Olivia, Mourning by Yael Politis is a rich historical fiction novel set in the late 1800s in Pennsylvania. After the death of her father, 17 year old Olivia is determined to work on Fae's Landing, eighty acres of land her family inherited from her Uncle Scruggs. She brings along her close friend Mourning, the son of slaves, to help her work on the farm. With her strong-willed nature and Mourning's optimism, they make a great team despite the harsh living conditions they face. But their society isn't ready to accept a relationship between a black man and a white woman, which creates controversy and leads to great adversity.
The story of young Olivia is beautifully written and very gripping. The descriptions of the setting and living conditions were detailed enough for the reader to understand the circumstances without losing the reader's attention. I absolutely loved the drama in this book- it was so emotional and intriguing! There were several twists and turns that kept the story unpredictable and engaging. As for the characters, I appreciated Olivia's strength as a female character and the relationship between her and Mourning was well-developed. Mourning spoke in a dialect characteristic of African Americans in that time period, which at times was difficult to understand. However, it was an integral aspect of his character and made for a more realistic book. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am eager to check out the sequel, The Way the World Is. I would recommend this book to any fan of historical fiction.