Cover Image: A Wild and Heavenly Place

A Wild and Heavenly Place

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This story, but the Author of My Name is Mary Sutter, explores the adventures and wilderness of the Pacific Northwest as Seattle is first being developed.  Hailey and Samuel are from two very different families and backgrounds in Glasgow, Scotland.  Despite their differences, they fall in love immediately through a chance meeting.   After the bank fails, Hailey's family is forced to leave and sets off for promising futures - heading to America and to the new area of Seattle.  Samuel is gutted and eventually decides to follow Hailey in hopes of reconnecting.  The challenges of their adventures are significant as they venture into new locations, feelings, and opportunities.
Was this review helpful?
This was a magnificent story! It is 1878 and Samuel is living with his young sister in the most horrible part of Glasgow. Hailey’s family is extremely wealthy and she has never wanted for anything.  The two look at each once in church and their powerful love begins. But of course Hailey’s family will not let her have anything to do with Samuel, feeling he is far beneath them. Not long after, Hailey and her family leave Glasgow. The Bank of Glasgow failed and they lost everything. But Samuel does not give up, he is determined to follow Hailey. This is a wonderful story of a young man following his heart and his destiny. Simply a wonderful story!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I struggled getting into this book and felt it was slow but loved the premise and setting and  she writes exquisitely but I still liked it
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this tale of immigration and survival.

This is a romantic, emotional saga about Samuel and Hailey, two star-crossed lovers who are part of the great Scottish diaspora. Starting in Glasgow in the late 1870s, Samuel is a poor orphaned teenager trying to survive while taking care of his little sister. Hailey is from a rich family but is struggling in her own way, since her overbearing mother is trying to control her life, and her father is suffering from depression. Their paths cross and their attraction turns into a passionate love.  But fate will throw many obstacles in their way, and we follow them both as they immigrate to Seattle, where most of the story takes place. 

This is historical fiction with a strong romantic subplot. The writing is just beautiful, with the right amount of detail to create a vivid portrait of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in the pioneer days. 

Robin Oliveira did a huge amount of research to be able to depict both Scotland and Seattle in this time period. The racial tensions at the time are not brushed over, and they are a part of this story, which I appreciated. There was a lot of detailed descriptions of ship building, which were very well written and interesting, but maybe just a tad too much. 

There were some traumatic elements, so I would encourage readers to seek out content warnings before reading. These elements were realistically depicted and most likely quite common.  This is a highly emotional tale that will keep readers riveted.

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for letting me read this in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I received a free e-arc of this book through Netgalley. I had a hard time putting this book down. It's a riff on Romeo and Juliet set in Scotland and Seattle with class divisions. I really enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️From the publisher GP Putnam's Sons: Hailey MacIntyre seems conjured from the depths of Samuel Fiddes’s loneliness. Caring for his young sister in the tenements of Glasgow, Scotland, Samuel has known only hunger, while Hailey has never known want. Yet, when Samuel saves Hailey’s brother from a runaway carriage, their connection is undeniable.

Through secret meetings and stolen moments, their improbable love grows. But then the City of Glasgow Bank fails, and Hailey’s bankrupt father impulsively moves their family across the globe to Seattle, a city rumored to have coal in its hills and easy money for anyone willing to work for it.

Samuel is haunted by Hailey’s parting words: Remember, Washington Territory. Armed only with his wits, he determines to follow her, leaving behind everything he has ever known in search of Hailey and the chance of a better life for his sister. But the fledgling town barely cut out of the wilderness holds its own secrets and will test them all in ways unimaginable.
My review: This book is the definition of a sweeping love story. Yes, historical fiction, but primarily two people from different "classes" finding each other across oceans and time. 

Hailey and Samuel start out making promises in Scotland. He follows her to Seattle and the drama continues. Ship building, coal mining and struggle follow them both. There is a lot of description and many adjectives to convey the settings...Also apparently in late 1800's Seattle everything was covered in a fine mist and mud? But Hailey and Samuel are destined to be together but I worried it wouldn't work (I know, I know that's not how love stories work...). Some of the characters were very cardboard and stereotypical (Harold, Bonnie, even James) but they added to the struggle and pay off. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Great story and I was fully invested, read most of it in one late night. Thank you to NetGalley and GP Putnam Publishing for an advance digital copy in exchange for my review.
Was this review helpful?
Fantastically rich and deeply moving, A Wild and Heavenly Place is a love story about finding yourself and the place you truly belong – even if it means crossing an ocean to get there.

