READERS’ REVIEWS for ‘Olga -A Daughter’s Tale’

Below are some of the reviews for my book which appear either on Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing or the reviewer’s Blog – and in some cases all four websites.  

star star star star starA moving story about a mother from the psychological lens …, November 11, 2014  PearlSee all my reviews
A moving story about a mother from the psychological lens of a daughter. It depicts interracial relationship and how offspring of such union faces complexity issues and struggles to keep one’s identity intact. Very touching.

star star star star star Olga: A Daughter’s Tale, October 27, 2014
By Croitiene ganMoryn “Cree” (Ocala, FL) – See all my reviews
A wonderfully written true story of the life of Olga by her daughter. Olga is born in Jamaica to a white mother and black father. The spirit of defiance and strength spans the ocean to England and a secret so terrible, Olga allows herself to be brought low for the sake of her child. Heritage, culture, social standing, genealogy and the prevailing attitudes of the period are all high-lighted in this first novel by the author. Excellent read!

Oct 20, 2014 Mia rated it  lovely re-telling of a mother’s story via her diaries
This book was really great. It centers around a large family who were somewhat of a scandal in Jamaica in the early part of the 1900’s because the mother and father were interracial. As the story unfolds, we follow the path of their daughter Olga, who goes to England to study for a brief time but never returns to Jamaica. After years pass, the family is told that Olga has died when in fact she was alive but ashamed because she had become an unmarried mother.  Trapped in London during the worst of the war as a nurse, Olga finds her way in the world as a single mother (which was considered a crime; single mothers were “unfit” to care for children and routinely families were broken up as a result) through hard work and sacrifice, raising her daughter Marie who does not learn about her true history until she is an adult. Through the research of this story, Marie is able to reconnect to her family in Jamaica and bring about a long-overdue reunion.

Wonderfully written and beautifully told story.

 A true and loving heart  October 5, 2014
Patricia
This book was very special. I could feel this woman’s heartfelt research and love. I recommend this book to others who want to slip into the poor class system and the loyalty some people have in their lives. What a different life she could have had if she could have trusted her loved ones but fear of consequences and the unknown wouldn’t allow it. I loved the story.

star star star star   This book was an easy read. The topic was very interesting and I September 6, 2014
BELIEVER
Enjoyable book. This book was an easy read. The topic was very interesting and I did not find the format a problem. The author wrote the book honestly and it describes some of the unspoken issues in Jamaica and England. It is so unfortunate that Olga carried such a long standing feeling of shame that it affected her entire life. Also it demonstrates how a cruel and thoughtless act ( by Marie’s father) had such a stifling effect on a young person’s (Olga’s) life. I am really interested in finding out so much more details and hope there is a follow-up to this book.

star star star star  Interesting memoir. July 9, 2014
L.L.Goss (RUSTON, LA, US)
A diary and a daughters curiosity are the beginnings of a discovery of who her mother really is. This is a story of a young Jamaican girl of mixed heritage who had a white mother and a black father. This was an unusual thing in the 1930’s and the story of her life in Jamaica and her later time in England is an often sad but interesting story. I found her courage, spirit and determination to live a good life and raise her child despite all the odds against her uplifting. She went from a life of privilege with servants to being a servant with grace and dignity and even though the changing of her circumstances were due to the cruelty and manipulation of others she never gave up.

Linda  I loved this book… So sad but with humorous parts that just kept me reading. It is a very honest story that shows how prejudice and hypocritical we can all be at points in our lives.

star star star star star  Interesting book!, March 25, 2014
barbarajgalloway@yahoo.com
Olga was a very interesting book about people moving from Britain to Jamaica to live. It is the story of one family and it tells a little about all the family members but especially about Olga.

star star star star  interesting historical account, March 25, 2014
Gail Paulics
This story gives a view of life in Jamaica and England during the war time and some of the possibilities of what various people went through. The pride, persistence, and love for her daughter was amassing

star star star   Interesting!, January 29, 2014
Sadie Blake “Yankee, but really a Rebel” (Lima, Ohio United States)
Holds your interest, actually is “worrisome” as. It hard to determine how this dear woman survived. I had trouble remembering the classifications of black, colored …the blatant racism is why I rated this book as such. Decide for yourself.

star star star star star  great book!, January 14, 2014 Jmm
This is one of those books – I was sorry to come to the end of the story. It is so informative and sets the surroundings so well. Truly enjoyable.

star star star star  star   January 5, 2014    Touching,
By NAGZ (USVI)  –     Love it! Took me about four days to finish reading this book. I just had to tune everything out and focus on this story. Heard similar stories of Island women leaving home an  moving to the mainland to make a better life..and the obstacles they all had to overcome. “Caribbean women are indeed strong women!”

 Nov 12, 2013 Cheryl, The Book Contessa   star star star star
I was touched by Marie-Thérèse Browne‘s account of her mother Olga’s journey through life. A tale worth telling, of life in Jamaica, family trials and prejudice, and Olga’s life-altering move to England. Olga deserved good things. She deserved to be happy. Many things happened through the course of her life that challenged her happiness.

star star star star  wonderful story September 30, 2013      By Beverly A. Lynn “loves amazon” (Houston, TX United States)
Thank you for sharing your family history. It was so interesting to read. It is well written and kept me interested to the end.

Feb 03, 2013 Elizabeth  star star star star
Normally I am more of a horror/thiller/fantasy fan but I must say this was an exceptional read. I loved the diary and letter between the family members format. You get a very real feel for all involved and as it is based on real history it makes for an excellent way to spend and afternoon in the sun. If you love history and want a very real look then this is a must read, and if you don’t you’ll probably like it anyway!

 star star star star Fascinating look at early 20th century Jamaica  April 26, 2013
 LH422 (Washington, USA)
This is a fascinating tale about a Jamaican family and the daughter who moves to
England in the years before WWII. Olga Browney was born and educated in
Kingston, the child of a white mother and black father. She and her siblings
navigate Jamaica’s racial politics and economic crises. In the 1930s Olga
travels to England to train in dance, and her life ends up following a path far
different from what she expected.  There is much that is interesting in
this book. The social and racial hierarchies of both Jamaica and England dictate
much about people’s lives. Browne’s discussion of life in Jamaica is beautiful.
I really enjoyed her prose. I was definitely engaged by Olga’s story.

