I first 'saw' this book as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on TV. I was so impressed with the story that I had to get the book. Olivia Dunne is the oldest of three sisters. She is the only one who is single and she is also pursuing her master's degree in history. Intelligent with goals to better her life, she wants to become an archeologist. At the opening of the story she is taking care of her mother who is ill.

This is a simple story of love-gone-wrong during the early days of WWII. Olivia is a
...more
Jayci
May 14, 2008 Jayci rated it really liked it
The oldest of three sisters, Livvy insisted that her life was meant for exploring the world and making new discoveries. As she watched her sisters marry young soldiers, Livvy was certain she could accomplish more than love. However, all plans were put on hold when Livvy's ailing mother took a turn for the worse. Livvy drops everything to see her mother out of this world. Sturggeling with grief, Livvy makes a decision that will change her life. Now, she finds herself in rural Colorado, married to ...more
Diane
Mar 21, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The author generally writes for juvenile audiences, and I think that shows through a little in this book. I felt there were a few parts that were weaker in terms of the writing; at several points the author gives factual detail about farming or the war that almost reads like a textbook, for example, but these did not dominate the story for me. I found the plot to be engaging, perhaps because the crisis the main character faces is one so many women have faced ...more
☕Laura
Nov 11, 2013 ☕Laura rated it did not like it
I really did not like this book. I found the plot and the writing to be too simplistic, the characters to be too one-dimensional, and the relationships between characters to be poorly developed. The choices made by the characters felt contrived and I did not find myself caring in the least what would become of them. I especially disliked the main character, Livvy, and found her to be self-centered and lazy. You live on a farm during WWII and you complain that you don't have enough to do? Really? ...more
Lauren Fidler
3.5 stars

a word of caution: this review might be the most biased review i ever write on goodreads.

the magic of ordinary days (from here out TMOOD) is a quiet story of learning to love when you've been betrayed badly by those you've trusted, loved, and lost. i knew i was in trouble when the back cover "applause" included the line "gentle but powerful" - any turn of phrase that could easily grace the box of some feminine cleansing product as it does a book jacket probably isn't ideal. know what i'
...more
Abby
Oct 20, 2009 Abby rated it it was ok
I thought this book was okay. But if you like novels, you probably would like it more than I did. (My reader friend who suggested it to me said it was the BEST BOOK EVER!!! But she also loved Twilight and all the other books that I am ho-hum on.)

My problem is, when I am reading a fictional book I keep thinking, "This is so dumb. It didn't even happen. These people are fake. It's not even real. Why am I even reading this?" I just love awesome non-fiction, where the stories are true and you could
...more
Raina
Jan 11, 2011 Raina rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I was a bit disappointed in the ending--not how it ended, just that it was wrapped up a little more quickly than I would have liked.

That said, please don't let the slow beginning turn you off. Trust me on this. Don't give up on it. This book is a love story that kind of sneaks up on you. Contrasts true love with what so many girls think love is and in the end I loved it! It's not an exciting book, but a good book that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

I was really
...more
Dorcas
This is a gentle, thought provoking story of a young pregnant woman who is sent away to marry a farmer before her child is born. Its a story of acceptance, forgiveness, and a slow building love. Life doesn't always turn out the way one envisions but that doesn't mean it cant turn out well. Ray (her arranged husband) is so sweet and tenderhearted that your heart aches for her to accept him. Overall a very good read and I enjoyed it.

CONTENT :

SEX : There is one sex scene (one paragraph) where she t
...more
Melissa
Jul 08, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy
Feb 25, 2009 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookgroup
I enjoyed reading this book. Set in the early 1940's in Colorado. Where a young lady experiences the death of a loved one and her whole life plan changes because of decisions made throughout the few months following. She is able to overcome certain obstacles and be able to trust and love once again.

It's an arranged marriage -- which was interesting enough to read about because anymore the husband and wife to be usually know each other ahead of time, and fall in love. In this story the "couple"
...more
Mary
Nov 18, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Sweet story of learning what love really is, and finding happiness in whatever place life takes us. Sacrificing good dreams for other good dreams. Engaging historical fiction. I do agree with other reviews (Arianne's) -- she ended way too abruptly and could've done a much better job with closure. Several ideas and storyline were left simply undeveloped at the end. But, overall a lovely, simple read.
Kiersten
May 15, 2009 Kiersten rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
This book was very interesting--not as much in the subject matter (although that was quite interesting as well), but in the way it moves. It is...a very soft book. I don't know if that makes any sense. It isn't one that demands to be read, one that you can't put down, but it does keep you coming back. It was a little slow moving, but I think that was a virtue rather than a fault. I really enjoyed it.
Danielle
3.5. I absolutely love that this protagonist is getting her master's degree in history when World War II begins. She gets herself into trouble and her minister father arranges that she move from Denver into the country and marry a farmer. The farm is isolated and lonely. Livvy investigates antiques and artifacts she finds from the homesteading days, still a historian at heart. She's not beautiful, and her new husband isn't handsome. I like all of that.

