Read Romancing Olive by Holly Bush Online


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. A1891 . . . 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?...

Title : Romancing Olive
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780692274538
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 346 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Romancing Olive Reviews

  • Jenn
    2019-06-02 07:37

    A western tale where a well-to-do spinster comes to collect her dead brother's children, only to find them living with the neighbor instead of their deceased mother's family. She came under the impression that they had lived well only to discover the farce she had been told for years. She feels guilty, angry and sadden by all that she learned. She decides that she will be the one to give the children a happy life. Though, she will have to stay put on the farm they are living at if she has hopes to pry them away. They don't know her and they don't trust easily, or at least Mary doesn't.Jacob is a father of three, a widow, a farmer, and 25 years of age. Which is ten years younger than Olive. He doesn't believe he has room in his life or heart to ever love again.Olive showing up in his life throws a big wrench into his and his children's daily living. He is stubborn, has his pride, and he doesn't take handouts.These two will have to learn to work together, do what's best for all five children, and see where things lead when they finally let their guard down.I really liked Olive. She was loving, but she was also strict and stuck to her guns but at the same time, she had patience. I loved Peg and Luke the most, out of the kids. I also liked Flo and Beth, Olive's new found friends. Jacob- I liked him and I got how he felt but I liked that he could own up to his mistakes and be thoughtful when he wanted to- though sometimes his thoughts needed to smack him upside the head.

  • Laura (Kyahgirl)
    2019-06-17 04:15

    4/5; 4 stars; A-Holly Bush is a new to me author. I read about this book on the blog of my GR friend Jenny Q. Since I like westerns with a romance angle, this was right up my alley. I really appreciated how the author gave some insight into how incredibly hard the pioneering farmers had it. Just getting by was pretty much endless toil with moments of rest and relaxation coming few and far between. In an understated fashion, I thought Ms. Bush painted a vivid and believable picture of rural life in the late 1800s.I liked many aspects of this story; the blossoming of a 'dried up old spinster' is always a treat and the saving of some abused and abandoned children warms the heart. The best part for me was seeing how people can change the the way they think about themselves and the context of their lives and find meaning and happiness when they had pretty much just settled into putting one foot in front of the other and trudging through life.

  • Celestine
    2019-06-17 03:17

    Enjoyable low key story about the spinster aunt come to collect her orphaned niece and nephew from the handsome widower neighbor. Some tension is added with potential interest from the local sheriff and an abusive family member. Olive is 10-11 years older than Jacob and this age difference is a factor in their stuttering romance. The children in the story are wonderful and overcome tragedy admirably. Fans of Pamela Morsi will enjoy this book, although this book is less sensual, but not without temptation.Book source: Purchased.

  • Sarah (A Weebish Book Blog)
    2019-05-22 05:31

    THE DOWN LOW 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! THE NARRATION 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. :D THE STORY 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!You made it to the end! If you enjoyed my review, please consider giving it a thumbs up on Amazon *HERE* Thank you for all that you do! ❤This review was originally posted on One Curvy Blogger

  • Debbie
    2019-05-29 04:10

    Cute and sweet. Olive's character changes too much for me. In the beginning she comes across as competent, smart and able. As the book progresses, I lost interest in her - she becomes too "Mary Sue". Events occurred too quickly or are too implausible, In about 2 days time, she cleans, cooks, drives a wagon, shops (and throws money around), mothers, sews clothes for 4 children - need I go on? Later, she plans a house, contracts it and has it finished in no time - sounds like the late 20th century to me - not the 19th. The book is ok - 2 stars.=====Just needed to add that the book needs an editor - misspelled words, words not written correctly, and breaks in words from formatting).