My only real complaint is that I found the format of the book- a series of letters
and diary entries- to be somewhat clumsy. I think it would have been better had
it simply been written in a straight narrative style. Otherwise I enjoyed this
book.

     Wendy76 | Apr 11, 2013
Awesome reading.. great to run into some background on Jamaica and how it tied in to everything going in the world back then. Would have loved a few more details on what Olga did, the story kinda ends then skips forward substantially. Glad for the outcome and don’t we all have an A.M. somewhere in our tree?

  BREEZYWRITER  Apr 9, 2013
What a wonderful tribute to her Mother Marie Campbell has written! This story engaged me from the beginning – from the roots in Jamaica and on to London. The descriptions made me smell the flowers of Jamaica, feel the terror of living in London during the war, and experience the anguish of Olga when she couldn’t go back to see her family. I hope there’s a sequel!

 Skooshie | Feb 3, 2013
Normally I am more of a horror/thiller/fantasy fan but I must say this was an exceptional read. I loved the diary and letter between the family members format. You get a very real feel for all involved and as it is based on real history it makes for an excellent way to spend and afternoon in the sun. If you love history and want a very real look then this is a must read, and if you don’t you’ll probably like it anyway!

5 of 5 stars false Vallory rated it via Goodreads
December 30, 2012   As a family historian, I give three cheers to Ms. Browne for her wonderful genealogical work. As a writer, I am impressed with the weaving of historical clues into a family history tale that is both compelling and heartwarming. I recommend this book for those interested in family history, early interracial relationships or just looking for a fascinating true story.

 star star star star star  kattmartin amazing family history, November 13, 2012
This is a fantastic book with the layout of the book in diary and letter form very flowing to read. i had trouble putting the book down and ended up finishing it in two days in the wee hours of the morning.
Olga was such a remarkable and inspirational woman and had such a tremendous strength of character enabling her to rise above all the adversities that fate threw her way. to the writer’s credit and writing skills by the time i finished reading this book i felt a very strong connection with olga and her family.  I am recommending to all my friends to read “Olga’s Story”.

star star star star Ann “ann4fun” Olga is a strong loving person, November 24, 2012
Olga loves her family and can’t bear to disappoint them. Starting at this bedrock value, Olga’s choices make sense- even as the assumption of disappointment doesn’t hold. How a woman from a family of 11 children doesn’t know about the birds and the bees is a little stretch, but since its based on truth … I like the format of documents, letter and such. Climbing the family tree is a great pass time.

 star star star star star  Veronica I. October 9, 2012
I recently finished “Olga-A Daughter’s Tale”. It’s a daughter’s poignant & beautiful story of the courageous women in her family in England and Jamaica between World Wars One and Two. I was interested in this book because of its focus on the women in the author’s family as I am also researching my mother’s matrilineal line. The book is compelling and I also found it to have an almost cathartic effect as I read it during times my brain “got stuck” during my own research.

star star star star star  Cindy      Sep 13, 2012
I finished this book in one sitting.  It moved well, and it moved me. How courageous Olga was to keep her daughter and care for her against all odds.  The human spirit can truly be resilient when called upon.

  kstonya  Aug 31, 2012  I enjoyed the book. It brought out the differences that the different nationalities face when people love beyond color. Whenever a group of people try and force their belief on others there will be conflicts. As this daughter searched for her roots it can either lead to reunion or further separation. It showed the strife that broke this family apart.

 star star star star star  Beautiful, poignant story, May 26, 2012
Athene Five (USA)

Olga, A Daughter’s Tale by Marie Campbell traces a life from turn of the century Jamaica to today. Born into a hard-working but eccentric family of English ex-pats and native Jamaicans, Olga grows up in a childhood of genteel poverty but easy and happy tropical living. Eventually, she journeys to England to stay with her Aunt, a dark cloud on the family if only they would admit it, and her story takes on a different nature. Olga’s story is told through letters and musing of herself, her mother and her Jamaican aunt, and you can see where Olga gets her stubbornness and her moral strength to make the decision she does. Campbell has a quiet, straight-forward style that works well as a foil for the exciting and emotional family she records. This is a lovely novel, and a story that will stay with you.

star star star star star  Poignant and compelling tale of family generations, May 20, 2012
Janet E. Brown (Oakland, CA)
I read this on a whim, but I’m really glad I did. The “found documents” style (switching from diary entries, letters, newspaper articles, and even telegrams in order to transition to different POVs) drew me in quite deeply, and it was easy to connect with the characters. I learned a bit about Jamaican history and culture as well. Highly recommended!

 star star star star star Olga – A Daughter’s Tale, April 8, 2012
Susan Keefe (France)
I have always been interested in family history. Olga – A Daughter’s Tale, through diary entries and letters gives an amazing insight into life in Jamaica and England. Her courage and dignity makes this book a fascinating read.

flag sisterl2000 | Apr 1, 2012
  Olga: A Daughter’s Story took me to a place I have seldom gone except when reading about slavery – Jamaica during World War II. I enjoyed the book and felt for the characters as they tried to live between two worlds – black and white. The affection and determination displayed by the family was heart warming. Ms. Campbell did a great job of bring the culture alive and highlighting the poverty.
It wasn’t what I expected but am glad I was chosen to read the book.   Olga is really a very remarkable woman, many in her place would easily have taken the easy way out. Thanks to the author for sharing her mother’s story with everybody.

star star star star A Journey 20 Mar 2012 By  Noora
I started reading this book yesterday and was struck by the beauty of the language and the descriptive qualities of the book. I loved seeing the drawings in the book and reading the diaries and letters that were written . I think she is a very gifted writer and would look forward to reading more books from her in the future .

star star star star star  Olga – A Daughter’s Tale ,26 Feb 2012  samaco
What an amazing book, I travelled the journey alongside Olga I cried and smiled. An amazing story in journal form. Through my reading I feel privileged to have known such a brave strong woman.Thankyou for giving me an insight into her life.  

  star star star star star A Very Moving Read!,21 Feb 2012 Kaska (Northamptonshire)
This review is from: Olga – A Daughter’s Tale (Kindle Edition)
I’ve just finished reading this & I have to start by saying I encourage everyone to read it.  It is written via diaries & letters by Marie’s own family during 1900 – 1950’s which make it an extraordinary view into the lives of these people. I have learnt so much from this angle that I just wouldn’t have learnt from a history book or autobiography.

