Monday, October 21, 2019

{ One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker - TLC Book Tour }

Hardcover: 496 Pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (October 8, 2019)

From the bestselling author of The Ragged Edge of Night comes a powerful and poetic novel of survival and sacrifice on the American frontier.

Wyoming, 1876. For as long as they have lived on the frontier, the Bemis and Webber families have relied on each other. With no other settlers for miles, it is a matter of survival. But when Ernest Bemis finds his wife, Cora, in a compromising situation with their neighbor, he doesn’t think of survival. In one impulsive moment, a man is dead, Ernest is off to prison, and the women left behind are divided by rage and remorse.

Losing her husband to Cora’s indiscretion is another hardship for stoic Nettie Mae. But as a brutal Wyoming winter bears down, Cora and Nettie Mae have no choice but to come together as one family—to share the duties of working the land and raising their children. There’s Nettie Mae’s son, Clyde—no longer a boy, but not yet a man—who must navigate the road to adulthood without a father to guide him, and Cora’s daughter, Beulah, who is as wild and untamable as her prairie home.
Bound by the uncommon threads in their lives and the challenges that lie ahead, Cora and Nettie Mae begin to forge an unexpected sisterhood. But when a love blossoms between Clyde and Beulah, bonds are once again tested, and these two resilient women must finally decide whether they can learn to trust each other—or else risk losing everything they hold dear.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


About Olivia Hawker

Through unexpected characters and vivid prose, Olivia Hawker explores the varied landscape of the human spirit. Olivia’s interest in geneal­ogy often informs her writing: her two novels, The Ragged Edge of Night and One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow, are based on true stories found within her own family tree. She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, where she homesteads at Longlight, a one-acre microfarm dedicated to sustainable permaculture practices. For more information, visit

Connect with Olivia

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

My thoughts:


It is not very often that I pick up a book and fall in love with it, from the very first page.  That is exactly what happened with One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow.  

You know those amazing books that make you get annoyed with real life, because it interferes with your reading time?  Yeah, like that.

Where to even begin with this one?

Well let's go right to the setting which takes place in Wyoming in 1876.  It is a harsh time for everyone living on the land, homesteading was difficult, they didn't have all the amenities that we do nowadays and families and neighbors, had to pull together to survive, especially during the long brutal winter months.

We first meet the Bemis family which consists of the dad, mom, Beulah and two younger siblings.

Across the field live the Webbers, dad, mom and son Clyde who is around Beulah's age.  

All seems pretty normal for a prairie community.

But not all is as it seems.  

The story kicks off with a gunshot rippling through the air.  Pretty quickly we become aware that Ernest Bemis has shot and killed his neighbor.  It doesn't take long to confirm the motive as we realize that he has caught his wife Nora in an compromising position with the neighbor.  That one single decision to pull the trigger creates ripples that will forever affect the families.

Of course Ernest is arrested and sent to prison for two years, and left behind is his regretful wife who is full of remorse for ever getting involved with the neighbor and setting this whole situation into motion, her daughter Beulah who is just 14 and must now step up and take care of the house, the chores, the animals, her siblings and her frail mother.

Beulah is a bit of a strange girl, she is not the typical 14 year old girl in the prairie, she looks fragile but she pulls her weight, gets her hands dirty and does what needs doing.  But she also seems to have a bit of a sixth sense or ability to communicate with those who have passed on.

Across the field is Nettie Mae, recently widowed, full of rage and anger and feelings of betrayal.  She is now saddled with a homestead and must pull together to take care of the land she owns and her son Clyde.  Clyde is a teenage boy, quiet but a good strong worker and he much like Beulah just gets right into taking care of business.

With the winter months approaching, both families quickly realize that they do not have the means to survive on their own.  In a perfect setting, the neighbors would pull together, divide chores and help each other, but how do you do that with so much baggage and hatred between them?

Nora is determined to apologize and make up for her wrong doings, but Nettie Mae is having none of it.   She has a bone to pick with this woman, this hussy who threw herself at her husband and is ultimately to blame for his death.  She can't even bear to look at her face without wanting to smack her around, and there's no way in hell she will accept any help from her or offer any in return.

Clyde and Beulah decide that it is best for the families to set aside their differences and work together or none of them will survive.

So what ends up hapening???  Nora, Beulah and her young siblings move in with Nettie Mae and Clyde and what transpires from that moment on is a story of redemption, love, friendship, hardship and really digging deep to put aside anger and hurt.

In the middle of all this going on, a budding romance begins between Clyde and Beulah which throws a whole other wrench into the already volatile situation.

I'm sorry this review is quite long already, but I loved the book so very much that I couldn't do it justice with merely telling you that it was a great read.  

Olivia Hawker did a phenomenal job of tapping into the hard life on the prairie and really painting a picture for us of not only the harsh living conditions, but also the fragility of the families trying to survive in these times.

If you read no other book this year, you have to read this one.  It deserves a spot on your book shelf.  I'll be honest and tell you that I have about 6 books on my favorites spot, and this one is now a part of that collection.  It is not a huge one but it is my most treasured books that will absolutely never be given away.

Thank you to TLC Tours and the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.


Sara Strand said...

I'm so glad you LOVED THIS!!! I have this on my library list but I feel like I should just buy it because it's probably going to end up one of my favorites, too. Thank you so much for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Sandra said...

Sara it is brilliant, it's on my favorites list now, hope you like it too :)

Mary said...

Keep up the good work on the cast iron, Sandra but do NOT let anyone talk you into using oven cleaner to remove the rust. The chemicals in that react with the metal and will make them dangerous to use to cook with. Have you seen the chain mail metal scrubbier they have for sale at Target or on the Lodge website? said...

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