Hailey MacIntyre is a Scottish high society girl and Samuel Fiddes is an orphaned tenement boy raising his little sister alone, but they manage to meet as they attend the same church. What cements their friendship and a blossoming attraction is Samuel saving Hailey’s sickly four-year-old brother, Geordie, from a runaway horse-drawn cart. Their class differences, however, keep them apart – especially after Hailey’s family’s fortunes melt into nothingness when the City of Glasgow bank fails.

When Hailey refuses to marry a suitor she doesn’t love to save their prospects and keep the family in Scotland, her mother berates her, and her father makes other plans. Desperate to reclaim their money, he is easily seduced by rumors about life in the newly settled Washington territory in America. With no other ties to keep them there, Hailey, Geordie and the rest of the family choose to emigrate. Hailey rejects a desperate marriage proposal from Samuel, choosing to be practical and protect her little brother from what disasters may come if they don’t find their fortune (and still weighed down by the staggering guilt of rejecting a loveless but financially advantageous marriage), but leaves him with a parting phrase by which to find her – Remember, Washington Territory.

There isn’t much keeping Samuel in Scotland, either, and soon he and his sister Alison emigrate to America as well. While Samuel tries to find Hailey, he settles into life as a shipbuilder, works his way up the food chain, opens his own shipbuilding yard, and finds thriving friendships. Hailey finds herself faced with the prospect of another loveless, cash-sweetened marriage, this time to a man named James Murray, after her father sinks under the torpor of failure and has a stroke, and her mother abandons the family, stealing all the money they have left in the process. Hailey goes through with this marriage, but her family splinters further, and James is a thoughtless, sometimes cruel husband who becomes tangled in the smuggling of opium. In spite of everything, will Samuel and Hailey ever find each other?

This may be a story with familiar tropes, but my does it pack a punch. A Wild and Heavenly Place is smartly written, with strong characters who are imperfect. The grey-hatted morality here is fabulous – (almost) no one is perfect, no one is a saint, but the stories are easy to love and are properly adventuresome. This feels like a good John Jakes novel with a feminist bent and some solid research to boot.

The romance here is lovelorn and star-crossed and easy to root for; the sibling relationships are well-handled and vivid. While there’s some unsubtle characterization going on – Samuel is the one exception to what I said above, because he feels like a secular saint sometimes – they’re usually well-leavened enough with flaws to make them unique.

Oliviera takes a solid dive into both Scottish and early Washington State history; the fires, the close quarters, the nightmare of travel of the era all feel realistic. A Wild and Heavenly Place is a rare showstopper that eats up its long page time and strongly involves you in its characters’ struggles. It comes highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Packed with details, but unfortunately a bit slow and hard to connect to the characters. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book ahead of its publication date.
Was this review helpful?
I struggled getting into this book it was slow read for me and couldn’t really relate to the characters. Which is sad as I do enjoy this author! I would give this a solid 3/5 I appreciate Net galley and the publisher providing me a copy of this to read.
Was this review helpful?
1878-1882 Glasgow, Scotland and Seattle, Washington

What a journey!  It's both a physical and emotional journey.

Affluent Hailey meets Samuel at church.    The attraction is immediate, however, Hailey's parents see Samuel as well below Hailey's class and their aspirations.

As circumstances change for Hailey's family and Samuel, they leave separately for America.

Their tale is full of both heartbreak and hope.  The author brings the setting alive through her descriptions and historical details.

A small amount of foul language and sexual content.
Was this review helpful?
I so enjoyed the journey that Robin Oliveira took us on in A Wild and Heavenly Place. The settings, Glasgow and Washington Territory, were both fully formed characters in and of themselves. 

Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the ARC!
Was this review helpful?
When Samuel Fiddes and Hailey MacIntyre meet by chance in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1879, their worlds appear to be far distant from each other. Samuel lives with his little sister, Alison, in a tenement—the two of them scrabbling to keep themselves fed and clothed. Hailey enjoys a comfortable middle-class life, although the expectations placed on her as a young woman restrict her future not simply to marriage and motherhood but to a wedding with the “right” man, defined in terms of wealth and prestige.

Despite this social gap, Samuel and Hailey form an instant bond after he rescues her younger brother from a near-fatal run-in with a careless carriage driver. Both know that Hailey’s parents disapprove of their friendship, never mind a budding romance, but a mix of attraction and teenage rebellion draws them together.

Then fate intervenes. Financial disaster strikes the MacIntyre family just as things start to look up for Samuel and Alison. Hailey’s father decides to move the family to Washington Territory, where he plans to oversee a coal mine. A month or two later, Samuel sets off with Alison to follow them. But the Seattle of 1880 is nothing like what any of them expect.

It was pure happenstance that I encountered this novel not long after finishing Alix Christie’s “The Shining Mountains,” which offers a very different take on the US expansion into the Northwest Pacific region.  But it’s to Oliveira’s credit that even as I cringed at her characters’ wanton (if accurately portrayed) destruction of the natural environment, I nonetheless fell in love with Samuel and Hailey and rooted for them to find each other in their wild and heavenly place.

