A Wild and Heavenly Place (Hardcover)

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When author Robin Oliveira was a younger woman, her family vacationed yearly on San Juan Island.

On its most northern tip, Oliveira found the ruins of a gray stone house, much different from the other architecture on the island. She became intrigued with the ruins and tried to research the lonely little cottage’s history. Failing at that, she created her own history of the little house. And that invented history became her latest novel, A Wild and Heavenly Place.

The story begins in Glasgow, Scotland, 1878, with orphan Samuel Fidess, a young man of poverty, and his younger sister. They live from hand to mouth in one of the many tenements in the city, far from the upper crust homes of polite society. Weekly church services are the one place where lives may cross.

It’s at church one week when Samuel first notices Hailey and is captivated. When circumstances allow Samuel to rescue Hailey’s little brother from a carriage accident, he is invited to their mansion for dinner. From those simple beginnings, a love blossoms that will carry both Hailey and Samuel 3,000 miles to the Pacific Northwest and a brand-new Seattle.

The Glasgow bank goes under, bankrupting Hailey’s father, and they are forced to start over again in America. They choose Seattle because the MacIntyre fortune was made in coal mining and the mining in the Pacific Northwest is flourishing. Her departing words to Samuel are, “Remember, Samuel Fidess — Washington Territory. Come as soon as you can.”

Without Hailey, Samuel is bereft. He also realizes that in Scotland, no matter how hard he works and how much he knows, he will never be able to pull himself from his impoverished station in life. And he will never accomplish his dream: Samuel Fidess wants to build ships. So, with his little sister in tow, Samuel makes his slow way to Seattle.

Meanwhile, the MacIntyres have settled in Newcastle, about 18 miles east of Seattle, where the coal mines are booming, but the MacIntyres are no longer the upper crust of society. In America, they are just another immigrant family in which the father is one of many manual laborers and Hailey and her mother must learn all the housekeeping and culinary tasks that had previously been done by servants. Hailey’s mother abandons the family to return to Scotland and Hailey is left to care for her little brother and her father.

When a mine explosion leaves Mr. MacIntyre incapacitated, Hailey is faced with homelessness and starvation. She can’t wait any longer for Samuel, and her only option is to marry the young man who promises to take care of the three of them.

Guess who shows up in Seattle mere days after Hailey has made her fateful decision to marry. It’s our intrepid hero, Samuel Fidess, of course. Finding Hailey married, he begins finding his own way in the young, new, vital Seattle. But their paths continue to cross.

A Wild and Heavenly Place is a love story with all the fear, bravery and challenges of forging a new life in a new place. It’s an American story of tenacity and triumph in a vibrant, new, wide-open country. It’s perfect for the Pacific Northwest reader.

— Luanne Clark

February 2024 Indie Next List

“I enjoyed this immersive tale of love, heartbreak, and survival spanning Scotland to rugged Seattle in 1879. Lovers strive to overcome adversity in the reversals of fortunes and unbearable hardships that force life-changing decisions.”
— Annette Steinmetz, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, ID


How far would you go? How much would you risk?

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.

Poignant and lyrical, A Wild and Heavenly Place is an ode to the Pacific Northwest, to those courageous enough to chase the American Dream, and to a love so powerful it endures beyond distance, beyond hope.

About the Author

Robin Oliveira is the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter, I Always Loved You, and Winter Sisters. She holds a BA in Russian and studied at the Pushkin Language Institute in Moscow. She received an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a former registered nurse, specializing in critical care. She lives near Seattle, Washington.

Praise For…

An AARP Most Romantic Book of All Time Pick
"Tender and heartwarming... Oliveira paints vivid and detailed vignettes of a crudely developed Seattle."—The Seattle Times

“A love story with all the fear, bravery and challenges of forging a new life in a new place. It’s an American story of tenacity and triumph in a vibrant, new, wide-open country… perfect for the Pacific Northwest reader.” – Yakima Herald-Republic
“A vivid story of the grit and the glory of early Seattle…. An epic story of star-crossed lovers that spans continents and classes.” – Erica Bauermeister, New York Times bestselling author of The Scent Keeper
“Pulls you in from the beginning and rewards you with an ending that is both triumphant and bittersweet.” – Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife
“A fascinating history too seldom told. Robin Oliveira’s words have changed the way I see home, what came before, and what has been here all along.”—Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is
“[Oliveira] writes with such conviction and sensory detail that one cannot help but be transported into the world of these characters…the roughness of the place, and its wild beauty. This novel is as easy to slip into as a favorite sweater.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The book is part love story, part history of place, part geography, and all excellent…. [A] story of love, despair, jealousy, revenge, and hope in the lives of characters the reader won't soon forget.”—Elizabeth George, New York Times bestselling author of Something to Hide
“Oliveira vividly captures both the wonder and the struggle of forging a life in a world full of unknowns…. [H]ere’s a story to make you cheer for love’s tenacity.” –Susan Meissner, USA Today bestselling author of Only the Beautiful
“Magnetic… Sweeps readers into the spectacular setting of the Washington Territory during the 1870s and 1880s… perfect for armchair travelers seeking an absorbing emotional escape.” – Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593543856
ISBN-10: 0593543858
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: February 13th, 2024
Pages: 416
Language: English