  • namericanwordcat
    2019-06-08 11:17

    Romancing Olive Review In 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? Review This is a well crafted, lovely romance that I stayed up late to finish. The themes here are not new (spinster aunt comes West to care for dead sibling's children and meets not ready to move on widower). As it is a character driven book, I wasn't holding my breath to see what crazy thing the plot would do next. I simply really enjoyed being with Olive and Jacob and the childern and so I didn't want to leave them. While much of the plot is like sitting in a well worn rocking chair and running your hands soothingly over the thumb shined wood, the characters all have extra notes of flavor in them that make this book one that I will reread again to savor their growth and just who they are. I won't tell you what the spices are because that will be your joy to find while reading this book.  The love story is real and sensual. This is especially impressive for a book that has a handful of kisses and lightly drawn wedding night at the end of the book. Olive is a religious woman and at appropriate moments this aspect of her character comes into her thoughts. The hero is a wonderful father. In my opinion, the villain wasn't really needed because he and some of the backstory he is connected to could have been explored a bit more to give the book another layer of richness. However, with his role in the book, there is a nice bit of action and bravery at the end of the book that is moving. I highly recommend this book and I am thrilled to have found this writer. I am always on the look out for a new good historical romance writer and I found one!

  • namericanwordcat
    2019-05-27 04:14

    This is a well crafted, lovely romance that I stayed up late to finish. The themes here are not new (spinster aunt comes West to care for dead sibling's children and meets not ready to move on widower). As it is a character driven book, I wasn't holding my breath to see what crazy thing the plot would do next. I simply really enjoyed being with Olive and Jacob and the childern and so I didn't want to leave them. While much of the plot is like sitting in a well worn rocking chair and running your hands soothingly over the thumb shined wood, the characters all have extra notes of flavor in them that make this book one that I will reread again to savor their growth and just who they are. I won't tell you what the spices are because that will be your joy to find while reading this book. The love story is real and sensual. This is especially impressive for a book that has a handful of kisses and lightly drawn wedding night at the end of the book. Olive is a religious woman and at appropriate moments this aspect of her character comes into her thoughts. The hero is a wonderful father. In my opinion, the villain wasn't really needed because he and some of the backstory he is connected to could have been explored a bit more to give the book another layer of richness. However, with his role in the book, there is a nice bit of action and bravery at the end of the book that is moving. I highly recommend this book and I am thrilled to have found this writer. I am always on the look out for a new good historical romance writer and I found one!

  • Books Mom
    2019-06-12 10:29

    I wasn’t certain that I would like this story when it began, but within a couple of lines, I was hooked. It was in 1890 and I was really curious to see what would happen to this prim, proper and straitlaced thirty-something spinster calming walking into a sheriff’s office in a small farming town in Ohio. Having been informed that her niece and nephew had been orphaned, she had come to find them and return to Philadelphia with them. The sheriff offered to take her to where they were staying and she climbed into his wagon and left for an adventure of a lifetime.Things were not what she was used to, and it all came as a shock to her. However, she was determined to manage somehow. Being unable to take the children back right away, and being accustomed to having a maid and cook, it was fun watching as she attempted to adapt to the workload on a farm. She was a strong willed and determined woman, and began to learn the ins and outs of this rough life. I really enjoyed reading about how she managed the house, the children, and of course the handsome young rancher. This really isn’t a typical romance. It has a lot more to it than that. I was fascinated watching the people change, not just her, but the children, the rancher, and the people she encountered. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a really good story about the early west. I liked it very much.

  • Keri
    2019-05-27 09:28

    4.5 Stars. Fans of Pamela Morsi's older historicals might like this one. I won't go into detail as Emma and a some of my other friends already have good reviews posted. I will say that I really liked Olive and Jacob as a couple. Very heartwarming story and if you are looking for a book for your mother or grandmother without descriptive smexy times this one fits the bill. There is one scene at the end of the book and it isn't very detailed, the rest is just kissing.

  • Marilyn
    2019-06-04 04:34

    This book refreshed my mind.......A wonderful easy reading love story, with a good strong cast of characters, Olive being a strong heroine. I will read more by this author in the future, looking into The Crawford Family Series. Actually I would love to see a sequel and read more about Olive and Jacob's live after Romancing Olive.

