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Publisher's Summary

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, 1876. 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.

©2019 Olivia Hawker (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed review

This book had beautiful prose. The descriptions of outdoors and nature, the sky, starlit or sunrise/sunset, used gorgeous words. Human nature was also succinctly described and showed a rare depth of understanding.
I am a fast reader, and I couldn't absorb the prose written in late-1800's vernacular, so I listened to much of the book. The narrator did a fine job reading until she got to the dialogue. Her voices for Beaulah and Clyde were very good. The voice of Nettie Mae was way too strident, making the character less likable. When reading Nettie Mae's thoughts and dialogue I had some empathy for her. Listening to the narrators depiction of her, she seemed less dimensional-- just a bitter, hateful woman. The voice of Cora made me cringe! It was horrible, vapid, falsetto fake. I swear my teeth hurt every time I heard the narrator recite Cora's dialogue!
The book was extremely slow reading. I was invested in the story so I stuck with it despite having spurts of irritation. I spent a lot of time looking up words that aren't used much today. This gave the book a feeling of authenticity, which I appreciate. I love reading stories set in the era presented in this book. I feel cheated by historical inaccuracies. Particularly when the characters have mindsets that people did not hold back then, or when they use tools that weren't yet invented at that time, or the fashions are off. I'm no expert on that time period though I do research situations and things that feel "off" in historical novels. I did no such research for this novel.
Overall, aside from the horrid narration on Cora's dialogue, the issues I had with the book are a direct result of some of the book's best qualities. I liked the metaphysical bent of the main character, and I liked the way the characters all became more self aware and showed personal growth from the story's beginning to the end. I have a stronger realization of how difficult life was back then, particularly for those who lived in The wilderness.
The author is obviously very talented! Still, the book is not an easy read or listen. It's very dense. If you like historical fiction that is accurate and poetic, I think you will like this book better than I did.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

So great to knit by.

When this story started, my daily chores came to an end. My whole being listened and I knitted to a remarkable story. The author wove a delicate story of human emotions. Well done!

14 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written

An absolute pleasure to read - reminiscent of Carson McCullers style. Storyline was original, fully developed, and very thought-provoking.

10 people found this helpful

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A tell of two families

A shot sounds and in an instant two neighbors lose their husbands; only Clyde, a man of sixteen, is left to take care of the men’s work. The prairie is cold and unforgiving for those unprepared for winter. Cora must put aside her guilt and beg for mercy from her neighbor for surely her children wouldn’t survive the winter. A story of sin, hurt, anger and forgiveness.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Addictive

What a wonderful mix of mystic and wonder!!! I love how the characters are portrayed and how the book unfolds! The characters grow and develop throughout the book to a satisfying ending that leaves the reader with hope and fulfillment!!!

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of my favorites!

Beautiful prose. Beautiful dialogue and story. I felt so incredibly lucky to be able listen to this story and feel not only connected to the characters as they grew, forgave and were forgiven, but also the land they were so attached to. Great book!

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Painfully long


I purchased this book because it had good reviews. I was disappointed. Not only was the narrative hard to listen to [Cora‘s voice was like nails on a chalkboard], It got tiring listening to all the long descriptions, characters’ thoughts, etc. Normally I would get into a book like this, it fell short for me.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent book

This book seems long at first. The story is told in a beautiful artistic way. All characters come to life with an emotional understanding. The moral fiber is strong and prevails. Christian values. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved the snippet of time

The varied descriptive words encapsulated me. I felt the prairie winds, and I smelled the earth. It was as though I was in each characters head experiencing their moments. I highly recommend this book as a get away from our busy life to remember there used to be a lot more physical work to do. We do not have it so bad.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Intriguing....and sooo boring

I finished this book because I was intrigued enough to want to know what happened, not because I enjoyed it. The narrator missed the point so that didn't help.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fi
  • 09-26-21

Mesmerising

I loved this book. the depth of the characters and the descriptive narrative allowed the imagination to see and feel the landscape and feel the emotions.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • llanlis
  • 06-20-21

Shakespeare's County review

Commuter-Belt Warwickshire in England is not exactly historic settlers' Wyoming and this book was a contrasting tonic to my life. I am encouraged that I enjoyed it so much - a book of strength and weakness, love and hate and sin and penance. I found the book's honesty and articulacy about particularly female characters' emotions really helpful to me with my own struggles even though I have so little in common with the characters, basic humanity aside. I found the love of and dependence on Nature compelling and infectious.

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  • C. J. Richardson
  • 08-02-20

Wonderful ❤️

Hawker brings the wildness and remoteness of the lives of American settlers during the second half of the 19th century in the most vivid way.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Antony B.
  • 02-24-20

slow to go, but you wont want it to end.

what a lovely book, very deep, you really wont want it to end,or at least a sequel...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shaun V. Hewitt
  • 01-02-20

Something different. Brilliant.

I've been totally immersed in the wilds of early America whilst listening to this book. The plot is so different from my usual listening (true crime, detective novels) and it has been a refreshing and engrossing change.
I can't fault the story, the plot or the performance, and I'm just sorry to leave these characters behind to get on with their lives without me. It's like I'm going home from a holiday and I won't be able to contact them again (because they don't have the internet on the wild open plains).
Thoroughly enjoyed and would heartily recommend.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jo L
  • 06-04-21

A rich human story beautifully told

I enjoyed this story of people trying to survive in a harsh setting with the reality of human fallibility.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mari
  • 01-12-21

Fascinating Era.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It is a fascinating period of history and tells the story of two very different women and their children, struggling to survive through the cold winter. It is a slow character study and whilst quite long it is totally absorbing.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-06-20

Dull narration

I found the narrater's voice very dull and lacking animation. The setting interested me and was pleased that the adult women became friends despite the tragedy and betrayal that had brought them together.