It was a real eye opener to learn of the class system then in Jamaica, where coloured’s viewed blacks as below them. There are some very interesting notes in the diaries relating to this & so much more but I don’t want to mention too much incase I spoil the read for you.  The book will tug at your heart, & you will feel moments of anger & joy, compassion & pain. But above all admiration for Olga.

The story will show you what it was like to live in Jamaica & England during 1900-1950 for this family & the events of a mixed race marriage.  I have only touched upon a little of what this book holds & tells. There is so much.  I’m so glad I found it & read it.

 star star star star star A Beautiful & Inspirational Story of the Power of Love
Feb 10, 2012  Luey Anderson “Thursday’s Child” (Seattle, WA USA) – See all my reviews

I loved Marie Campbell’s story of her family history, specifically based on her mother’s (once hidden) life; the choices she made at critical junctures and how they affected generations of the family. “Olga-A daughter’s Tale” is full of magical, interesting details of life in Jamaica and graphic images of life in England during the period between the two World Wars. I learned a lot about the history of Jamaica and England as well as relating deeply to the pivotal personal story of a Mother, Daughter, and Family’s love that transcends time and circumstance. Marie blends the actual correspondence between her mother and other family members with a fluid grace in her prose that radiates with love, humor, drama and compassion that will expand your heart, mind and soul. I am waiting eagerly for the next part of the story!

diane.frank.——@——net to Marie
I recently bought a Kindle, due to painful hands, and amongst the titles that my daughter in law put on for me was Olga – A daughter’s tale.   I read it today and really did’nt want to put it down.    You write so well that I really felt that I knew the people and cared what happened to them, and I am so glad that your Mum was reunited with her family and that you are now in touch with them all.  As you say, your Mum really was a very strong and courageous woman, and I thank you for sharing her story and experiences with us.

Best wishes,
Diane. (P.S.  I know your were writing a personal history, but you are a really good writer and I hope you continue.)

Megan Dickson says: January 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm
I really enjoyed this story. I could not put it down, and I read it in two sittings. The diary entries made me feel as if I was right there with the writer, experiencing Jamaica and London. However, it would have been nice if the diary entries had dates on them, at least the year. What happened to Olga and Marie after they left the Langfords? I wish the story did not end there. I would also have liked to hear Marie’s side of the story while she was at boarding school.

 peter clayton  October 23, 2011 9:20 PM 
“Olga A Daughter’s Tale” was to me a mesmerizing exercize in a daughter’s devotion to chronicle the trials and tribulations of her mother’s life. The settings are fascinating, the social controversies are still timely, and the prose permeates your mind the way a warm bath soothes your soul: it just does because it’s deliciously perfect in a fundamental, uncomplicated way. Absolutely a pick-it-up, finish it an hour later thoroughly satisfyling experience.

Rose Ann rated it 4 of 5 stars
Wow…what a treasure the author has written for her family! So happy she has shared with the rest of us!   I can’t tell you how much I admire Olga. All that she went through and sacrificed for her daughter. So full of courage and her strong faith.  I also enjoyed learning bits about Jamaica.  I really enjoyed how the book was written in letters, journal entries, and telegrams.

Absolutely love the author’s last sentence!

“If the maxim is true, that daughters eventually become like their mother then all I can say is… lucky me.”       Yes…you were blessed with an amazing mother!

Agnes Shapiro  Jan 27, 12 4 of 5 stars
Wasn’t sure I would enjoy this book. You see I am more into mysteries and this clearly wasn’t one of my usual genres. But I got hooked on Becky and enamored with the plantation in Jamaica and all its beauty
I especially love Olga’s diary as I too love to write in journals. Her diary took you onto her life not only in Jamaica but also her adventures in London. She made you feel like you were right there with her. This book combined love of family, sadness, and a special beauty in the words of a young girl. It took you into the beauty of jamaica and i felt i was right there while reading about it.

Not only was Olga’s diary a well written story but her letters home are inspirational and uplifting. I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a change in the genre you usually read.

Jocelynn Geick rated it 5 of 5 stars Jan 05, 2012
This book was a surprise read for me. I Loved it! Not only did I get to learn a bit about the class system,economy, and how people lived in old Jamaica, I was able to see how it was in the Second World War in London and get a glimpse of how people felt about coloreds and single mothers all alone in a war torn country. Thank you for sharing this Marie-Therese Browne.

 star star star star starJanuary 6, 2012 Louis RSee all my reviews
This review is from: Olga – A Daughter’s Tale (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughtly wholesome read,I couldnt put the book down,A great insight in to a very strong Jamican womens life who found herself in difficult circumtances in a terrible time in our history.It made me weep and laugh at how events unfolded and blossemed.Buy it you will find it enlightening

jbronderblogs | Jan 3, 2012 | 
We start the story with an English couple, John and Lucy Sinclair, as they travel to Jamaica to start a new life. While there, Lucy convinces her sisters Martha and Becky to come visit. While on a visit, Becky falls in love with Henry, a black man, of course this is frowned upon and the Browne’s become the talk of everyone. Martha feels her chance to make a living is ruined by Becky’s imprudence and returns to London.
Becky has 11 children from Henry but the marriage ends in divorce. Of the younger children, Olga is one of them. Olga recounts events around her family and in Jamaica. She then goes to London to live with her alcoholic auth Martha while trying to apply at a dance school. When she is turned down, she meets another lady from Jamaica that inspirers her to become a nurse around the time of World War II . After a tragic event, Olga is kicked out of nursing school.
Because of the event, she feels she has brought shame on her family and cuts her ties with them. Olga then goes on to make a living no matter what she faced. At times her life is tough when money is low and it seems like people look down on her for the color of her skin. But she never gives up hope.
Marie, Olga’s daughter, writes this story from journal entries, newspaper article, and interviews with her family. I am impressed with how Olga got through everything that was put in front of her. She is an inspiration to women everywhere. I have no complaints to the story. This is a great story that you will want to read.
I received this story free from the author for an honest review. Thank you for the privilege of letting me read it.

