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Olivia, Mourning

(The Olivia Series #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,650 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Historical Fiction (USA 1840s)
Available on Amazon in eBook and paperback.
Newly orphaned and 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 of farmland in far off Michigan. Her father’s will bequeathed the land to whichever of his offspring would put in a crop
Kindle Edition, 1, 393 pages
Published November 27th 2013 by Yael Politis
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,650 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well! I really want to shake someone - hard! Despite the fact that the author is obviously talented and her research of the era was seamlessly incorporated into an interesting story, I am left unsatisfied by this book on a number of levels. The first half was a beautifully written character study of a strong minded young white girl who wanted to take control of her life, and the young black man who helped her to achieve her goals. I thought both themes of gender and racial equality in that perio ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
It really makes me MAD that I have to buy book two to find out how book one SHOULD have ended. I don't think I've ever been so frustrated at the end of a book. Cheap shot, Yael Politis. I will not buy any more of your books.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most gripping, impossible-to-put-down books I’ve read this year.

The story begins in Pennsylvania, in the January of 1841, with the death of the eponymous main character’s father, making Olivia and her two brothers orphans. But don’t be fooled by the story’s title: this is not the tale of a mourning daughter. Mourning is the name of the second main character of the story: Mourning Free, the son of black slaves, a boy who has spent his life as the only ‘coloured’ person in town
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a richly imagined book. I loved it. It was a pleasure that never subsided. I always wanted to know, as E. M. Forster wrote, what would come next. The tension is established in the early pages of the book. In the early half of the nineteenth century, the young white woman Olivia decides to set out west with a black companion to settle land and thus claim it and have property of her own and not be dependent on others. She's terrifically drawn: an independent, and marvelously (and foolishly ...more
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Diane
It has been a long time since I have added a book to my " 5 star favorites " shelf , but this one so deserves a spot there ! I may have to re-name it the " Yael Politis " shelf ;-)

It is a well researched , beautifully written story . I was drawn in from the start ,and could not put this one down ....I just had to find out what happened next to Olivia and Mourning .

Although not everything that " happened next " was pleasant , I admired Olivia's ability to put one foot in front of the other ,
Kami Tilby
Jan 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Disappointing. This book had great potential but felt so unrealistic and jerky. Characters were flat and predictable. This read more like a poorly written paperback romance than a well thought out historical novel. Add in a sudden and unresolved ending leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I can't recommend it on any count. Probably the last time I'll read a free book from Amazon.
Uvi Poznansky
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Played out against an explosive backdrop of slavery, racism, women's right, and the struggle for freedom, here is an unconventional title with a cleverly thought-out dual meaning. It suggests grief, but goes beyond that to offer an unusual pairing between two fascinating characters: Olivia Killion, a white teenage girl determined to run her father’s farm but cannot make it a success on her own, and Mourning Free, a black orphan who knows how to fix a wagon wheel, raise a barn, put on a roof, cle ...more
Yael Politis
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I would like to share the wonderful review that Olivia, Mourning received in the January 2014 issue of Midwest Book Review:

"Olivia, Mourning, Book 1 of the 'Olivia' series, is historical fiction at its best ...

Olivia, Mourning is about the changing complexities of human relationships and politics as much as it is about one determined young girl's desire to make her own place in the world, outside of boundaries and conventions. It's also a story of trauma and how even the closest-held relationsh
Priscilla Kimboko
Very quick paced story set in small town in PA then in rural Michigan. Olivia has lost her father and seeks to gain an inheritance of her so that she doesn't have to be dependent on her older brother or feel pressed to accede to others expectations that she must marry. She secretly decides to claim the farm in Michigan left by an uncle. She knows she will need help,to survive in this rural setting as she has never farmed at all and has led a very sheltered and privileged life. She persuades the ...more
Olivia, Mourning is a phenomenal book - storytelling at its best! This historical fiction, with a wealth of information, is an emotional read with drama and overwhelming challenges throughout. The storyline never lost momentum and my interest never waned. The descriptive writing was beautiful with vivid details on the living conditions, but simple and flowing - easy to read.

