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Whatever Happened to Mourning Free? (Olivia Series #3) By Yael Politis Book Review


Title:  Whatever Happened to Mourning Free?Whatever Happened to Mourning Free? Book 3 of the Olivia series by Yael Politis

Author:  Yael Politis

Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services

Release Date:  September 28, 2014

Pages:  425

Genre:  Historical Fiction

About the Book:

Note from the Author
Book 3 answers the question asked in its title and provides a narrative account of what happened to Olivia, Mourning, and Little Boy, but it is not a continuation of Book 2 in the same sense that Book 2 continues Book 1. Whatever Happened to Mourning Free? skips forward three generations and focuses on descendants of the Killion and Free families, who still face many of the problems with which Olivia and Mourning contended.
Readers who are impatient to find out what happened to Olivia and Mourning can feel free to skip ahead to that section, and then come back to the beginning section about Charlene, Reeves, and Charlie. Just search for the following text: Detroit, Michigan – May 24, 1843

Book Description
It’s 1967 and Charlene Connor has just graduated from the University of Michigan, without her “Mrs.” Her mother recently passed away and soon afterwards her father fled the silence to a new job on the other side of the state. So Charlene is going “home” to what is now an empty house.

Two things make this long, hot summer bearable: Reeves Valenti – the high school sweetheart she left behind – and the lawyer who unexpectedly knocks on her door, bringing information about the woman she idolizes – her great-great-great Aunt Olivia Killion. Charlene can’t wait to get Olivia’s journals from him and finally learn what happened to Olivia and her friend and partner Mourning Free; she doesn’t know that the answer to that question will deepen the connection she feels to Olivia and bring a new person — and a fundamental change — into her life.

Is It Autobiographical?
No. Just for fun, I gave Charlene the shell of my life. I grew up in the Foundation, attended Edsel Ford High School, and began my college education in Ann Arbor. So on paper, Charlene and I have a lot in common. In fact, am I anything like her? No. Is my life anything like hers? In my dreams.

Wanda’s Review:

Dearborn, Michigan – 1967 – Charlene Connor has in her possession her great-great-great Aunt Olivia’s diary. Having read the journal many times, Charlene felt a deep connection to her Aunt Olivia, and wondered many times what had become of Olivia and Mourning Free. Charlene knew Olivia had been active in the Underground Railroad and ran a boarding house called OK Accommodations. Had Mourning been with her at the boarding house? Why had they left the farm? Where did she come up with the money to buy a boarding house? These questions are answered and many more revelations develop as the story unfolds and goes back in time to 1842.
The two timelines were integrated smoothly into one storyline. It is amazing how little times had changed from the 1840’s to the 1960’s where racism still lingered.

The strong characters displayed hope, determination, and courage. I just couldn’t get enough of Olivia and Mourning, having been connected to them from Book 1 & 2 of the series. Just amazing characters! The characters of Charlene and Charlie were realistic and complex, and I was eventually drawn into their world and the midst of their drama. They were portrayed in depth.

I must admit that this book certainly was not what I expected, and that isn’t a negative comment. I did have a bit of a problem getting into the storyline early on with Charlene’s story, but when the time changed to 1840, I became fully engrossed. The story eventually shifts back to the 1960’s with the racial riots in Detroit and I became fully engaged to the storyline.

This book was beautifully written and the author certainly delivered a satisfying closure to this superb series. I highly recommend, but be sure to read Books 1 & 2 of the Olivia Series first. My rating is 4.5 stars.


I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion and review. All opinions shared are my own.

About the Author:  Yael Politis

I grew up in Michigan, but have lived all my adult life in Israel where I have worked as a dishwasher, secretary, librarian, office manager, agricultural laborer, management systems analyst, English teacher, Hebrew-English translator, technical writer, marketing writer, and proposal writer.

I have just completed two new historical novels: Olivia, Mourning and The Way the World Is (Books 1 and 2 of the Olivia Series). Both take place in Michigan and Pennsylvania in the 1840s. I love the challenge of recreating daily life in another time and place and based many of the details in Olivia, Mourning and The Way the World Is on letters and journals passed down through my family, over seven generations of lives lived in the Midwest. I received a great deal of insight from my sister, may she rest in peace, who lived in a fairly isolated log home, hunted her own land, and was just as independent and stubborn as Olivia.
Both books are available on Amazon.

First Chapter Reveal: Night Terror by Jeff Gunhus

Night Terror 2Title: Night Terror
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
Pages: 400
Genre: Supernatural Thriller/Horror

Purchase at AMAZON

Ten years after her abduction and near-sacrifice to the Source, Sarah Tremont struggles to be a normal teenager. As much as she’s tried to suppress the power inside of her, it’s grown dangerously strong and has drawn the attention of those who want to possess her power for themselves.