 Cassandra Crawford rated it 4 of 5 stars  9 October 2011
This book is entirely written as diary entries. I enjoyed the book very much and it was interesting to read about how race relations were in Jamaica.

roberta722 (Barnes & Noble Review) October 14, 2011   star star star star star Loved!

Deborah‘s review  Oct 04, 11 5 of 5 stars
Marie-Therese Browne’s “Olga – A Daughter’s Tale,” brings to life Jamaica and the Jamaican social and class structure to England and World War II . The story is mainly about Olga, yet the writer introduces the reader to olga’s family and the scenary of their lives. This is a wonderful piece of literature to read. Through letters and diary entries the reader learns of Olga’s life and the ultimate personal tragedy that keeps her from ever returning to her beloved family and Jamaica.I enjoyed this book and would like to know more of Olga’s life in England. A fasinating story that must be read.

sedelia | Nov 22, 2011 
Olga — A Daughter’s Tale is a story rich with historical and cultural detail, intrigue, and family. It takes place during a very interesting time period in both Jamaica’s and England’s history. Besides being about family, love, and doing what it takes to get through tough circumstances, this is also a study on the character of people. There are all sorts of people represented in this novel, and it’s interesting to see how their actions affect other people, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

However, I don’t think the diary format was the best choice for this novel. First of all, the entries weren’t dated — not even a year was given, so I was confused as to when exactly events were taken place. Secondly, there were times when the descriptions or historical information didn’t fit in with the voice of the person writing the entries. The benefit of having diary entries is that the reader gets to feel close to the character, and while I felt close to Olga near the end of the novel, I wasn’t feeling that connection at the beginning. I think short stories, or even a chapter format would have been better.

Despite that, this is a great story. It’s both heartbreaking and inspirational. And to know that this is non-fiction and not just a made up story makes it even better. Besides being a quick read (I couldn’t put this book down!), it is an inspiring story. I like books that make me think after I’ve put them down and make me want to learn more about the stuff it brings up. I now have a few books on hold at my library about Jamaica and World War II in England, because I couldn’t get them out of my head after reading this book.

This is a book everyone can appreciate, because it’s about real life. We all have family drama (and Olga certainly has that!), and all our families have their quirks. We have all been in a tough spot at sometime or another, and we have all had to find our way out of that tough spot. That’s what at the heart of this novel. One girl’s path to becoming a woman, an event that changed her life, and the decisions she made after that. It’s beautiful and it makes a good story. I am so glad Marie decided to write down her mother’s tale.

star star star star star a wonderful true story that needs to be read,October 4, 2011
D. Martinez “Bookdreamer” (Texas) – See all my reviews
Marie-Therese Browne’s “Olga – A Daughter’s Tale,” brings to life Jamaica and the Jamaican social and class structure to England and World War II . The story is mainly about Olga, yet the writer introduces the reader to olga’s family and the scenary of their lives. This is a wonderful piece of literature to read. Through letters and diary entries the reader learns of Olga’s life and the ultimate personal tragedy that keeps her from ever returning to her beloved family and Jamaica.I enjoyed this book and would like to know more of Olga’s life in England. A fasinating story that must be read.

Danni  A Story of Great Courage – must read!,September 18, 2011

star star star star star This review is from: Olga – A Daughter’s Tale (Kindle Edition)
This is a truly courageous story; one which should be adapted for the big screen as it has all the essential ingredients for it to be a huge success; war, politics, prejudice, the practice of Obeah, love and cruelty. It recounts the remarkable true life story of Olga Browney and portrays the vibrancy, innocence, resilience and humanity Olga possessed during incredibly challenging times. The courage of her daughter and author Marie as she uncovers her mothers past is beyond all words as the story at times is confronting. However Marie weaves this amazing story by using family letters and newspaper clippings in such a way that you can actually smell the beautiful flowers of Jamaica, see the blueness of the ocean and highlights the true compassion and love a mother and child share. I could not put this book down and have shared it amongst my friends. The image of the little blue swan will stay with me forever. Bravo!.

PeggySee all my reviews    star star star star star
Wonderful Read!,September 9, 2011
This review is from: Olga – A Daughter’s Tale (Paperback)
‘A kind, naive and gentle girl, Olga came to London from Jamaica in 1939 to live with her malevolent, alcoholic aunt and intending to stay only six months. But world events, personal tragedy and malicious intent all combined to prevent her from returning to her family in Kingston.

Based on a true story and written using diary entries and letters ‘Olga-A Daughter’s Tale’ is about cruelty, revenge and jealousy inflicted on an innocent young woman and about her moral courage, dignity, resilience and in particular love.’ from the author’s description. I loved this book! I started it late in the afternoon and couldn’t put it down until I finished and was left wanting more!

This is a story of how one persons selfish cruelty changed the course of a beautiful young woman’s life forever

I enjoyed the history of Jamaica, which I knew nothing about. The sketches of the plants and birds of the region, the descriptions of the plantations and towns made you feel like you where there.

The courage of Olga’s mother, Becky, to buck societies ‘rules’ and go with her heart even though it cost her dearly was an inspiration.Then there’s Olga…gentle, loving, trusting Olga. One brief instant in time and her life was forever changed. My heart hurt for her and the unjustified shame she carried all those years. But, she never let it change who she was, never became bitter or hateful. Her sweetness and faith in God was amazing considering. I liked Olga, I found myself rooting for her and railing against the evil selfishness that came against her.

I liked the diary form of the book but would have liked to have had dates with each entry to help me keep the timeline better in my head as I read. And I am dying to know the ‘rest’ of Olga’s story now…What happened after she left the Langfords? Did life get easier for her? Did she ever have someone to love her and share her life with? Did she get to see her remaining family in Jamaica after they found her? There is still so much to tell.

Olga is one of those characters that will be in my thoughts for quite a while. Well done Marie! You told your mom’s story well! I give this book 5 stars. Read it!!

