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The Magic of Ordinary Days

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  7,129 ratings  ·  1,205 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 ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,129 ratings  ·  1,205 reviews

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Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those that like sweet historical romances
Recommended to Jaidee by: random personal pick
3 "whimsical, delicate but sometimes (often even) off the mark" stars !!

2016 Most Disappointing Read (Tie)

Ms. Creel had a 5 star book here had she taken more time and care with this gentle historical drama romance.

This book takes place in Colorado in the 1940s. It is about an intelligent young woman who gets herself pregnant and then is sent to marry with a socially awkward but loving farmer who is willing to raise the child as his own. She befriends two Japanese sisters that work on her
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Happiness may be found in unexpected places and with unexpected people.
enjoyable warm novel, its events going on during the world war2
story of forgiveness, trust, love and starting over
ordinary days could be magic if you were with someone who really cares
Feb 03, 2011 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
Oct 08, 2008 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 ...more
Re-read 2019
Audiobook narrated by Justine Eyre 7hs 43 minutes 19 seconds

Originally I read this book many years ago after watching the 2005 Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie. Over the last few days I decided to take a second look and realized that I loved the main characters of Livy and Ray because of the way they were portrayed by Felicity Russell and Skeet Ulrich in the film. Livy in her book format is harder to love as she spends much of the book stuck in the past. Ray, though is a
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
Nov 29, 2012 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
“Sometimes you do find what you're looking for closer than you think”
― Ann Howard Creel, The Magic of Ordinary Days

This was a beautiful exploration of love and self. I read this because I had previously seen the movie which was outstanding. It's rare when a movie does a book justice but this one did. And I read the book AFTER seeing the Hallmark film.

I liked the character of Olivia. It was wonderful to watch her emotional growth throughout the book. The relationship between the two main
Larada Horner-Miller
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the setting because it is very close to where I grew up. She is a great story weaver!
Avid Booker
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was ok

For one, I HATED the heroine. She was ungrateful, and treated the hero badly when all he wanted to do was help her and love her. She planned to leave after practically mooching off his money, food, and home for like 8months.

The hero was perfect. Like literally. He said such sweet things.

There were moments of too much history. His
May 12, 2008 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
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.


SEX : There is one sex scene (one paragraph) where she
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
I wanted to read this book after learning about the movie starring Skeet Ulrich and Keri Russell. Recently my library purchased the movie, and I decided to move the book up my TBR.

This book tells the story of Livvy, a young woman who gets in trouble with a soldier and has to enter a marriage of convenience with a young farmer. Ray is very shy and set in his ways, and Livvy feels stifled by the isolated community. She befriends two sisters from a nearby Japanese internment camp, and their
Not overly impressed with this one. Too light on the magic, too heavy on the ordinary.
Sep 23, 2009 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
Jan 11, 2011 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
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub
I watched the Hallmark movie with Keri Russell and Skeet Ulrich first and absolutely loved the story, so I was eager to read the book that the movie was based off. Aren't books always better than the movies? In this case, no, for while it is a strong book I actually preferred the movie.

Livy, a young woman living in Denver, unexpectedly becomes pregnant when she has an out of character fling with a WWII soldier, for she has been bereft and lonely since her mother's death. Her pastor father is
Mar 21, 2011 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
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I absolutely loved the idea of a female protagonist who is getting her master's degree during 1940s. But everything else about this fell flat.

I am someone who loves "ordinary days" and believes that there is nearly always magic in them if one chooses to look for it. Sadly, this book didn't show how the magic of the ordinary days can be found. Olivia and her husband have zero emotional connection almost till the end of the book. The worst disappointment is, the reader does not get the
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
Kasey Hebert
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A tantalizing read. I had a hard time putting it down, because I had no idea where the story was going or what the main character was going to do. A wonderful period piece that brought up topics of racial discrimination, gender roles, WWII, and what it truly means to be happy.

"And we couldn't have flowers around again, although at the time of her death, the gladiolas were up, their tall stalks stabbing the sky and their blooms open, silently screaming." pg. 31

"Every day now, I wore maternity
Mar 21, 2014 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. Now, about 4 years later I revisited this good book. I listened to it this time. I enjoyed it, but the narrator, Justine Eyre, wasn't my favorite. I enjoyed reading this book over listening to it.
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Eh. This book was okay. I was disappointed because I thought the Japanese internment camp would be more prominently featured, but the main focus was on the protagonist's love life. My fault for not reading between the lines of the back cover copy.
Hannah Joy  S.
Link to my review on my blog:

Audrey K.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Howard Creel has crafted a uniquely-written, touching story of WWII Colorado war bride Olivia Dunne. I enjoyed the story of Olivia's personal changes and growth, as she experiences married life and re-defines what is most important to her.
L.E. 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
Jan 19, 2009 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
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 12, 2012 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
Feb 25, 2009 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"
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movie version 6 83 Nov 23, 2012 01:18AM  

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Ann Howard Creel writes guaranteed heart-wrenching historical fiction. In her novels, strong female characters face unforeseen obstacles and then have to make life-changing decisions.

In her new novel, MERCY ROAD, a Kentucky horsewoman who has lost everything joins an all-female team of doctors and nurses as an ambulance driver on the front lines during WW I in France.

Besides writing, Ann's other
“Memories are fragile things to hold, but many times, it's what we have.” 22 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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