The nightmare that she thought was long over starts again as powerful forces descend upon Prescott City to seek her out. With her parents and Joseph Lonetree’s help, Sarah must stand up to an evil much more powerful than the one she faced in the caves a decade earlier. But in the end, she discovers the greatest danger might come from the power living inside of her.

First Chapter:

Charlie Winters didn’t scream. Not because the pain had stopped, because it hadn’t. Every nerve in his body was still on fire, bursting with electric signals to his brain that the bag of meat, sinew, and bone that was supposed to protect it was being systematically destroyed. Pound by pound, his flesh was eaten. Ounce by ounce, his blood was guzzled down.

His screams stopped only because his vocal cords were raw and bloody and had ceased to function. None of the dozen or so attackers had bothered to silence him when they started the feast, and Charlie had screamed and screamed until he could do so no more.

Even with his throat filled with blood, he still tried to cry out, expelling a spray of red mist. The men feasting near his head enjoyed this and breathed in the vapors of his bloody exhalation. One of the men’s thick fingers dug into Charlie’s left eye socket and scooped out his eyeball, giving a quick yank to pop it loose from the strand of nerves attached to it. Charlie felt another man put his lips around the empty socket and suck hard at the juices inside his head. Nails clawed at and then ripped off the small pad of meat on his cheek, a delicacy on ten-year-old boys as much as it was on suckling pigs.

Charlie closed his eyes and begged for death.

An hour earlier he had been a regular boy, just like anyone else.

But then again, he knew that wasn’t really true. He’d never been like anyone else. And now it had finally cost him.


Interview with Rosemary McCracken, co-author of Deadly Dozen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABorn and raised in Montreal, Rosemary McCracken has worked on newspapers across Canada as a reporter, arts writer and reviewer, editorial writer and editor. She is now a freelance journalist, specializing in personal finance and the financial services industry. She advocates greater protection for investors.

Rosemary’s short fiction has been published by Room of One’s Own Press, Kaleidoscope Books and Sisters in Crime Canada. Safe Harbor, her first suspense thriller, was shortlisted for Britain’s Debut Dagger award in 2010, and released by Imajin Books in 2012. Black Water is the second book in the Pat Tierney series.

Rosemary lives with her husband in Toronto, and does much of her fiction writing at her stone cottage in Ontario’s Haliburton Highlands.

Visit Rosemary’s website at, follow her on her blog at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

About the Book:

Deadly Dozen 2The DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle contains 12 complete mystery/thriller novels by award-winning and international bestselling authors: Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Catherine Astolfo, Alison Bruce, Melodie Campbell/Cynthia St-Pierre, Gloria Ferris, Donna Galanti, Kat Flannery, Jesse Giles Christiansen, Rosemary McCracken, Susan J. McLeod, C. S. Lakin and Linda Merlino.

THE BRIDGEMAN by Catherine Astolfo

DEADLY LEGACY by Alison Bruce

A PURSE TO DIE FOR by Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre

CHEAT THE HANGMAN by Gloria Ferris

A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti

LAKOTA HONOR by Kat Flannery

PELICAN BAY by Jesse Giles Christiansen

SAFE HARBOR by Rosemary McCracken

SOUL AND SHADOW by Susan J. McLeod


ROOM OF TEARS by Linda Merlino


With an individual list price total of more than $45.00 and over 640 reviews collectively on, the DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle is a value-packed, rollercoaster thrill ride that takes you from amateur sleuth to detective to paranormal to ancient mysteries set in intriguing worlds and so much more.

For More Information

  • Deadly Dozen is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m always writing! When I’m not writing fiction, I’m wearing my journalist’s hat and I’m writing articles for newspapers and magazines. In recent years, I’ve specialized in journalism assignments on personal finance and the financial services industry. For these articles, I interview financial advisors and investment managers. I attend their conferences. I know the issues they face and the concerns they have.

So when I was looking for a central character for my mystery series, Pat Tierney appeared full-blown in my mind. She’s a fortysomething financial advisor with the traits of the people I admire most in her profession. She cares about her clients. She’s a champion of small investors. She has sleepless nights when markets are down.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I’d spend time at my vacation home in beautiful Ontario cottage country north of Toronto, which bears a very strong resemblance to the fictional Glencoe Highlands in Black Water, the sequel to Safe Harbor, and to The Red Kayak, the third Pat Tierney mystery that I made progress on this past summer. It’s been great fun writing about a small community based on an area that I know and love.