Cdnwren | Sep 18, 2011 ( )
I quite enjoyed this book. An interesting family history spanning from England to Jamaica, especially considering the racism of the times. I agree with the previous review that I would love for Marie-Therese Browne to write an autobiography of her own life!

furrysmurf | Sep 7, 2011  ( )
I got this book as a member giveaway. What a great book. I really enjoyed it. I felt like the author took me on a journey – to Jamaica, England in WWII, and into the lives of several determined women. Telling the story in letters and diary entries really worked because it gave me a glimpse into each person. At the end, I wanted more of the story

mldavis2 | Sep 11, 2011  
This is essentially the author’s research to learn the history of her own mother who left Jamaica, lived in England and died with a sense of personal shame. It is a bit slow getting started but ends as with a poignant sense of dismay, sadness and pride. It is not a novel in any sense of the word, but an interesting history from the pages of ethnic humanity and a daughter’s quest to reveal her mother’s secrets, put together as a series of diary entries..

I read this in eBook format as a Member Giveaway book in exchange for an honest review.

Alex rated it
This true story of the author’s mother and grandparents over the 1900-1950s period is told in the form of fictionalised letters and diary entries. These generations moved between Jamaica and England, and it was interesting to get an insight into the lives of English emigrants in Jamaica and vice versa.

Olga moves from Jamaica to London in early 1939 and is unable to return home due to the war. The author has done a wonderful job of taking the individual events and memories she has been told about and weaving these into a cohesive and poignant story.

The earlier section of the book is about the previous generation that came fromEngland to Jamaica.  Some of the diary entries from Olga’s mother and aunt seemed to be imparting information a little bit too objectively – the background information that was inserted into the diary entries primarily for the benefit of the reader sometimes came across as a little forced. However this wasn’t an issue with the letters, which would have been going to family members who needed those explanations, and the letters were nicely balanced between the objective and the subjective. Olga’s diary entries themselves have a distinctive and authentic voice and it is her very moving story which forms the bulk of the book.

Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars
A glimpse into the private lives and writings of the author’s family members, mainly her mother and aunts. Interesting information about racial issues as well as society in Jamaica. I learned a lot by reading this. I also enjoyed each victory and was saddened by each downfall and loss. I would have liked a few more chapters of what happened between the historical accounts and the “50 years later” information. So much must have happened in between. Did Olga ever marry. How did things turn out for Marie, the author, Olga’s daughter? I felt as if I knew them in some personal way.

Cathy T rated it  
This was a well thought out story of a family saga involving Jamaica and London England . I found this book to be thought provoking and insightful and how you can learn so much from your family . This was a great read and I want to thank the author for selecting me to review it . I loved it clearly a winner in my book .

Onionspark | Aug 25, 2011 ( )
A really interesting story about a family and specifically, about the author’s mother, a girl from Jamaica with a white mother and a black father, who travels to England and decides to train to become a nurse when she is stranded there during the war. It’s an interesting peek into the lives of Jamaicans and the mind of one strong woman determined to raise her child alone.

 Review of Olga: A Daughter’s Tale,  September 4, 2011 star star star star star
Esmeowl12See all my reviews
Olga: A Daughter’s Tale by Marie-Therese Browne is a beautiful story of a Jamaican family at the turn of the 20th century. I did not expect to enjoy the book as much as I did. As it was, I could hardly put it down and finished it in a day.Several themes are discussed in the book, including the fascinating history of Jamaica, that I knew nothing of and found very interesting. The class system of whites, coloreds and blacks really opened my eyes to prejudice world-wide.Olga Browney’s family history is documented. Her white mother, from England, married a black man from Jamaica and was disowned by her parents, and for all intents and purposes, her sister, as well. They had eleven children with Olga being the third youngest, born in 1915. The family was wealthy by Jamaican standards.

In 1939, Olga goes to England to stay with her aunt, planning to stay for six months. When World War II erupts in Great Britain, her plans change and she enrolls in nursing school. An unexpected pregnancy forces her to abandon her nursing career. After baby Marie is born, Olga holds a series of jobs to support herself and her child. Olga refuses to tell her family in Jamaica about the baby and the circumstances of her birth, even when she is desperate for money.

This story is tragic not only in the events that occur, but because it is true. Olga’s courage and tenacity are admirable. I wish I could have met her.

Review by: Michele Minor on Aug. 31, 2011:  A Look At Jamaican and British Society star star star star
This is tale of both Jamaica and England. Olga in born in Jamaica to a white mother and a black father which was frowned upon in the twenties and thirties in Jamaica. The writer does show the color prejudice in the book,even among the blacks where they are broken up into the blacks who are darker skinned and the coloureds who are lighter skinned and are of a higher social class. There is also a double standard in Jamaica where white men can have babies with black or coloured women but it is frowned upon for a white woman to have a baby with a black or coloured man. When Olga is raped during World War II in London and then becomes pregnant by her rapist we see how single never married moms are looked down upon in that society even if the woman was raped. England was moralistic as well during this time since a young woman could get kicked out of nursing school for getting pregnant out of wedlock and there was no sex education for young women at the time. This book is a good commentary of British and Jamaican society in the thirties and the forties.

Dignity & pride in the face of cruelty & prejudice. A true story  star star star star star Swizzlestick (Boston) – See all my reviews

What a poignant true tale.
A young Jamaican girl, whose mother was white, and father black, goes to England just before the outbreak of WW2 in the hope of becoming a dancer.  The dance school cannot accept her, and so she turns instead to nursing, a career that she loves. She longs to qualify and return to her family in Jamaica and make them proud of her.

Naive, religious, timid, she becomes the victim of a callous encounter, and with an illegitimate child she can no longer be accepted as a nurse. She must find ways and means to support her little girl, and is prepared to endure any humiliation as long as she can give her child a good education. She is too ashamed to let her family in Jamaica learn what has happened to her.

Her story is written by her daughter, mainly in diary form. Olga suffers because of the colour of her skin, but also receives much kindness from nursing staff and people with influence. However, with a small child, finding work and keeping a job is not easy. Throughout her ordeals she shows no sign of self-pity or bitterness. She gets on with her life as best she can to raise her child.

