Tuesday, July 5, 2011
OLIVIA'S JOURNEY by B.J. Lashbrooks
It’s the Spring of 1865 and Mr. Lincoln runs the country...probably better than Olivia’s hard-fisted uncle runs his farm in Southern Indiana. Olivia would give anything to escape his abuse, but as long as he provides a shelter for her and her two younger sisters, she has no choice. But she soon has to make a daring decision when she finds a Confederate soldier bleeding alongside the river that borders her uncle’s farm. Soon Olivia and the soldier are running for their lives through Yankee country, with only Olivia’s twelve year old sister for company. But then the War is declared over and the President dead, what will that mean for the Confederate man who’d done so much to help Olivia? What will that mean for h
I was completely captivated by the book by the first page. This novel takes place during the last week of the Civil War, which, to me is one of the most fascinating time periods in American history. I felt connected to both Olivia and Grayson from the beginning of the book. I found myself ‘cheering’ for both of them. Olivia because she’s lost so many important people in her life, is abused by the person who is supposed to be taking care of her (her uncle), and also for having to grow up so quickly and be both a mother and a father to her two younger sisters. Then there is Grayson, who has had to see the terrors of war close up as a Confederate surgeon, has no idea where his younger brother is now that they war has ended and the Confederate prisoners released, and also doesn’t know has become of his farm in Tennessee. If I can connect to the main characters within the first chapter of a novel, then I know it’s going to be a page turner for me, and it most definitely was.
The adventure in this book is not so much an on the edge of your seat, can’t wait to see what happens next; but more of an adventure where Olivia finds herself and also finds love. Of course there are a couple of scenarios where their lives are at risk, and Grayson’s life is definitely at risk for being a Confederate soldier in Union territory, but there’s so much more to their adventure.
During the train ride the trio (Olivia, Amelia, and Grayson) are making to Chicago, Olivia’s personal growth becomes very apparent. She realizes that she is almost 21 years old, and she has been living her life entirely for her sisters, and has put little thought as to what SHE wants out of life. She realizes that she has feelings for Grayson, and that it’s time for her to pursue her hopes and dreams, and to live for herself for the first time ever. She has been lost for so many years, and now, with the help of Grayson she has begun to find herself again. Books that show a character showing personal growth are my favorite type of book. I also love books that take place during an important event in history, because not only am I reading a wonderful story, but I am also learning more about a fascinating time period.
I think that I’ve talked this book up enough for everyone to realize that I give it a FIVE out of FIVE stars without a second thought. Great book, great characters, amazing writing, and an all around amazing story!