What do you find fascinating about the suspense genre?

A problem is set out for the protagonist at the opening pages of a suspense novel, and this character is forced to deal with that problem—immediately. The rollercoaster ride this gets into motion is exhilarating to write about. It’s also what grabs the reader and compels him to keep turning the pages.

And because the principal characters are continually the edge throughout a suspense novel, a writer has great scope to build interesting characters. I’m a character-driven writer so this certainly appeals to me.

When was the adrenalin rush – writing that first chapter or the last, and why?

Safe Harbor opens with a short Prologue that sets a mood of fear and apprehension. But the book proper begins with Chapter One, in which the reader meets the protagonist, Pat Tierney. Developing Pat’s character, I asked myself that would shatter her world? The answer was her late husband, Michael, who has kept a strong hold on Pat from beyond the grave. But if Pat discovered that Michael wasn’t the man she thought he was…? So I opened Chapter One with a beautiful, dark-haired woman paying a visit to Pat’s office. Jude Seaton tells Pat that the late Michael was the father of her son, Tommy, who is now seven. I loved writing that scene. Told from Pat’s point of view, it allowed a myriad of emotions—denial, anger, resentment—to come into play. And I love reading it at book club gatherings and at other literary events. It always gets a great round of applause.

What is the most important thing about your book that we as readers should know?

I don’t think readers need to know anything before opening Safe Harbor. I’d like them to meet its characters and have fun following their adventures.

But I hope they come away with something from the book—the importance of giving others the benefit of a doubt. Not every woman would rally to defend her husband’s love child, but Pat does. Her daughter calls her “the world’s biggest pushover,” and Pat realizes she is probably right. But she believes it is best to err on the side of generosity.

Your best friend is an aspiring author and his book really sucks. What would you say to him or her?

My writer friend has lavished time, energy and love on his manuscript, and the wrong words can destroy our friendship. So I would need to tread very gently. If the book is still in manuscript form, I would tell him that it still needs some work and strongly encourage him to hire a first-class editor who would be paid to give an honest opinion. If the book has already been self-published, I’d keep my thoughts to myself and let him hear from the countless others who will undoubtedly voice theirs.

But I would never tell him to stop writing. Writers can improve. Sometimes it takes years for a writer to find his unique voice.

You’re sitting at a dinner party and seated next to NY bestselling authors. They are intimidating indeed and one of them remarks that your book sucks. What would you say to him or her?

I’d say, “We never know what life holds in store for us. When our positions are reversed, as they very well may be, I hope that I’ll be more generous—and tactful—than you.”

You catch someone sitting on a park bench reading your book, whether on a e-reader or the real McCoy, and you walk over to him or her. What do you say?

I’d introduce myself and say, “I hope you’re enjoying Safe Harbor.” I know from experience that readers usually welcome the opportunity to talk to the writer of a book they’ve read. The fact that this person has kept on reading beyond the first few pages indicates that he or she is probably enjoying the book. And that’s what I want readers to get out of my mysteries—an enjoyable read.

You’ve just been offered the Pulitzer Prize. Who do you thank?

As a Canadian, I’m not eligible for the Pulitzer Price. But if I were, I’d thank veteran mystery writer Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourne mystery series.

Early in 2009, I entered an early draft of Safe Harbor, my first Pat Tierney mystery, in Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger competition. The contest is open to English-language writers around the world who haven’t had a novel published. The CWA didn’t get back to me, which meant, in a competition that attracts hundreds of entries, that the manuscript hadn’t made its shortlist.

A few months later, Gail was in Toronto, the city where I live, doing a stint as writer-in-residence at the Toronto Reference Library. I submitted the first 20 pages of Safe Harbor for a manuscript evaluation and met with Gail a few weeks later. “This book needs to written in the first person,” she said. “We need to know what your protagonist Pat Tierney is thinking and feeling every step of the way.”

I felt like a light had been switched on in my head. Safe Harbor is a murder mystery, but it’s also the story of Pat’s personal journey. I rewrote the book in the first person. And right from the start, I knew I’d made the right decision. I felt energy emanating from the story that hadn’t been there before.

I entered the rewrite in the 2010 Debut Dagger competition. Same title and same storyline as my previous submission, but this time told in the first person. That year Safe Harbor emerged as one of 11 novels—out of about 1,100 submissions—that were shortlisted for the award. Being on that shortlist has been one of the highlights of my writing life.

Any final words?

Writers out there—keep on writing. Take advantage of every opportunity to get your work published and launch your writing career. Enter writing contests, attend conferences for works in your genre and network with other writers. And don’t let negative comments about your work get you down. They may just be sour grapes.