I can’t remember where I saw this book mentioned; I think it was on Facebook, but I am so glad that I followed up and bought it. I became so attached to Olga that I have written to her daughter to ask for further news about her, so I think the author has done an excellent job of portraying a memorable woman of great dignity and courage.

toups-dorseySee all my reviews  ( )
This review is from: Olga – A Daughter’s Tale (Kindle Edition)
This is the kind of book that makes you want to curl up on your favorite chair with a glass of iced tea or hot chocolate and become captivated for a few hours. I read this book over the course of two evenings and absolutely enjoyed it. Olga – A Daughter’s Tale is a must read.

Review by: Danette Dorsey on Aug. 05, 2011 : star star star star star
This is the kind of book that makes you want to curl up on your favorite chair with a glass of iced tea and become captivated for a few hours. I read this book over the course of two evenings and absolutely enjoyed it. Olga – A Daughter’s Tale is a must read.

Review by: Kyria Wilson on July 30, 2011 : star star star star
This is a story of both England and Jamaica, the people and cultures of both countries and the racism that existed there during the early 1900s. Olga, the daughter of a White English woman and a Black Jamaican man, goes to London to study dance and ends up living in London as a colored single woman during WWII. She has some hardships due to her race and her social status but gets through them in the end.

I liked this book. It is written in journal entry form, both from the viewpoint of Olga, who is the main character, as well as her mother, Becky and her Aunt Lucy. It also has a few newspaper articles and letters from others thrown in. It flows easily and I did keep turning the pages to find out what would happen next.

It talks about the prejudices of color in Jamaica, even between blacks and coloreds, who were the lighter skinned blacks. It speaks of obeha, or voodoo, and how it was outlawed in Jamaica for a long time. It talks about the war and some of the stresses there were being in London at the time.

This book was thought provoking. I always like hearing a story in a voice that I can understand. Olga’s voice was just right.

margaretsings | Jul 9, 2011 | ( )
I love stories about family histories! It is always full of amazingly strong people who have endured incredible situations. This book is an excellent example of just that. A wonderful insight to Jamaica’s colonial days and to the heart of it’s people. One of my personal favorites this year!

induhquietplace | Jul 8, 2011 | ( )
Olga – A Daughter’s Tale is told through diary entries of various women, letters, and telegrams. Each reveals a simple picture, and when put together, you have an album of an amazing woman’s life.It had me weeping and laughing out loud in turns, and by the end, I felt I knew Olga/Carmen, even though I was born nearly a century after her.Sacrifice, injustice, and courage abound in this book, along with malice, greed, and fear.Read this book.

tigerlillee | Jul 17, 2011 | ( )
Olga- A Daughters Tale is a story told through letters, diary entries and newspaper articles. It is about Olga Browney, the ninth of eleven children. Born in 1915 to an English mother and a Jamaican father.Olga- A Daughter’s Tale is about life as a coloured Jamaican and the struggle with racism and disadvantages.Jamaica in those times (1900s to World War 2) was very much like London with the emphasis on class. White Jamaicans were always looking down on the coloured and black Jamaicans and they had less opportunities.Olga- A Daughter’s Tale was written by Olga’s daughter Marie who researched her family after a long separation.The story is quite sad is many ways, Olga fell pregnant and separated herself from her family to protect them the scandal of an unwed mother and child.She worked many years as a servant to wealthy English families to provide Marie with a good education and opportunities. But in doing so denied herself the loving support of her mother, father and 10 siblings.I didn’t realise at first that this was a true story but when I realised that Marie was Olga’s daughter, it made it more emotional for me, so real.This was such a wonderful book to read and I highly recommend it to other readers who enjoy biographies, war time stories or just non fiction in general.

I would like to thank Library Thing for the donation of this book, it was sent to me through the Member’s Giveaways program.

sringle1202 | Jul 27, 2011 | ( )
I absolutely loved this book and read it quickly over the course of two mornings. I have always been fascinated with history. I also have always been interested in learning more about my family history. This sparked that interest even more. I loved the Browne family history and learning more about Jamaica. I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down. I am hoping for the author to follow up with an autobiography of her own life from childhood until now. That would be a great way to keep the family history alive!

njmom3  rated it star star star star star
An amazing story of the history of a place, a family, and one amazing woman – Olga. It’s even more amazing because it’s a true story. The story takes us from Jamaica to England and through a lifetime. It is a story of courage and of love of family. A great tribute written by Marie Campbell to honor her mother. I loved it! Thank you for sharing your mother’s story with us.

L_manning rated it star star star star star
What an amazing story! This book starts with Lucy Sinclair, a young wife who moves from England to Jamaica with her husband. Her sisters soon follow, and younger sister Becky soon creates a bit of a scandal by marrying a black man. Becky has 11 children, and this is where Olga’s story begins. Olga is a sweet girl who always wants to be good, but she is a bit naive at times. Her family goes through their own adventures and scandals. Olga goes to England and eventually becomes stranded due to World War II. In England she endures the trials and tragedy of war, along with a few personal problems that occur. Throughout it all Olga remains remarkably resilient and courageous. She is determined to do the best she can at all she does, and she manages to take care of herself even in dire circumstances.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is that it is a true story.   The story is told through a series of letters, newspaper clippings, and diary entries. I found this to be a marvelous way to get into the different character’s personalities. I enjoyed this way of telling the story. I found it to be an effective way to tell everything that happened without unnecessary amounts of long exposition. There were many topics of great interest to me. Olga’s life was made much more difficult by the racism she faced in Jamaica and England. Another very interesting part to me were the descriptions of life in London during the war. You get a feel for how frightening it must have been to try and go on with your life while bombs were falling.

I enjoyed this book so much, and it really makes me want to go look into my family history. While I may not have relatives with a life as exciting as Olga’s, I certainly think there are stories of interest to me. This book was very interesting and quick to read. It shows the good and bad parts of what happened to a family, and Olga persevered through it all. Olga is a remarkable woman, and I’m glad that I got to read her story.

Cindy Borgne rated it star star star star star
This story is a great read that brings with it wisdom to be gained based on real life events. It’s not your typical novel because it’s told through a series of letters and diary entries. At first I didn’t think that this format would interest me, but the more I read the more I found it compelling.

