Orphaned as a toddler, Olive, a bright feisty child, struggles to establish her place in a wealthy dysfunctional family.
Her sisters are jealous, her brothers are threatened, her father, inept as a parent is dependent on her skills.
Set in the early 1900s, follow her path from child to a young woman in a time before women had the right to vote.
Targeted Age Group:: 16 to adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Becoming Olive W. was written as a prequel to my first novel, A Mystery of Grace. I wanted my readers to understand why Olive became such a troubled, bitter woman.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I enjoy writing dialogue, so I have actual conversations with my characters. The folks in this novel/ series are simple yet complicated and intensely emotional. They portray the life of rural America in the early 1900s.
Western Pennsylvania, 1905
Olive, a curly blonde-haired girl with pale blue eyes, climbed onto the bed and wrapped her arms around her mother’s neck.
Polly Westchester coughed at the touch of her child. She lay motionless, waiting for the pain of her next contraction. Her children circled the iron bed, watching Polly struggle to breathe. Polly’s pale face had assumed a shade of gray. Her eyes reflected the purple and yellow wallpaper deliberately darkened by drawn draperies. Shining on the ceiling, a single dot of light refracted from the daisy-filled crystal vase.
Ben, Olive’s oldest brother, grabbed the child around the waist. “Come, sweetie. Leave Mama be.”
After carrying her out of the bedroom, Ben deposited Olive in the corner landing of the back staircase, leading to the kitchen. Olive immediately began a backward descent on her hands and knees.
“Do not play on the steps alone, Olive,” said Ben, gently.
“Stay here and wait for me.”
Olive sat on the plank floor, drawing circles with her finger in the sticky, warm, red liquid that covered her legs. A bitter taste filled her mouth as she sucked on her fingers. She gagged.
“Mama,” the tiny voice repeated, sobbing.
Her father, Henderson, rushed in from the barn, pushing her aside on his way up the stairs.
“When did labor start? Why wasn’t I called sooner? Levi, fetch the doctor. Hurry. Ride hard,” Henderson barked at his third son as his calloused hands caressed his wife. “Polly, stay with me. You’ve done this seven times before. Look at me. Stay with me.”
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