Review of The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel
Overview from www.bn.com:
The powerful story of one woman’s passion in a world at war.
Olivia Dunne, a studious minister’s daughter who dreams of becoming an archaeologist, never thought that the drama of World War II would affect her quiet life in Denver. But when an exhilarating flirtation reshapes her life, she finds herself in a rural Colorado outpost, married to a man she hardly knows. Overwhelmed by loneliness, Olivia tentatively tries to establish a new life, finding much-needed friendship and solace in two Japanese American sisters who are living at a nearby internment camp. When Olivia unwittingly becomes an accomplice to a crime and is faced with betrayal, she finally confronts her own yearnings and comes to understand what she truly believes about the nature of trust and love.
Another blogger’s review of this book apparently piqued my curiosity enough to make me write the name of the title down to look up later. When I found the page where I had written it down last week, I decided to see if the library had it. They did so I put a hold on it immediately.
I can see now that whoever reviewed it and gave it a thumbs-up knew what she was talking about. I am saying “she” because I am starting to think I remember who wrote the review but since I am not sure, I am not going to name her.
Back to the book—it was pretty awesome. I love that it is first and foremost a Historical Fiction book and World War II is one of my favorite time periods. And although I was a little nervous about the romance part of it being a little too sappy, erotic, or over-the-top for me, I was pleasantly surprised that this romance was none of those things. Instead the romance grew much more naturally out of the plot and didn’t seem unbelievable in the least.
Livvy has a strong head on her shoulders and knows where she’s going on life even if the rest of her family isn’t sure. She is the oldest daughter and the only one who is not married. When her mother dies, it seems like some of Livvy dies along with her.
Then when she gets pregnant from a one night stand, she is disgraced until her father comes up with a plan which will save his (and the family’s) reputation as a local minister. He proposes an arranged marriage with the help of a fellow minister which a bachelor in his congregation agrees too. With few other options, Livvy agrees and travels to a rural part of Colorado to marry him.
If there was any downside to the story it is the unanswered questions I still had at the end. The main one I kept wondering about is why any man would agree to marry a woman who was pregnant with another man’s child and still consider himself “lucky.” for having done so. I can’t say I can even see this happening much in today’s world let alone in that time period. However, the more I got to know Ray; I could see he might have a reason for seeing things this way. Something more than just because he thought he’d never find love. But the reader never hears it. In part, I think, because Livvy never asks that question and I just didn’t understand why.
Also, the prologue was mostly unnecessary. I could have figured out most of what is contained in there on my own from other parts of the story and the rest was unnecessary information.
Still, I have to say I really liked this one. True I didn’t love it, mostly for the reasons I just mentioned, but it was definitely worth a read or even two. I especially appreciated that the story was mostly clean but the morals in it were not heavy-handed—just the lessons learned in the experiences of one of the characters, Livvy. Her point of view was interesting and honest. If you like either Historical Fiction or clean Romance novels, I think you will enjoy this one.
Contains: some mild sexual imagery in one short segment of the novel.