Most of the diary entries and letters are from three women: Lucy, Becky and Olga. Through their eyes, I learned interesting and well described details about Jamaican beliefs and customs.    I also learned what it was like in England during World War Two. The three women are likable and down to earth types. Lucy and Becky were originally from England and it was interesting to see how they adapted to Jamaica. They even became somewhat caught up in the dark magic practiced by Jamaicans.

The women all experience hard times, and Olga is the one who had the roughest life. There were times she frustrated me, but overall her courage and determination amazed me. Even after I was done reading, I couldn’t help thinking about her and what she accomplished considering her situation.

If you’re looking for the intensity of the typical genre novel, this isn’t it. The format (diaries and letters) basically means the story is told, and telling always tones down any intensity. Yet, I continued to want to get back to it. The strongest points about this story are that it’s about real people, and therefore the characterization is excellent. The story is so well written it puts you right into the time period and locations. Readers who enjoy history and genealogy are going to be especially interested. I highly recommend it.

Lynn rated it  star star star star star
Olga- A Daughters Tale is the story of one family and their trials and tribulations that they have gone through. Marie-Therese (Browne) Campbell would never had known about her family in Jamaica. A true story that deals with prejudice, deceit, cruelty all heaped on women during the war. When her mother was sick in the hospital if she had died Marie never would have known about the family behind in Jamaica. It’s a fast read that is strictly taken from diaries not only from her mother Olga but her great aunt Lucy and her grandmother.

As she relates how the family ended up in Jamaica from England and how her grandmother at that time married a black man which was highly frowned upon. Olga goes to England to attend a dance school and live with her Aunt Martha, whom she soon learns is a liar and an alcoholic. With the advent of the war she is unable to return to Jamaica. When she is raped by an army doctor she did not realize she could get pregnant and that now ends her training to be a nurse and she is forced to leave that position.

As we follow the life of Olga who was not about to give up her child, even though she falls on hard times, she manages to send her to a good Catholic Boarding school for a time. In all this time she never writes home as she feels this would bring shame to her family. In the end her daughter Marie places an ad in the Jamaica Paper and after 50 years Olga finally talks once again to her family and Marie now has a connection.

This is a powerful story of a close knit family that takes the reader through the marriages, births of children and the war and how the family drifts apart as some moved to the United States . Through their family history, their heritage and their culture and how the war and events of that time separated one young lady from her entire family. Did Marie ever get to meet her father, No he also moved to the United States and died in an accident, more than likely never knowing he had a daughter in England.

If you like Biographical genre’s then I feel you will enjoy this book. Would make a great movie.

Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club  *****
Marie-Therese’s account of life in Jamaica in the 1900’s through the eyes of a London born and bred family is remarkable. Written in the combining style of letters and diary entries the detail is beautiful and the story one that is timeless. The trials asserted on women are indicative of what life was like during those times and a part of the history of the author herself.  I truly enjoyed this book.   Anyone interested in the life of early Jamaica and the 1900’s will definitely want to read this book.

Whea   rated it star star star star star
Olga – A Daughter’s Tale is told through diary entries of various women, letters, and telegrams. Each reveals a simple picture, and when put together, you have an album of an amazing woman’s life.  It had me weeping and laughing out loud in turns, and by the end, I felt I knew Olga/Carmen, even though I was born nearly a century after her.  Sacrifice, injustice, and courage abound in this book, along with malice, greed, and fear.  Read this book.

Review by: Margaret  (Smashwords)
This is a wonderful family legacy type story that I truly enjoyed!  It gave an insight to early Jamaican colonial days and much that it’s people endured. One Of my favorite books this year!

Mandy rated it star star star star star
Cover
: I thought the cover was okay when I first received the book, but after reading the story I looked at the cover a second time. That second look endeared the cover to me. I like to think the old photographs and color drawings on the cover are personal mementos from the author’s, now gone, family members … only the author knows for sure if they are.

Plot: The back cover states this book is written in the form of diary entries and old letters … I would rather like to believe these chapters are reprints of actual diary entries and old letters.

Becky travels to Jamaica to visit her sister, Lucy, and decides she does not want to return to London. During her visit, she falls in love with a man … the result of which causes them to be the gossip of Jamaica. They marry and have eleven children, Olga being one of them.

Years later, Olga travels to London because she wishes to attend dance school. Due to a series of unfortunate events, Olga is unable to return to Jamaica when originally planned and decides to attend nursing school. Sadly, naive Olga becomes a victim and now feels she can no longer communicate or visit her family in Jamaica. She feels her secret is so huge and unforgiving that she becomes reclusive and takes whatever menial jobs she can to earn wages.

Eventually, the truth comes out and the Browney family is reunited. The sad part is that some of Olga’s family died believing Olga to be dead years before, thanks to one particularly cruel, and I believe jealous, member of the family.

Main Characters:  Becky – I love Becky. She had spunk, tenacity and didn’t give one whit what society thought of her or her actions. I understand Becky because I was in her place not too long ago. I applaud Becky and will forever be proud of her and what she stood for.

Sydney – The eldest son of Becky – He had to become the man of the house after Becky kicked her husband out of the home. Sydney was sometimes cruel to the other ten children, but thought he did his best by them when he could.

Martha – A spiteful, bitter, jealous, hypocrite of a lady – She was Becky and Lucy’s sister who lived in London earning wages as a seamstress for a theater.

Olga – Naive, stubborn, proud, untrusting, self-depreciating … These are a few adjectives that describe Olga. She was a complex mixture of strong and weak. It felt as though she struggled with wanting to be taken care of and being proud of the small accomplishments she made in providing for herself and her daughter.

Overall:  I have a strong desire to learn my own ancestry, so knowing the author researched her family history and based this book on that history intrigued me. I would have loved to have gotten to know Becky and Olga. I rooted for both of them throughout the book and to know they actually existed makes me wish I were a part of their family tree.

To say I was drawn to this book or that I loved it is not enough. I can say that, after reading it, it still resonates within me.

Debolina Raja Gupta rated it star star star star star
Marie self-published the book in 2007 for close family and friends, but it was not until the year 2010 that she thought of starting to market the book. The book is based on real events, chronicling the life of Olga, a young coloured girl, who went to London in 1939 for only a few months, but who could never return back to her family back in Kingston due to world events, tragedy and victimization.