Olivia was determined to inherit the 80 acres in Michigan, left by her Uncle Scruggs - a place called Fae's Landing. She h
Jada Ryker
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Historical Novel

Olivia, Mourning, Book 1 of the Olivia Series, by Yael Politis, is the story of Olivia Killion. She took care of her invalid father for two years. After his death, Olivia decides to fulfill her father's will, which states land may be claimed by his offspring, through working land in Michigan. Her friend Mourning Free goes with her to help her.

The two young people face seemingly insurmountable challenges. It's 1841. Olivia is only 17 and female, in a harsh, male-dominat
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
5 1/2 stars!!!

Did I enjoy this book: I loved it.

Go ahead and write down this author’s name now because she’s going to be one of your favorite writers as soon as you read this book. Politis has that rare ability to completely suck you into the story and forget everything that’s going on around you.

I would close the book and it would take my brain a fraction of a second to remember that I’m not on a farm in Michigan with these characters. I’m just sitting in my family room. And how long has it bee
Christoph Fischer
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Olivia, Mourning" by Yael Politis is a remarkably well researched piece of historical fiction that takes us into minute details of life in 1841.
Whether it is the prize of items, details of farm life, clothing or machinery, laws and attitudes, the writing has an outstandingly authentic feel to it and the setting is easy to imagine rather vividly thanks to the detailed and amazing descriptions.
Olivia is a great character to follow, her resolve, her point of view and her hopes inspired me and mad
Larry Fogel
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“Olivia, Mourning”, the first book of the “Olivia” series, gripped me from the very first page. The author brilliantly takes us back to a time and place that many have dreamed about, living in the old American mid-west in the 1840’s, exemplifying what feels to be an accurate portrait of the life and hardships in those pioneering days. I can’t tell you who my favorite character was – that would give away too much! But all the characters were full of life. I had no problem with the cliffhanger end ...more
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book! The characters are well developed and I wanted to know about them! I liked the idea of the author developing both of these in the way that they did Olivia a strong and independent woman at a time when it was difficult for a woman to do so. Mourning faced a difficult life too for who he was. I looked forward to the relationship developing between the two. I felt for this young woman who faced a difficult time in life but found the strength when life was hard for her. I rea ...more
Kathy Sargent
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
so when I finished this book I realized it was book 1in a series. . . so I felt like I had to read all of the 3 books before I could really say how much I really liked them! The writing was riviting and the story line is super interesting to me. All of the books kept my attention to a point of staying up way to late reading. It is so nice to read about people helping people no matter what the cost socially!! There is heartbreak happiness devistation and success in all three books and by the time ...more
Zoe Schoppa
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Well written, moving, on my list of top books I've read in life

The subjects chosen for this book were not easy. The author tackled women's rights, race relations, slavery, bigotry, prostitution, bi-racial relationships, unmarried pregnant women, abortion, and more. The book was written honestly and well. I am going to download book two right now and look forward to devouring it like I did this book.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
This is a horrible book. I never would have read it if I realized there was a rape described in graphic detail. The book ends without a resolution to any of the issues so to find out what happens you need to read the second book in the series. I would not recommend this book to anyone!

Gotten free on Amazon!
Henry Tobias
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Olivia, Mourning is a well written book with a unique style. The story will keep you reading. I read continuously for many hours. I had to know what was going to happen to the heroine. Although fiction, it has much fascinating historical content. A surprising ending. Damned good read, highly recommended.
Henry Tobias (author and editor)
Pamela B. Sweet
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Love historical fiction.

This is a story for women readers. I can't see an ordinary man enjoying it. But I loved the story, the writing, the environment, every thing about it.
Charles Ray
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
When young Olivia’s father died, he left 80 acres of land in Michigan to any of his children willing to cultivate it. Olivia decides that she wants that land, but she has a problem; she’s only 17, she’s female, and it’s 1840, a time when women are expected to concern themselves with finding a proper husband and raising his children. Not to be denied her dream, she convinces Mourning Free, the son of runaway slaves who does odd jobs for the people in her small town, and who she has known since th ...more
Andria Potter
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Adventurous and Emotional

Olivia, Mourning is a fine historical novel, though halfway through the book it went a direction that I definitely wasn't prepared for. With vivid descriptive scenes of living in the wilderness, and characters that seems so real they're sitting in front of you, this is one of my favorite books that I have read this year.

