Release Day Review: One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker

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, 1870. 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.

**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**

It took me time to really get into the story because of the slow pace and length of the book. But I eventually didn't mind it that much when I was further into the story. The multiple POVs (Beulah, Clyde, Cora, and Nettie Mae) were great because it showed different perspectives and made it easier to connect and relate to the characters. I had to get used to how Beulah's POV was written because it was sometimes difficult to follow, however, after getting to know the character it made sense that her POV was written in a different style.

This book is about family, redemption, forgiveness, sacrifice, and survival. Each character have their own problems they are dealing with, and it was beautiful to see how eventually they were able to put aside their differences and come together. I think the author did a great job in portraying how life was on the American frontier. I especially felt the loneliness and how much having a neighbor close by could keep you grounded. The reason I didn't rate it higher was because I thought the story felt monotone at times and I would've loved and epilogue at the end because it felt a bit unfinished.

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 first two novels from Lake Union Publishing, The Ragged Edge of Night and One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow (2019), are based on true stories found within the author's 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. She also writes as Libbie Hawker.

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