The beauty of Olga: A Daughter’s Tale, is that it draws from real events and news. The author has done a thorough research and the same is evident in her use of real newspaper cuttings, dating as back as the year 1900, she has used real ads that were used in those days, giving us a ‘real’ glimpse into the situation of coloured and ‘black’ people at a time when slavery had just been abolished or was being abolished. The dates, the years, are all well researched and genuine.

The story of Olga begins way before Olga will be introduced to the reader, the intention being to give us a complete understanding of the history and background of the events that are to take place as Olga will be introduced later.

The characters are well-drawn and etched in our minds for a long time. As you turn the pages, the events keep unfolding in front of your eyes, almost as if you have been transported to a different time and world altogether and are viewing everything in person. The book also shares old B&W photographs that help us understand the times and circumstances better.

What I really loved about the book was that though it has been written by a person from the other side of the globe, and the characters, as well as the story, is based in a part of the world that I have never been in, it was really easy for me to identify with the characters and settings.

For all you readers here in India, this book is really a wonderful read, especially as it also gives a very detailed glimpse into the life, cultures and traditions of a race and people that we may not have experienced in person, but will love once we get to know them.  The writing style is flowing and easy to read through quickly.

One very interesting thing I noticed in the book is the voice of the book. Marie has used diary entries to tell us of all the events that happened..check out about her style of writing in the interview I am going to do with her.  The book is filled with character and memories. The pages are made beautiful with sketches, diary entries, old newspaper advertisements and cut-outs.

Eva Coppersmith rated it star star star star star
My full review can be found on my blog.

http://vampirekiss1967.blogspot.com/

******

Goldy rated it star star star star star
(click on Goldy to see profile)

Inkygurl44 rated it star star star star star
(click on Inkygurl44 to see profile)

Barbara Hightower “BabsBookBistro”  rated itstar star star star star
A fascinating true story that touched my life. Olga, a remarkable woman leaves her family behind in Jamaica to go to London. Her dreams of attending a dance school was not as she has planned. She comes through some of the toughest times anyone should not bare, but shines right on through. Olga is timid and naive at times, but works her way through it.

I loved this book one I rarely read books like this. Olga took my breath away leaving me with wanting to know more about what happens to her and her little girl Marie. I also like the facts about London and Jamaica the book flows with ease. It is never dull and you will not want to put this book down.

A truly amazing read!

Reviews from sites other than Amazon, Goodreads and Smashwords:

I’ve really enjoyed reading your family story. It’s an incredible tale and it is really beautifully written. I think it is a really fantastic book though and I wish you the best of luck.

Vicky McGeown Harper Collins UK

*****

 Hi Marie.  Thank you for your beautiful book Olga. I was able to read this book while on the Pacific Sun on my cruise. I loved every page as you showed how proud you were of your mother and although you may have wished Olga could have had that relationship with her mother and perhaps her father you understood her decision not to return to Jamaica. Shame of what has happened in ones life can hold that person back in many areas. it would be wonderful for all of us to accept what happens be up front and release some of the bagage we carry with us for the rest of our life. I guess it is the way we carry that bagage that is important. Thank you once again and could you let me know were I can purchase a copy of Olga.

Many Thanks Bev Earl

*****

Dear Marie,

Thank you for providing a copy of your book to me at the writer’s festival last week.  What an interesting account!  At first glance I was not much moved to read it at all, but after starting I finished the whole in just two sittings.

It is a balanced blend of human interest, global politics and social insight.  Were the diary entries used verbatim?  I have passed it on with instructions that it is to be read and circulated, not placed on a shelf.

Good luck for success with your endeavors.

Sincerely
Dr Andrew Katelaris

*****

A story about heritage, identity, and belonging.  This book is a beautifully narrated tale of one family’s experiences of hardship, discrimination and love.  Set in Jamaica and London between the years of 1900 and post war England, the reader is taken on a journey with one family through history and cultural change. 

I enjoyed reading this self-published book based on the author’s discovery of her family and, in particular, her mother’s history.  It is narrated in the form of diary entries and letters, with some good illustrations.   

Louise Gethin – Bristol Writers Group

*****

A great story that would make a marvellous documentary….Eric Shackle

*****

I have just spent 2 hours reading everything so far written.  It is an amazing story and I sincerely appreciate your sharing this. 
Binketta

******

3 Responses to READERS’ REVIEWS for ‘Olga -A Daughter’s Tale’

  1. Megan Dickson says:

    I really enjoyed this story. I could not put it down, and I read it in two sittings. The diary entries made me feel as if I was right there with the writer, experiencing Jamaica and London. However, it would have been nice if the diary entries had dates on them, at least the year. What happened to Olga and Marie after they left the Langfords? I wish the story did not end there. I would also have liked to hear Marie’s side of the story while she was at boarding school.

    I was thinking that this story would make a good movie, so I googled to find the name of the filmmaker for the latest Jamaican movie, and it turns out his name is Chris Browne. What are the odds? Here is a link to a Gleaner article on him http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110814/arts/arts3.html

  2. Ann marie says:

    I enjoyed the book so much as it turns out much more than any one could imagine as I am the first granddaughter of Boysie Browne. My mother is one of his daughters I would love to meet or receive an email from you. I think you should continue the history of the children and grand children of the Browne family it would be very interesting. Great book and all true from what the family has told me over the years. I was born two years to the exact date of your grandmother Becky. December 29 1955. Passing away. My mom has the blue eyes and the blond hair like her Funny how life is. Thank you for giving me some history into my family tree. Annmarie

    • Hi Annmarie
      Thank you so much for contacting me and I’m so pleased you liked the book. When I wrote it I didn’t know one member of Mum’s family but since writing it I’ve heard from so many and it’s been wonderful. Are you in Canada? I live in Australia but I do have a son who lives close to Boston whom I visit usually once a year. I’ll be going there next year so if you are in that neck of the woods perhaps we can meet?. Do you know Brigitte Browney? Brigitte’s one of Boysie’s children and I met her a couple of years ago in Boston. My email address is mariecampbell43@gmail.com. Marie.

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