Olivia leaves her oppressive town after her father dies, to claim a farm of 80 acres in Michigan, with a free man named Mourning Free. Together, the two
Jeanette Longford
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning book.

Gael Politis, portrayal of life & attitudes in 1830s America. In this amazing tale. Bares recommending. As an imaginative brilliant story. Enriched by the glaringly obvious paternalistic; sexism and racism of its time. The research for life on the trail, in the wild West is to my mind faultless. I so enjoyed reading this book, it's left me wanting to dare you not to. Have a read see what you think.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this historical novel set in early 19th century western Pennsylvania and west of Detroit, MI. The details seemed well researched. But the author invested some characters with 21st century political correctness that felt anachronistic. There was also a depraved rape storyline that did not seem credible to me, given the characters involved. Nevertheless, I will read the sequel to find out what happens after a very abrupt ending.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book hit on about every emotion I have. I found myself lost in the story. The main character sees only the good in people and learns some really hard lessons along the way. She tries to show unconditional love to her black friend in an era where some white people could be so cruel. The story is thought provoking, heartbreaking, and inspirational. Olivia shows so much strength, it's almost unfathomable. This one book could stand alone, but you will want to know more. 5 stars! I am very much ...more
Quentin Fury
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yearning, constantly yearning, and hoping

Historical Fiction which tugs at your heartstrings! There is such amazing description, and for an outdoors woman, it was like living in the characters' skins!
The only thing was, well, being left wanting; it would have been better, (to this reader), had the first chapter of book two been the last chapter of book one.
Just a stickler for"stand-alones." Thus only four stars. Yael, you truly pull us thoroughly in!
Sherry Hepner
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Olivia and Mornings strugles

I really loved this book. A very good story of life in the Midwest and the struggle of interracial love. The only problem I had with this book is that it wasn't long enough. I would love to read the whole series but with my budget I can't afford them so that means a trip to the library which is great. You are a wonderful author and you can bet I will be reading all of your books. God bless you.
Sherry from California.
Carolyn Ten Broeck
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story

Yael Politis is a gifted storyteller. Once I started this book, I did not want to put it down. I even took it to work with me and read a few pages every chance I got. Finished it in a 24 hour period that included sleep AND a 10 hour work day.
Olivia’s naïveté is often frustrating but at the same time, realistic. You’ll find yourself cheering for her as she discovers who she is and how she will have to face the consequences of her choices.
Donna Nova
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Could not put it down.

I have been stuck in my bed, no tv no internet, just a few free Kindle books to read. I'm tired of every genre I've usually coveted. For some reason I chose this title and could not be happier. I can't wait to get well to rush somewhere with internet to see what happens next. Great story!
Jul 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Read 58% of the book without foul language or sexual situations, then when you are hooked on the pioneer storyline, an apparent sexual situation is about to take place. Won't finish the book, very disappointed.
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Around the Year i...: Olivia, Mourning, by Yael Politis 1 11 Mar 08, 2016 11:26AM  
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I grew up in Michigan, but have lived all my adult life in Israel where I have worked as a dishwasher, secretary, librarian, office manager, agricultural laborer, management systems analyst, English teacher, Hebrew-English translator, technical writer, marketing writer, and proposal writer.

I have just completed two new historical novels: Olivia, Mourning and The Way the World Is (Books 1 and 2 of

Other books in the series

The Olivia Series (4 books)
  • The Way the World Is (The Olivia Series, #2)
  • Whatever Happened to Mourning Free? (The Olivia Series, #3)
  • The Summer of 1848 (The Olivia Series, #4)
“Olivia stared at a knot in the wooden tabletop, trying to convince herself that a child like the one inside her was better off not being born. But she couldn’t hold with that. People don’t give up their own lives, she thought, no matter how bad they are. They hang on, hoping for better, even when they know darn well there’s not much chance of better coming to call. Look at Mourning, born without any parents. Do I think it would be better if he’d never come into the world?” 1 likes
“ladies will come get him ready for laying out. I’ll just make him presentable. Why don’t you go cover the mirrors?” By the time Mrs.” 0 likes
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