  • Jenny Q
    2019-05-29 10:26

    Many of my reading buddies have discovered Holly Bush and have raved about her novels, and after reading Romancing Olive, I'm hopping on that bandwagon too! I really enjoyed this story of a Philadelphia society spinster uprooting herself and discovering a whole new world in rural Ohio, and discovering that it's never too late in life to reinvent oneself or to find true love. Olive Wilkins arrives in Ohio after being notified of the death of her younger brother and his wife, determined to become a mother to his orphaned children, John and Mary. When she arrives she finds them in the care of her brother's neighbor, a ruggedly handsome widowed farmer struggling to feed and care for five children. Olive's preconceived notions are forced out the window in the face of the stark reality that greets her, and she gives in to Jacob's request that she stay for a while and get to know the children before she takes them back east. As Olive tries to adapt to country life and Jacob tries to adapt to the presence of a woman again, their polite coexistence gradually gives way into something more, but both Olive and Jacob have their reasons for holding back. As the time for Olive to return to Philadelphia draws near, Olive must decide if she will settle for a safe and comfortable life on her own or if she has the courage to reach for the happiness she's only recently discovered she deserves. But before she can make that choice, a man with a grudge may destroy everything she's worked so hard for . . .Having struck out on the last few historical romances I read, Romancing Olive was a pleasant surprise! Olive and Jacob were both a little over-dramatic for my taste in the beginning, but the characters soon settled in and I was on my way. Olive has a great character arc; it was a treat to watch her character unfold and bloom as she settled into life on a farm and learned to savor the joy in conquering fears and becoming self-sufficient . . . and in learning what it means to love a man. I thought this story had a few things going for it that help it stand out from the crowd. This is a good meaty romance, by which I mean that our characters face some real problems on their way to happily ever after. I've only read a handful of romances where the heroine is significantly older than the hero, and I thought it was handled very realistically in this one. Jacob wrestles with his guilt over having feelings for Olive while still grieving for his wife, and Olive struggles with the fear of always being second in his heart. Then there are heartbreaking moments as Olive tries to nurture and heal her brother's traumatized children. Add to that the special needs of one of Jacob's children, the hardships of living off the land, and a disgruntled in-law bent on removing John and Mary from Olive's custody and you've got a recipe for an angst-filled, intense romantic story. And the time period really comes to life in Ms. Bush's capable hands.Romancing Olive turned out to be a pretty emotional read for me. It runs the whole range from highs to lows and laughs to tears. I shed a few myself during some really poignant moments in the story, and I was on the edge of my seat, heart pounding, as the story raced toward its dramatic and terrifying climax. For my friends who are bothered by errors in books, be advised there are a few in this one. But nothing major--some punctuation and a few homonyms--not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story. In fact, I am looking forward to starting Ms. Bush's newest novel, Reconstructing Jackson, later today. She can write a good story, and she's on her way to a successful career if she keeps writing emotional, evocative romances like this one!

  • Book Binge
    2019-06-01 08:15

    Olive Wilkins heads to Ohio to pick up her niece and nephew when she finds out that her brother and his wife have been killed. She is a spinster from Philadelphia and expects to pick them up and take them home in the blink of an eye. When she arrives at the homestead of the man who took them in after their parents were killed she finds a mouthy and obstinate 10 year old girl, Mary and her brother John who is younger and hasn’t spoken a word since he witnessed his mothers murder. Olive is shocked to learn the circumstances of her brother’s life and sooner rather than later resigns herself to the fact that she will have to stay in Spencer and get to know her relations before they’ll be willing to leave with her.Jacob Butler who has been caring for the children is a widower and has 3 children of his own. He is trying to do the best he can at taking care of them and his crops but it’s very difficult. He’s none to pleased to have a pruny looking spinster invade his house but feels that he must be kind and offers her a place to stay.Olive takes over the running of the house, the taking care of the children and giving the kids lessons. Jacob has a problem at first when Olive buys food and material for clothing for his kids but eventually gives in. After three months of living with Jacob, coming to know and soon love him Olive decides to stay in Spencer permanently. She becomes a much different person than she was when she arrived and has seen a different part of the world and her life than she thought even existed. She has a house built for her and her small family but will Jacob let her go once he finds out how much he misses her?This was an interesting story. It has Olive, age 35, who is a confirmed spinster, finding out that there’s much more to life than sitting on a porch and letting life pass her by. The experiences that she has while at Jacob’s homestead are both hard and rewarding and actually end up making her a “younger” person. Jacob, age 25, truly starts to see a lighter side of Olive and their attraction grows. There are kisses in the story but really no sex until the end (and then it’s fade to black) so the story doesn’t rely on sex to get through the emotional barriers that the couple puts up. But I thought that really added to the overall effect of the romance in the end.Olive got to realize that she could be someone who was deserving of love and Jacob figured out, eventually, that he could love another woman besides his deceased wife and still keep living. Happiness was something he believed died with his wife and it was a revelation to see him come to terms with his feelings for Olive.I really liked the story as it had a true to life romance – not overblown or unrealistic. I loved Jacob and Olive getting to know each other and learning to be friends before they became anything else. There’s also some drama in the story and that added a bit as well. There is a slight bit of a Christian undercurrent but not so suggestive that it pulls away from the story.Overall a very good read.This review was originally posted on Book Binge by Tracy.

  • Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
    2019-05-27 07:34

    Originally posted at: http://www.longandshortreviews.blogsp...Olive was doing just fine living in Philadelphia and leading the nice quiet life of an unmarried woman. She wasn’t fond of the “spinster” connotation but had to admit it did fit her pretty well. She had a good female friend, her own home, her cat, and her routines. She was happy. Then she finds out her brother and his wife have been killed and she has a niece and nephew to collect from the west…This author writes a very good tale about the early days of farming in the west. Her main female character is a “sissy”, but has a good backbone and a desire to learn what she needs to know to do her job. The wrinkle in the story is named Jacob. He’s a young widower who is taking care of the children since her sister-in-law’s family didn’t want the responsibility. He’s also good looking and it doesn’t take long before Olive finds herself caring a lot about him.The story of how difficult it is to farm and raise a family and take care of household duties is authentic. It’s still not easy today, but it was much more difficult then. Ms. Bush shows the culture clash between the farmer and the spinster, which is amusing to read about. Another highlight of this story is the mixed family of five children. Each child has their own oddities and watching the adults handle them will make you smile.One central problem in the story (which adds to the plot) is the grandfather that rejected the children and now wants to take them home as slaves. He’s willing to steal them if he must and neither Olive nor Jacob plan to give them up.This is a soft sweet romance with strong individuals who will stand up for their beliefs and their children. I found it a pleasure to read and I didn’t want to stop until I reached the end. Olive became a character I admired and wanted the best for and I wanted to thwack Jacob up around the head, but it all comes together at the end.

  • Lilmissmolly
    2019-06-12 06:34

    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.

  • Barron
    2019-05-26 06:12

    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!

  • Kristi
    2019-05-28 05:39

    I like that this story was set in America and that the heroine, Olive, was around 10 years older than the hero, Jacob, and a spinster. I enjoyed that Olive was strong minded, flawed, and evolved in the story as she discovered herself. Further, I liked that the misunderstandings were realistic and not belabored as we so often see in romances. Misunderstandings were reasonably and understandably left to linger for only so long before they were discovered and resolved in some way.Unlike some other reviewers, I didn't mind the bad guy showing up to move the story and relationship along, because I didn't need his back story, nor why he was so mean/angry. Sometimes bad, crazy men are just bad, crazy men. And in the context of this particular story, that was enough for me.I do however wish there was a little more steam a the end. I'm not one who has to have it, but I think in this case the story would have been that much better because the author sort of built it up for us, but then left us not completely satisfied. Regardless of this complaint, I enjoyed this book and will probably re-read at some point.

  • Frances
    2019-05-25 06:35

    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. a deserving 4 stars

  • Vikki Vaught
    2019-06-21 08:11

    What a sweet love story. Olive is a 35 year old spinster, and Jacob is 10 years younger. They meet when she comes to get her nephew and niece. Jacob had taken them in when their parents died. As the story progresses their affection for each other deepens. Olive realizes that she's fallen in love with Jacob, but knows that nothing can come of it, because Jacob can't let go of his grief for his dead wife. As their story unfolds, the reader is given insight into both their hearts. It was interesting to watch each of them overcome their issues to find a deep fulfilling love at the end. I highly recommend this story.

  • Kathy
    2019-06-07 07:30

    I thought this was an extremely sweet story about finding love in an unlikely place. There are some grammar issues (see: it's vs. its) but other than that, a thoroughly enjoyable read about a spinster who comes to claim her niece and nephew after they are left orphaned when their parents (who were, let's just say, not model citizens) were murdered. The widowed neighbor who is caring for them has some sadness in his past life, too, and spinster Olive quickly becomes attached to his children, as well as him.Review coming soon on!

  • Deedra
    2019-05-31 09:38

    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.

