Romancing Olive - Holly Bush This is my second Holly Bush book (the first being [b:Reconstructing Jackson|16067757|Reconstructing Jackson|Holly Bush||21859650]), and I enjoyed it just as much as the first one. The romance of Bush's books don't rely on constant sex and sexual tension (although there is some of that as well), but rather on the evolution of the main character's feelings, and everything that falling in love entails.

She created two interesting characters in Olive and Jacob - the 35 year old self-proclaimed spinster from an upper middle class family in Philadelphia and a 25 year old widower raising five children on his own on his small farm in rural Ohio. Two people seperated by age and upbringing who eventually come to realize a love that changes their lives. Olive comes to view her old life as one of "waiting" rather than living and is presented with the opportunity and choice to start over.

And similiarly to Reconstructing Jackson, the romance is only one layer of the story. The added storyline of Olive adopting her brother's children, becoming a mother to two traumatized children and helping them heal is the parallel storyline that adds that extra depth and takes it from being a good historical romance to a story of insight and transformation.

The one thing that I had trouble with (at times) was Mary. Yes, she had had a difficult childhood and was forced to grow up fast, so her sometimes insightful observations on the lives of the adults around her were believable. But toward the end, when she was supposed to be learning to trust Olive, and even Jacob, some of her actions felt just malicious. They would have made sense earlier in the book, but in terms of character development, it didn't feel like she came together in the end, but it was clear that thats what we were supposed to understand did happen.