Book Review: The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel (plus book club discussion/questions)

Earlier this week, my book club met together to discuss our most recent book choice: The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel.  Prior to the book being introduced at our last meeting, I hadn’t heard of it but a few of the people in our group had and the general feeling was positive.  The title definitely caught my attention because it seems like a contradiction.  I was able to read through it in a few days and it kept my attention throughout.

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My Summary and Review: (4 stars)
*Contains spoilers*
Olivia (Livvy) Dunne is the oldest of three daughters.  She is studious and has dreams of exploring the world and becoming an archeologist.  But her dreams get put on hold when her mother becomes sick shortly after the youngest daughter gets married and Livvy is left to take care of her.  When her mother passes away, she is consumed by grief and unable to work through it.  As a result, she makes a decision that unknowingly alters her future.  Livvy is sent to a small town in Colorado in the 1940s where she marries a shy farmer–a marriage that has been arranged by her father.  Overwhelmed by loneliness, she befriends two Japanese sisters who work on her husband’s farm and live at a nearby internment camp.  Slowly she begins to feel like she’s found a place and becomes more comfortable in her new life.  Meanwhile, her husband (Ray) tries patiently to show he cares about her, but Livvy is resistant based on her past.  When Olivia unknowingly become an accomplice to a crime, she finally learns how to confront her past and move forward into the future.

The Magic of Ordinary Days was an enjoyable book with characters who feel very real.  Livvy is faced with learning how to recognize true love and how to trust others.  It is well written, however, I would have liked the ending not to wrap up so quickly.

Book Club Discussion Questions:

  • Was Livvy’s father right to insist she marry before she gives birth?  What other options were available to her?  (Remember this is during the 1940s.)
  • It takes Livvy quite a while to warm up to Ray.  Do you think Livvy is too hard on Ray?  Are you surprised her feelings changed?
  • Why is it so easy for Livvy to become friends with Rose and Lorelei?  How are their situations similar?
  • What is the significance of Rose and Lorelei’s fascination with butterflies?
  • How does Livvy finally come to learn the difference between true love and what she thought was true love?
  • What characteristics of Ray’s helped him feel like a real person?
  • Discuss the importance of love and trust in relationships.  Can you have one without the other?

If you’d like to read the other book club reviews, discussions and questions, you can click on the links below:

*Reviews and/or discussion questions may contain spoilers*

Summer 2016 Reading List Reviews and Ratings
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Shatter Me by Tahera Mafi

Happy reading!

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Comments

  1. The title of this book has me drawn in already! I think I'll have to read this one. I love that you mentioned the characters are "real." I hate when I find myself reading a book with unrelatable characters.

  2. The title caught my attention too! And seriously, I hate when I am reading a book and I can't imagine myself in it or think of someone who reminds me of the characters. For me, part of the joy of reading comes from being able to identify with the characters in some way.

  3. Sounds like an interesting book. I like the title independent of the synopsis. The magic of ordinary days πŸ™‚

  4. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? There really is magic in ordinary days if we look for it. It reminds me of one of your recent posts. πŸ™‚

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