I also enjoy Livvy's relationship with two s
...more
Kodie
Mar 17, 2008 Kodie rated it it was amazing
Slow beginning, so don't give up on it. This book is a love story that kind of sneaks up on you. Contrasts true love with what so many girls think love is. I loved it! Not a truly exciting book, but good anyway.
Vivienne
Mar 21, 2014 Vivienne rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this book. The magic of love grows through the daily acts of service and devotion, patience and understanding. I truly did not want this book to end. The writing to me was magical, too.
Donna Hatch
Oct 16, 2009 Donna Hatch rated it really liked it
Beautiful story told in a truly beautiful way. A bit slow for my taste, but filled with imagery and symbolism. The romance grew so slowly, I hardly saw it coming but was so glad the way it happened.
Gretchen
Jul 04, 2015 Gretchen rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It follows the story of Livvy, a minister's daughter from Denver who finds herself pregnant out of wedlock. The story takes place during World War II, so an unwed pregnancy was not really acceptable, especially for a minister's daughter. In order to save face, Livvy's father sends her off to the plains of southeastern Colorado to marry a farmer. Feeling banished by her father, Livvy struggles with her new home and husband, especially living in a place where she lives ...more
Tannie
Aug 21, 2014 Tannie rated it really liked it
I loved the writing in this book. It wasn't your typical "romance" type writing, although it is more or less a love story. At the same time, it was so much more. This is a story of a marriage of convenience during WWII. Although the book is based in WWII times, the themes have little to do with war, and more to do with every day life during a war. The story follows Olivia and her husband Ray... will they find happiness and true love in their arranged marriage? In the book the protagonist also be ...more
Rez
I love this one!! The author did a wonderful job of capturing the details of hardships people went through in early 1940's in the midst of WWII. I took an instant liking to the main character, Livvy. She is forced into an arranged marriage by her strict father when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock. Livvy is free minded and educated and she wanted a lot out of her life. I felt for her as she struggled through loneliness and a longing for her life goals that so suddenly were lost. She eventuall ...more
Liz Basich
Jan 06, 2014 Liz Basich rated it really liked it
Usually I read the book before I see the movie; but years ago found it on hallmark and the actors were some of my favorites, so I watched it and fell in love with it. I then found the book and fell in love with it also.

Livy, the oldest of three; the plain sister in her eyes; devotes her time during WWII to getting her education; but after her two sisters get married her mom becomes ill and her father who cannot deal with is never around so it falls on Liv to take care of her mother; until she p
...more
Claire
Sep 02, 2010 Claire rated it it was amazing
Several years ago, this book was made into a Hallmark movie. After I found out that one of my favorite movies was a book, I had to read it.
It is always interesting to find that movies made from a book are totally different. In this case, you can tell that the movie was based on the book but there were a lot of changes made.
The author wrote an introduction to the book, that for me, was very appropriate and informative. I could relate to the main character, Livvy. I felt for her when she suffered
...more
Jeanette
Jun 03, 2009 Jeanette rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, wwii
There is a blurb from author Susan Vreeland on the cover of this book that describes The Magic of Ordinary Days as "highly satisfying." I'd have to say that is exactly how I felt about this book. This novel did something that few of the books I've read recently has done, it lingered with me. For several days after finishing the book I would think about it and pick it back up to read over certain sections or passages again.
At the height of World War II Livvy Dunne is a strong, intelligent and ind
...more
Stacey
Aug 06, 2013 Stacey rated it really liked it
I wish every 20 something year old girl would read this book.
Is the writing fantastic? No.
Does the story wane and move slowly? Yes, in the middle.
DId I love the main character? No.
But despite the difficult parts, I found myself really loving the message of the book. I think that so often girls tend to define love as the burning desire and uncontrollable happiness that emanates when you first "fall in love"; occasionally this can result in mistakes and life changes that we weren't necessarily h
...more
Nolan
Dec 14, 2009 Nolan rated it liked it
This isn't one of those books that will keep you hyperventilating and on the edge of your seat. It's rather a thoughtful, quiet book that deals with love, trust, betrayal, and ultimately sifting through life's numerous distractions to determine what ultimately matters most.

Olivia Dunne is an independent, ambitious young woman who enjoys her life in Denver during World War II. She has dreams--big ones--of ultimately achieving a college education and becoming an archeologist. Since her girlhood, s
...more
Marmar
Oct 31, 2013 Marmar rated it liked it
Interesting read. The premise of the story is believable based on the World WarII time period. Livvy is a lovely young woman who gets caught up with a dashing officer and finds herself pregnant. Her puritanical father makes arrangements with a fellow minister friend to find a husband for Livvy. Thus, Livvy is shipped from Denver to a remote part of Colorado to marry a young farmer.

Feelings guilty, embarassed and ashamed, Livvy is determined to begin a new life and make the most of her new life.
...more
Melissa
Jan 31, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it
I really, really liked this book. I was a bit disappointed in the ending--not in _how_ it ended, just that it was wrapped up a little more quickly than I would have liked.

Favorite quotes:

"I miss all the lively conversations, the sharing of ideas. A classroom of students may read the same piece of poetry or the same passage in a novel, and each person will interpret it differently."

"Perhaps someday, we could all make it back to the places where we started."

"Three months and I wondered, how much
...more
Beth
Oct 29, 2015 Beth rated it it was ok
I read this book immediately after finishing Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and the story suffered by comparison. Both novels are set during the second world war and deal integrally with the Japanese internment camps, but Ford’s novel is the deeper and richer tale.

This story, however, had its own beautiful moments. It’s a sweet story of a young woman learning to trust herself and those around her. The love story weaves gently along, showing the unfolding of the love that c
...more
Shelly
Jan 21, 2011 Shelly rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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“Memories are fragile things to hold, but many times, it's what we have.” 21 likes
“I’ve often wondered, even to this day, why during painful times some people seem to step away from themselves and make decisions that fall far out of their usual line of character and behaviour. Perhaps a natural reluctance to sit still is central, or perhaps, like the lesser animals, instinct forces us to go on even if grief has left us not up to the task…. In one fleeting moment, I stripped away the petals of my future, let them catch wind, and fly away” 15 likes
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