Book Review: Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted


The Details:

Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Published: 29 July 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 314
Available: ebook and paperback

💓: sweet love story

😨: no violence

Reviewer’s Note: Thank you to the author for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot in Brief: In 1859 the widow Mary Perkins Olmsted and mother of three young children marries her deceased husband’s brother, noted landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. The fictionalized narrative covers their life together.

The Characters: This is very much a character driven book. The story is told in first person from Mary’s perspective. She describes her personal life in great detail. We watch her fall in love with her new husband as they grow as a family. Frederick adopts his niece and nephews and treats them as his own. Together they weather the highs and lows of his career and their family life. Mary struggles with feelings of jealousy and neglect as her workaholic husband travels the globe for his work.

The History: The setting, the latter half of the 19th century, is one of innovation and progress on an amazing scale. Mary experiences, for the first time, innovations such the telephone and train travel. She travels to Europe by ocean liner and explores California on horseback. I found it all fascinating. That being said, the history was really more of a backseat driver in this novel with the Mary taking the wheel.

The Writing: Well written and well edited with a sedate pace the book is a loving tribute to the author’s husband’s ancestors.

Recommendations: I think readers who enjoy a good historical setting and a well told family story will enjoy this book. Anyone interested in Fredrick Law Olmsted will definitely want to read this as his career is well laid out in great detail.

My Rating: 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Stars


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