  • Sherene
    2019-06-15 10:12

    Such a sweet story. It kept my interest I could not put the book down and was sad to see it end .

  • Maria
    2019-06-11 10:20

    I received a copy of this book as a part of a blog tour in exchange for a fair and honest review. Full post is at my blog: and sweet, Romancing Olive by Holly Bush is a romance I won't soon forget. With well developed characters, charming dialogue and old fashioned romance, Ms. Bush captured my attention on the first page and never let go. The world building, Ohio at the end of the 19th century, is well done and historically accurate. The plot is well paced and there is more than enough action to keep the story flowing.Olive Wilkins is a 35 year old "spinster" living alone in Philadelphia after the death of her parents. When she is informed of her brother and sister in law's death in Ohio, Olive reluctantly accepts the idea of being responsible for her brother's children, his daughter Mary and his son John, and takes the train to Ohio, which she considers the wilderness, to bring the children back to Philadelphia to live with her. She never planned on discovering unsavory details about her brother and his wife, or on falling for a widowed farmer with three children.Jacob Butler has been a widower for over a year, raising three children on his own, he's just barely making ends meet with his ranch. When his nearest neighbor, James Wilkins, and his wife are killed, and their children left on their own, Jacob moves their children into his home. After all, what are two more mouths to feed when the older kids can help take care of the younger ones. He never planned on an interfering female turning his world upside down or on discovering that his heart could learn to love again.The scenes between Olive and Jacob are very well written; both proud people, their situation forces them into learning to lean on one another. As Olive realizes who and what her brother really was, she's forced to realize the life she's been living is nothing more than a sheltered prison and she becomes determined to grab life by the horns and live it on her own terms - regardless of what society or her old friends might think. I really liked how Ms. Bush developed Olive's character; when she first arrives in Ohio, she's wound tighter than a kite by society's expectations of behavior and thinks love, family and all of the good things in life have passed her by. As she grows throughout the story, she realizes her true worth and decides she's worthy of loving others and being loved.For his part, Jacob is forced to realize his pride has gotten in the way of what his children need. The more time he spends with Olive the more attractive he finds her, regardless of the fact she's older than he is and more financially stable. As his neighbors, and even his mother, encourage him to embrace what fate, or God, has put in his way. Ms. Bush did a good job developing Jacob's character; while he's somewhat rough - he's not as well educated as Olive or as genteel- he's a gentle man who thought he'd only fall in love once in his life and has a hard time letting go of the past or of understanding his own emotions.The secondary characters in this story are fantastic, from Olive's niece and nephew, Mary and John, who witnessed the horror of their mother's murder and have endured what no children should, to Jacob's children, Peg, Luke and Mark, who mourn the loss of their mother and the only softness they have ever known in life. The townspeople, local sheriff and Olive's best friend Thea, round out the secondary characters who add so much color to this story. While there is no "villain" per se in this story, there is an antagonist who is related to Mary and John, who doesn't make life easy for anyone and whose behavior at the end forces Olive and Jacob to unite to protect the children once and for all.While this is an old fashioned romance, the language is mostly clean and what discussion there is of sex pertains only to married folk and is not descriptive in nature, there are some mature themes covered in the story; in particular the theme of poverty, death during child birth in that time period and the evil nature of man. It also addresses the theme of child labor in both a positive and negative light. The story also touches on the lack of rights and independence women endured during this time.Will Olive and Jacob realize the have a chance to grab a second chance at life and love? Will they put aside their pride and form a new and joined family? You'll have to read Romancing Olive to find out. I assure you this is a romance worth reading and reading again.

