A Wild and Heavenly Place cover


By: Robin Oliveira

Published: February 13, 2024

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Historical Fiction

4 stars
*Thanks for the gifted book, Putnam Books.*

Robin Oliveira is the author of the well-known book, MY NAME IS MARY SUTTER. I haven’t read it but it has been on my list for several years. Her newest book, A WILD AND HEAVENLY PLACE, is her fourth novel.

Set in Seattle, the author’s home, in the late 1800s for most of the novel’s story, the characters begin in Glasgow, Scotland before immigrating to America. The MacIntyre’s are a well-to-do society family in Glasgow. Davinia MacIntyre’s sole focus is to find her daughter Hailey a husband, chosen from the eligible society men at one of the many balls they attend. Still, Hailey isn’t interested in any of them. Samuel Fiddes and his young sister Alison are orphans and live from food scrap to food scrap. Barely making enough money to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, Samuel strives to make a better life for them.

After church, Samuel and his sister are outside when he notices a loose carriage careening down the street. Hailey’s brother, Geordie is in its path and Samuel rushes to save him. Hailey is grateful and invites Samuel and his sister to dinner at their family home. Of course, their lives are completely at opposite spectrums but a spark sizzles between them, and Hailey can’t deny her attraction to him.

When the Glasgow bank fails and her family’s finances are gone, her father has the idea to travel to Seattle where there is talk of many jobs. Hailey doesn’t want to leave Samuel behind but has no choice as her family’s reputation is ruined and they have nothing left. Samuel vows to find her but how can he manage to travel to America?

“Not even in her worst imaginings had Hailey thought that her father would lead them into darkness.”

Of course, the MacIntyre’s arrival in America is not as promised and they are forced to live in squalor while subsisting on beans. Hailey becomes the homemaker of the family as Davinia can’t function living in such poverty. Hailey and Geordie become their own little family and Hailey finds ways to make their house a home and provide for them. Samuel, in the meantime, is determined to find Hailey but the two of them have no idea of all the struggles they will face.

As star-crossed lovers, Hailey and Samuel keep meeting obstacles that keep them apart. Whether it is timing, people, or circumstances beyond their control, it doesn’t seem possible that they will ever be together. But, I had faith that the author would find a way and was rewarded with a genuine romance story that led to a happy ending. Even though there were so many external forces keeping them apart, the reader still had hope of the two of them finding their way to each other.

“I know what it is to lose someone important. It’s a heartbreak that lasts forever.”

Oliveira obviously did extensive research on Seattle in the late 1800s related to coal mines, logging, shipyards, and shipbuilding as well as the awful, muddy weather conditions not conducive to women’s heavy, long dresses. She created a setting that was easily imagined in the readers’ eyes and made us thankful that we were born in a much later generation.

Fans of historical fiction and/or romance will find much to love about this story of riches to rags and rags to riches as well as two people who will do anything to find a way to be together. Those who have triggers related to spousal abuse should know there are some scenes in this story. Even though there is so much heartbreak and hardship in this novel, you will be so invested in Hailey and Samuel’s relationship that you won’t be able to stop reading.

Robin Oliveira grew up just outside Albany, New York in the town of Loudonville. She holds a B.A. in Russian from the University of Montana and studied at the Pushkin Language Institute in Moscow, Russia. She worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, specializing in Critical Care and Bone Marrow Transplant. In 2006 she received an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives outside of Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Andrew Oliveira. She has two children, Noelle Oliveira and Miles Oliveira. All three are the loves of her life. Check out her website, HERE.

*Quotes are from the ARC and may not be in the final copy.*

To purchase a copy of A WILD AND HEAVENLY PLACE, click HERE.

Other posts you might like:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Check out my review policy, HERE.

Posted in

Leave a Comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.