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.
My rating for this is a B.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.