Jacob Butler lost his wife a year ago during the birth of their youngest child. With three children of his own plus the two neighbor children, Mary and John, he tried to be both mother and father as he worked the land. He loved all of the children and was determined to raise them on his own. Jacob could not believe that Mary and John had lived in the filthy house where he found them. Their mother had been a drunk, who used her body to make money, while their father gambled away what money he could get his hands on. The oldest child, Mary, was very skittish and would not come near Jacob. But John spent as much time with Jacob as he could, desperate for love but refusing to speak. Jacob has loved his deceased wife since he was twelve years old and she had loved him. Now he missed her desperately.
Olive had figured she would pick up the children and head back to the city, but Mary had been hostile to her and neither child wanted to leave Jacob. So she had accepted Jacob’s offer to let her stay there for a while to get used to the children before taking them home. Seeing that the pantry was bare, she decided to share in providing for the house, but when she returned from town with groceries, the very proud Jacob made it plain that he could provide for his family. To his way of thinking, he had buried his heart with Margaret, and he blamed this spinster for making him feel again.
As Olive spent time on the farm, helping to care for Jacob and the children, she finds herself falling in love with him. But he is younger than she is and deserves a young, pretty wife. Besides, he is still grieving for his dead wife Margaret, and she refuses to marry unless it is for love. Should she take her niece and nephew and return to Philadelphia, or should she stay and take a chance on winning Jacob’s love?
A poignant read, ROMANCING OLIVE is an inspired, emotion-packed historical story that will touch your heart. Olive has lived her whole life in the city; always waiting for the next event to happen that would allow her to show her Christian spirit, be it the demise of a neighbor or the aging of her parents. But she has never really allowed herself to experience life. She has given up on love, expecting to spend her life as a spinster. But then she receives a letter and makes the trip of a lifetime to rescue her niece and nephew and finds herself being rescued instead. A beautifully written story, packed with complex, engaging characters, the trials of farm life, humor, childlike wonder, horrors that no child should ever witness, grief and the joys of true love, it is one that you will want to read again and again. I highly recommend ROMANCING OLIVE. Do not miss it!