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Tour: Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted

Book details:

Book Title: Landscape of a Marriage

Author: Gail Ward Olmsted

Publication Date: July 29, 2021

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Page Length: 314 Pages

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A marriage of convenience leads to a life of passion and purpose. A shared vision transforms the American landscape forever.

New York, 1858: Mary, a young widow with three children, agrees to marry her brother-in-law Frederick Law Olmsted, who is acting on his late brother’s deathbed plea to "not let Mary suffer”. But she craves more than a marriage of convenience and sets out to win her husband’s love. Beginning with Central Park in New York City, Mary joins Fred on his quest to create a 'beating green heart' in the center of every urban space.

Over the next 40 years, Fred is inspired to create dozens of city parks, private estates and public spaces with Mary at his side. Based upon real people and true events, this isthe story of Mary’s journey and personal growth and the challenges inherent in loving a brilliant and ambitious man.

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4 out of 5 (very good)

LANDSCAPE OF A MARRIAGE is a historical fiction story based on true events and people. In fact, the author is distantly related to one of the main characters by marriage.

Instead of focusing on the man himself, we follow his wife, Mary, and see their life through her eyes. They had good times and, undeniably, bad times too. Mary fell in love with her husband of convenience, and he with her. That led them to a life of adventure and hardship, love and loss.

This was a great read, full of freeze-frame moments, stuck in time. The emotions come across clearly and help move this character-driven story forwards. Some of the real-life events were glossed over slightly and I would have liked to have known more, but then, was Mary involved in them anyway?

I will admit to getting lost in the times given. I relied on Mary to tell me that Marion had grown, or that John now forty-one, as there was no way I would remember from just seeing dates at the beginning of each chapter.

This was a historical fiction novel that I enjoyed and have no hesitation in recommending.

** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *


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Gail Ward Olmsted was a marketing executive and a college professor before she began writing fiction on a fulltime basis. A trip to Sedona, AZ inspired her first novel Jeep Tour. Three more novels followed before she began Landscape of a Marriage, a biographical work of fiction featuring landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, a distant cousin of her husband’s, and his wife Mary.

For more information, please visit her on Facebook and at

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Tour hosted by: The Coffee Pot Book Club

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