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One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow

A Novel
Narrated by: Jackie Zebrowski
Length: 19 hrs and 2 mins
3.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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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.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • ShariAnna
  • 05-11-2019

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.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mel 123😊😂😄🐇👙
  • 20-10-2019

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!

8 people found this helpful

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 17-10-2019

Beautifully written

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

5 people found this helpful

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  • Diantha Roberts
  • 20-02-2020

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!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Terry
  • 31-10-2019

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bequia
  • 09-04-2020

Interesting story

Some inconsistencies in characters. Good over all. Excellent narrator. Use of color in descriptions was very good.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anycc
  • 11-02-2020

Sigh

This novel wants to be so many things and it is not. This is no work of classic literature of the American West. I suggest reading Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry... As a previous reviewer said "A great book to hear while knitting". If that doesn't sway you one way or the other...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Julianne
  • 18-12-2019

predictable

The characters do a lot of groaning on about plans we all know won't happen. Much of how these characters react and act is deeply predictable to the point where I was speaking out lines before the narrator got to them. The voice done for Nettie Mae is outright awful, like when a man tries to do a woman's voice, but the opposite, it's so jarring. The voice for Cora equally so. Nettie mae's was too seep and too gruff, cora's WAY too high and too meak. I didn't feel invested in any of the emotion these characters ended up having for one another by the end, I felt there wasn't much development in that before everyone fell in love and became friends. The constantly changing POV of the narrator started getting obnoxious, especially when it came to repeating parts of the story under someone elses voice, Buellah being the only one that narrates in first person to the reader outside of thoughts to herself. I really feel that this entire book could have benefited from another pass or two of editing. The descriptions of nature were beautiful. But she started getting repetitive. At some points she descrobes things with two or three different analogies. I don't get why Clydes hair and Buellahs hair are both not brown and not blonde, and indescribable, but the horse is yellow. Later Buellahs hair is sparrow colored. The dialogue and terminology wasn't 1800s enough for me, she refers to calico fabric half a dozen times. She doesn't specify what she means by this, and calico they way I think she meant it is not what calico meant to American settlers in the 1800s. She says some other things that made me question whether that word or phrase would be used then, I was slightly disappointed that the title didn't tie things up in the end, it's just a throw away line in the middle of the book, I suppose the reader is meant to surmise any further meaning there is there, but it's speculation for me, I wouldve rathered the author bring the whole thing full circle for me. The ending was boring. It was enough to keep me listening, but in the end, I've sat with it a couple days, and I just feel lit could have been improved greatly with a couple more editing passes.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Susanne
  • 12-11-2019

Engaging Story & Performance

Enjoyed very much! The character Beulah was excellent - carried the few weaker story elements.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tonya
  • 30-10-2019

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!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • C. J. Richardson
  • 02-08-2020

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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  • Antony B.
  • 24-02-2020

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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  • Shaun V. Hewitt
  • 02-01-2020

Something different.

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.