Olive the Lionheart by Brad Ricca

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First of all, this cover is AMAZING! It is the kind of cover that made me not even care what the book was about, I knew I wanted to read it. And I lucked out because what was under the cover was good too!

This is a non-fiction account of Olive MacLeod. In 1910, she found out that her fiancé had gone missing while in Africa. So…she packed her bags and went to find him. Olive MacLeod is the kind of woman I would have liked to know. She was fiercely independent, wildly disregarding of the early 1900’s social restrictions, and extremely adventurous!

There were so many wonderful things about this story. I really enjoyed reading Olive’s letters, which were used throughout the book. I thought they provided really interesting first-hand accounts of Olive’s personality. I did not like how their placement fit into the actual book. It felt abrupt at times, pulling me from the story. They were excellent additions to the story, and I would not have wanted them removed, but I would have liked them to flow seamlessly into the pages.

I loved the adventurous encounters with wildlife that Olive has on her journey. Every type of animal that you think lives in Africa seemed to have crossed paths with Olive. The descriptions of the landscape really drew me into the story.

Overall, I thought this was a very interesting account of one woman’s journey through Africa. I liked getting to know Olive and learning about who she was. I think that the story could have been enhanced with some maps to show her route through Africa, and some better choices in the way the story unfolded. It was, however, an exciting book with so many interesting details and encounters!

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend Olive the Lionheart to readers that enjoy historical stories with strong female characters!

Where to Find This Book:

Olive the Lionheart by Brad Ricca publishes on August 11, 2020 is available at these sites.

Amazon ~ Kindle ~ Goodreads


In 1910, Olive MacLeod, a thirty-year-old, redheaded Scottish aristocrat, received word that her fiancé, the famous naturalist Boyd Alexander, was missing in Africa.

So she went to find him.

Olive the Lionheart is the thrilling true story of her astonishing journey. In jungles, swamps, cities, and deserts, Olive and her two companions, the Talbots, come face-to-face with cobras and crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs that she adopts as her own. Making her way in a pair of ill-fitting boots, Olive awakens to the many forces around her, from shadowy colonial powers to an invisible Islamic warlord who may hold the key to Boyd’s disappearance. As these secrets begin to unravel, all of Olive’s assumptions prove wrong and she is forced to confront the darkest, most shocking secret of all: why she really came to Africa in the first place.

Drawing on Olive’s own letters and secret diaries, Olive the Lionheart is a love story that defies all boundaries, set against the backdrop of a beautiful, unconquerable Africa.

Just the Facts:

Olive the Lionheart by Brad Ricca
Subtitle: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Africa
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
Page Count: 400 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub Date: Aug 11, 2020


I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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