  • Jody
    2019-05-26 03:21

    Reminiscent of an episode of Little House on the Prairie, Romancing Olive gives the reader a satisfying feeling with its sweetness and message of age not mattering in matters of love and that it's never too late to start living until your last breath.  With a memorable cast of characters experiencing realistic emotions and life events this is a story that gives you lots of warm fuzzy feelings.Olive Wilkins has lived by societies rules her whole life which has left her alone and living each day like the last until the death of her brother has her coming to the country to raise her niece and nephew and discovering many unpleasant truths.  She never realized there was so much cruelty and betrayal in the world until discovering the circumstances behind her brother's death and how uncaring his in-laws are when they want something they can't have.  The only thing she can rely on is farmer Jacob Butler who's been caring for her niece and nephew as well as his own children on his own.  I admire how she immediately dives in to do what must be done to care for the children.  She's not afraid of hard work or fighting for what she knows is best.  She came dressed in the trappings of an uptight spinster but once she starts REALLY living she realizes that the pristine image she always projected is unimportant.  By living without all the rules others expected of her has made her look and feel younger as well as given her a brighter future.  She's opened her heart to possibilities and emotions that will now lead her to a HEA.Jacob Butler is a formidable match for Olive.  He's hard working and doesn't obsess over the trappings of perfection.  He's too busy struggling to make ends meet and care for his kids as best he can.  After the death of his wife he never thought to love again, but Olive does things unexpected to his heart, body, and mind that has him rethinking his future.  I adored Jacob and how gruff he was at first but slowly started showing a flirty side as his attraction to Olive grew.  His jealousy over the sheriff's attention towards Olive was humorous and demonstrated his affections in so many subtle ways.  Seeing him struggle over admitting his feelings for fear of hurting his dead wife brought a tear to my eye and made the emotional impact of the story even deeper.There was a constant sexual tension between him and Olive that resulted in some heart stopping kisses and a tame sexual interlude.  So fans of "sweet" romances will find this book perfect for them.  The children were a pleasant addition with realistic speech and actions.  Normally I find kids in a story distracting, but not here.  They were each unique and brought out the best in Olive and Jacob and played subtle matchmakers.  This was a satisfying romance with a setting that drew you in and characters you can't help but like.  While the story dragged on a bit longer than necessary I still found much to enjoy and characters to root for.  Holly Bush shows much promise and I'll be on the lookout for more books by her.

  • Brenda
    2019-06-21 06:16

    "Romancing Olive" by Holly Bush really stands out from the typical historical fiction read. First of all she gives us a character that is more middle aged, and she also throws in a bit of suspense to keep the plot moving along.Normally within the first few pages of a story I am pretty sure how things will work out in the end, but with "Romancing Olive," I wasn't so sure.Olive Wilkins is 35 years old who's days in Philadelphia are well planned. She took care of her parents who died within a year of each other, now she lives with her cat Tiger,and works at the library. Her best friend Theda lives a similar life. When Olive gets a message that her brother's children have been orphaned in Spencer, Ohio she decides to go get them. When she arrives what she finds is two traumatized children. They have been taken in by their neighbor, 25 year old Jacob Butler, who is struggling with taking care of the children and farm, while still grieving the loss of his beloved wife. Olive decides to stay in Spencer and let the children get to know her before she takes them home to Philadelphia, and the only place to stay is with Jacob. As Olive's life dramatically changes she comes to realize that life has been passing her by and perhaps she is being given a second chance at life."Romancing Olive" is a wonderful historical fiction read about second chances. I found myself swept up in the plot of the story immediately but it was actually the individual characters that resonated with me. Ms. Bush created characters that could have easily been real people during the late 1800's. Strong people who rise to the challenge of adversity. I found myself immediately drawn to Olive. She was such a strong, self sufficient,brave woman, capable of taking care of herself. I loved the transformation that went on in her life during the story. She went from someone who was just sitting on the sidelines watching life go by to actually living life.Jacob, was a proud man who was guarding his heart against more pain. His actions, especially trying to fight his attraction to Olive, was very realistic, and often gave me a few laughs. I enjoyed seeing the children blossom under Olive's care. I found it amusing that Olive's friend Theda, was a bit bowled over by what she found in Spencer. Her departing words to Olive really broke my heart a bit, and if I could have one wish it would be that Theda would return to Spencer and have her own story!The author also weaves in a bit of suspense that added another layer to the story. Overall, "Romancing Olive" was a page turning historical fiction read with memorable characters and a satisfying ending. Highly recommended!

