Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Olga: A Daughter's Tale by Marie-Therese Browne

Publishing Information:
Title – Olga: A Daughter’s Tale
Author – Marie-Therese Browne
Publisher – Self-published
Date Published - 2010
# of pages – 51442 words (266 pages in the printed version)

Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Biography, Family History, Genealogical research, Race and gender relations

GoodReads – 2 Ratings, 4.0 Average Rating – 8 Ratings, 5.0ish Average Rating

My Rating: 4.5/5

Plot Summary:

Based on a true story, Olga Browney born in Jamaica into a large close-knit, coloured Catholic family was a kind, naive, gentle girl who came to London in 1939 intending to stay only six months with her malevolent, alcoholic aunt. But world events, personal tragedy and malicious intent prevented her from returning home to Jamaica until over half a century later when her past caught up with her.

What I thought:

This book is so good, I barely know where to start. Told through letters, newspaper articles, diary entries and more, Marie-Therese Browne’s family history re-telling had me wanting to know more with every turn of the page.

Olga’s wish for her daughter Marie was to leave the past alone, to not ask questions about where they came from, and who her father was. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for Marie to ignore her mother’s desire - when the easiest thing in the world is to just do nothing. This is definitely courage to go out and seek what you need from the world. But this is not Marie’s family history research. This is the story she found on that search – come to life.

It’s so well written. Every person has a unique voice in this tale and every person has their own tale to tell. I loved the bits and pieces of information that kept coming in about who Marie’s ancestors where. And I loved that what you got to see that they were more than just a cast list of characters that just happened to fit into the story. I really got to know them and see where they fit into their world. And in the process I really came to care about every person that Marie introduced.

It is so full of not just family history, but social history as well. I was so fascinated throughout the tale at the culture that we learn about in this book. I didn’t know much about Jamaican history before reading Olga: A Daughter’s Tale, and I certainly didn’t know very much about the social norms and mores, but my eyes are wide open now!  And I certainly didn’t know about the opportunities Jamaican people had to go to Britain for training – a circumstance which brings Olga to this country in what turns out to be more life changing than this woman could have possibly imagined.

This book surprised me in so many ways. I had a feeling I would like this book from the start, but what I found was something that I didn’t just like but want to share with the world. If you have the chance, pick this book up. You won’t regret it.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Recommended to: Memoir enthusiasts, social studies buffs, genealogists, history buffs, women’s interest groups, etc.

Where you can purchase this book:

Amazon Kindle

Add this book to your tbr list:
Visit the Olga: A Daughter’s Tale   Goodreads page.


  1. The cover caught my eye as it suggested 'Carbbean' to me. I was right. The book does sound like a fascinating read.

  2. Every person who says nothing good ever comes from self publishing should read this review!

  3. Thanks Fiona. I'm glad you liked my review. There are so many self-published books that are amazing out there. I wish more people would be more willing to read them!

    Oh another possible Olga reader. I hope you pick it up, J.L.!


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