Historical Fiction Favorite


Gail Ward Olmsted
United States, Biographical HF, late 1800s, 316 pages

Landscape of a Marriage cultivates the relationship between Frederick Law Olmsted and his wife, Mary. Chronicling their forty-four years together, the story spans Olmsted’s work with the Union Army during the Civil War with the Sanitation Commission to his designing and building American landscape architectural landmarks, including: Central Park, the Arnold Arboretum and Emerald Necklace of Boston, the Chicago World’s Fair, and Stanford University’s campus. Yet, Landscape is not another Olmsted biography; it is Mary’s story, told from her point of view, as the woman behind the man. For isn’t it the quiet, hidden roots from which the mighty, showy flora reaches for greatness with its blooms? Gail Ward Olmsted (related to Frederick through her husband’s family) offers a story of love and respect without the sappy overdone writing of a romance novel. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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