  • Susan Anderson
    2019-05-29 11:12

    Put away your notions of romancing. Dust off your ideas of shocking and pick up a copy of ROMANCING OLIVE by Holly Bush, a family saga reminiscent of THE THORNBIRDS.The year is 1891 and a spinster librarian, Olive Wilkins, arrives in a frontier town in Ohio to rescue two traumatized children, her niece and nephew. At the start of the story, they are orphans, having witnessed their parent's brutal murders. They have been living with a neighboring farmer, a widower and father to three young children whose wife lost her life in childbirth.Olive is thrown into what was then the wild west where conditions and behavior were primitive. Instead of returning to Philadelphia with the two children, Olive stays in the widower's home until her niece and nephew feel more comfortable with her and she can take them back to the east with her. The families merge. Olive does her best to create a stable, family environment for all five children while she does the drudgism of a frontier mom. Olive and Jacob Butler, the author tells us, are "two strangers, stranded in a tragedy they had not written."But life--violent and unpredictable--intervenes to endanger Olive and the children and keep us on the edge of our seats.I loved the flesh and blood characters that Holly Bush created and won't soon forget them. I felt I was walking on the frontier. Understandably all five children are traumatized by catastrophic loss, fragile, wounded, speechless or angry, and I liked the way their slow change to normalcy is woven into the story's action. And, of course, Olive needs to change. Her reactions to this frontier world are those of a Philadelphia miss, grounded in her rigidity and absolutism. It is the book's central paradox that the frontier Holly Bush deftly recreates for us does its best to rescue Olive from her long-held, life-destroying beliefs.There are tender moments, violent scenes, twists and turns in this family saga. ROMANCING OLIVE will keep you on the edge of your seat turning pages. You will have to read to the very end to find out if love conquers the bitterness of broken dreams. I highly recommend the book for all readers.

  • Reviewers for R.N.J
    2019-06-11 11:35

    4.5 starsBRIEF SUMMARYOlive Wilkens, a 35 year old spinster living in Philadelphia gets news that her brother and sister-in-law are violently murdered in Ohio were they live. Olive travels to Ohio to take guardianship of her niece Mary and nephew John. Upon arrival Olive learns her brother and his families were not living the life she thought and his children have lived a difficult life. Widower Jacob Butler rescues John and Mary from the home where they saw their mother murdered and takes them in. Jacob has three children of his own and is still grieving for his dead wife Margaret who died giving birth to there third child. Olive is just what this family needs.THOUGHTSThis is a warm story with Christian undertones. Olive is devastated to see the conditions Mary and John have lived with and is determined to give them the best life possible. She stays with Jacob and the children at first because it seems best for the children but quickly realizes what she has missed out on by not having a family of her own. Jacob is afraid to love another woman because he lost the only woman he loved and it takes almost losing Olive to realize that.This is a real feel good historical story and I commend the author on a well written story. Olive brings order and stability to a family holding on by a thread. This is a story about love and letting go. It was terrific to see this family come together after so many heartaches. It took a while for Jacob and Olive to realize their fate and some definite scary moments when Mary and John's grandfather came back to claim them the children. The secondary characters added to the story as well in trying to get Jacob and Olive to see the handwriting on the wall and the sheriff's interest in Olive drives Jacob with fierce jealousy. It was also cute how naive Olive was regarding men and the "itch"..... Storyline: GOODEnjoyment: GOODIntimacy Level: SWEETReviewer /Davia

  • Nicole
    2019-06-01 06:10

    It's not often that I think a book is 5 stars but this one definitely sold me. Romancing Olive takes a spinster librarian named Olive from the refined life of Philadelphia to the harsh realities of farmland Ohio. Olive heads to Ohio to take over the care of her niece and nephew after learning that her brother and sister in law have died, what she finds when she arrives is Jacob, a handsome young widowed father of three who has a farm to run but has none the less taken it upon himself to look after the parent less children. Having no where to live after she arrives Jacob offers up his house for her to stay in while she gets acquainted with her niece and nephew. Although her proper manners and upbringing are screaming out that this situation is not acceptable there really isn't any other options. Her attraction to Jacob is instant but he doesn't quite see things the same as his heart is still grieving the loss of his wife. As Olive dives into the position of Aunt and provider she learns that her brother and sister in law lived in deplorable conditions and the children were treated unkindly. Wanting to reach through both of the children's walls she starts building trust and showing unconditional love in hopes it will eventually bring them together as a true loving hard working family. Teaching them life skills and rewarding them with love and affection made this a really heartwarming story.I loved both the honesty and heart of Olive and Jacob, both with moral compasses and hearts so big no one gets left out. Finding their way into each others hearts creates a wonderful, believable read. It's not a western or a hot and heavy romance but the passion and excitement Olive and Jacob start to feel for each other is deeply moving and completely all encompassing. I simply could not put this one down and when I had read the last word I was overcome with the need to read more. It really was that good!This was my first book by Holly Bush and she has left me wanting to read more!