I plan to interview this author for the New Books Network (link below) in March 2024.
Was this review helpful?
An aching love story of reversed fortunes and ultimate sacrifices. A rugged and inhospitable journey, captivating in all its luscious environs; grungy, poverty-stricken Glasgow streets and the newborn freshness of Seattle with all its newly sawn boards and youthful industries. A Wild and Heavenly Place will be a delightful and highly entertaining story for all historical and romance lovers!!

—Dianna Rostad, USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of You Belong Here Now
Was this review helpful?
I loved that this was something special because it’s not as predictable and it’s sort of out of the box. The romance is beautiful and so is the setting. Be sure to grab this one, you’ll be happy you did.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars 

Robin Oliveira is one of my favorite authors. She is not a prolific writer, and I love that she takes her time writing along with researching her novels so deftly. 

In her latest novel A WILD AND HEAVENLY PLACE, Samuel and Hailey have an initial attraction in Scotland, but before they get a chance for their relationship to start, Hailey's family sails to America (Seattle) to hope to recover their fortune. A few months later Samuel and his little sister Alison follow. 

Once they get to Seattle, Hailey's family melts down even further, and a marriage proposal from James seems like Hailey's only option. In Seattle and its surrounding area, will Hailey find happiness? Will she ever reconnect with Samuel? 

The setting is extraordinary. Not only does the feeling of Scotland come to life, but I was also introduced to a Seattle and surrounding area that I have never met (even though I have lived in the area for over 30 years). The late 1800s in Seattle features fire and devastation, coal mines (I never knew they existed here), primitive transportation, overwhelming smells of fish and industry, but still such natural beauty. 

The writing is very good. Oliveira chooses less dialogue, likely to cut for space, and I think it's done well. Some might say that it is more telling than showing, but I appreciated the end result. 

I did take off a star for the characters. I felt that there could have been more nuance in the male characters, particularly James and Samuel. One is portrayed as evil, and one is portrayed as almost superhuman. The time it takes for young Samuel to move through the ranks as an immigrant in America is astonishing. I really felt like it took suspending disbelief. Samuel being perfect was a little *too* much. Hailey's mother was also rather two-dimensional, but I thought she got more nuance toward the end of the novel. I would have liked to see that more of that nuance with Samuel and James. 

All in all, I really enjoyed this historical fiction romance.
Was this review helpful?
I love historical fiction.  I enjoyed this tale off the late 1800's. A Scotland family undertake an arduous journey to the Americas to escape their losses after the banks fail. A young couple have fallen in love and they are forced apart by the leaving. They still have tough times in Seattle and the young man left behind in Scotland has left  bound for America to follow her.  Follow their trials and tribulations in this book.
Was this review helpful?
Fabulous book. Highly recommended for fans for historical fiction mixed with a love story.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced readers copy.

This is a story of two young adults who fall in love and are torn apart by life circumstances. The majority of the book is following these individuals along on their life journeys after being separated.  The reader is taken from Scotland to Seattle in the late 1800s. Both the voyage and settlement into the new country are quiet and adjustment. Fascinating to think of what it must have been like during this time to start over in an “unsettled” place. I’ll leave it to the reader to gather the details of the story so as not to spoil - but a great book that I didn’t want to put down.
Was this review helpful?
I was thrilled to be selected to read "A Wild and Heavenly Place" and was looking forward to the historical fiction about coal mining in the Pacific Northwest! 
The first half of the book built the characters a bit and I enjoyed learning more about immigration and social challenges they had to overcome as they made their way in Washington.
Admittedly, the second half of the book took a turn and I kept trying to get on track without success. The descriptive scenery felt magical but got to be a bit more of the story than the plot - where I found myself grazing over the scenery instead of reading word for word. Additionally, I couldn’t understand why the characters were making the choices in the second half, and became disappointed in the drama that didn't seem necessary to tell their story.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the opportunity to read this digital advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest opinion!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netagalley and the publisher for the advanced digital review copy. 

I enjoyed A Wild and Heavenly Place. Its a historical romance set in Scotland. There is a lot of great imagery.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars   I really enjoyed this one and had trouble putting it down. The coal mining and ship building aspects were interesting and I liked reading about the early settlements of Washington Territory. I loved Samuel and adored Alison and Geordie. The pacing was perfect with the exception of the ending which seemed a tad rushed. If you are a fan of historical fiction you should definitely give A Wild and Heavenly Place a try.

Thank you NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons for this digital arc in exchange for my honest review which is not affiliated with any brand.
Was this review helpful?