  • Ruth Hill
    2019-06-01 08:34

    What a breath off fresh air! This book was one of the best historical romances I have read in a while, and it was an absolute delight from start to finish. I have never read anything by Holly Bush, but she has quickly become one of my favorites.First of all, yes, this is your typical "Western" romance (West meaning Ohio). But there are some things that make it stand apart from the others. Olive in a near-40 spinster, and Jacob is a 20-something widower. Olive has a niece and nephew, and Jacob has three kids. There was a horrid murder before the book even began, and things are not always as they seem.It was such a pleasure to read a book that was full of laugh-out-loud humor. The interactions and chemistry between Olive and Jacob was absolutely flawless. Watching the way that circumstances and life changed the characters over the course of the book was an absolute delight. I was glad that the morals of the main characters were definitely intact. I was glad that church and God played a significant part in their lives as well. There were no bedroom scenes (thankfully), but many of the scenes were still pretty intense. There was some profanity, but it was fairly mild and sometimes used rather humorously. I honestly did not find it offensive.I won't tell you how the book ends, but the author has woven a truly wonderful tale that will keep the reader's attention until the end. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a love for historical romances. I can only hope that a sequel eventually comes out because I would love to know what adventures Olive and Jacob face next!I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

  • Becky Sherriff
    2019-05-26 03:26

    I have to be completely honest and admit western love stories are not my usual genre but ai really enjoyed it, I would definitely read another book from this genre and also from this author.Romancing Olive is set in Ohio in the llate 1800's. It begins with Olive meeting with the sheriff of her brother's town to learn that her brother and his wife have been killed and left behind 2 children, one niece and one nephew for Olive.They also leave behind a house in the small town of Spencer. The children are being taken care of by local farmer Jacob Butler. Jacob is a widowed man who loved his wife dearly, he also has 3 children himself.The reader soon becomes captivated by the character of Jacob, he is a loving father, a hard worker and he was devoted to his wife.Life in Spencer is very different from the quiet life Olive has left behind in Philadelphia. Olive does not have any children herself, she works as a librarian and is quite ordinary.The story follows Olive's struggles in adapting to her new life and her feelings for Jacob. I am completely in awe of Olive's character and feel she is an inspiration to other women who have similar struggles throughout their life.My favourite parts of the book were the parts around the new family unit which has been forced together, I don't want to spoil the story but there are some lovely parts about the extended family.This is a charming old fashioned love story, there are some beautiful moments between Jacob and Olive and their extended family.This is a story of love, friendship, trust, heartache, fights and feuds. The author does a fantastic job of keeping the reader engaged throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed it.4 stars from me.Becky Sherriff (The Kindle Book Review)

  • nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
    2019-06-04 03:24

    (originally published at basics: When Olive receives a letter saying her only brother James and his wife are dead, she sets off from Philadelphia to Spencer, Ohio to gather their two children, Mary and John. She intends to take them back to Philadelphia with her, but there is much about life in Spencer and the life her brother led to surprise Olive. My thoughts: Historical romance is not typically a genre I'm drawn to, but this novel featured so many things I am drawn to that I couldn't resist. Olive is a spinster and a librarian. She's a relatively privileged city woman, yet she must voyage to the Midwest in the 1890's, a fascinating time in U.S. history. Yet as the title suggests, the emphasis of this novel is more on the romance than the history. The story is the relationship between Olive and Jacob, the younger widower who took in Mary and John. While it's rooted in small-town Midwestern life at that time, the story is not firmly rooted in Southern Ohio in the 1890's.Bush shifts the narration so the reader knows what both Olive and Jacob are thinking. This technique also reminds the reader that although it's clear the two are headed to romance, for them individually, there is still a long emotional journey to get there. As I read, I enjoyed these two characters and their budding romance. The verdict: Romancing Olive is a predictable, yet engaging and enjoyable, historical romance. What it lacks in surprises it makes up for in its charm. This slim novel is an entertaining, one-sitting read, and fans of historical romance will enjoy it. Rating: 3.5 out of 5