4 Stars well deserved for Jonathan Olivier’s debut novel about finding a place where you truly belong. BETWEEN THE LEVEES is a wonderful and emotional read.




Type of Book: SOFTCOVER


Length: 215 PAGES


Release Date: JULY 4, 2016 

ISBN: 9780997731804 

Price: $12.99 USD at AMAZON.COM
Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

* I won a free autographed copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.
What does home mean to you?

What is the definition of family?

How important is it to find a place where you truly feel that you belong? And, what would you be willing to do to find it?

Sam’s parents died when he was only an infant. The courts were able to find a distant relative who was willing to take him in, but his early life was anything but idyllic. Because of this, he left “home” at the young age of seventeen and never looked back.

“It took eight years before his lonely, stagnant life became too much for him. After a night of coming too close to hitting the bottle – something he vowed he’d never again do – he knew he needed to find out who his family was. He knew that he needed to uncover who he was, too.”

Based on a name that appeared in court documents, Sam left Boston for the swamps of Louisiana – looking for a man named Vincent in a place called “Bayou Pigeon.”

What he finds there changes his view of himself and of his place in the world.

The author’s obvious love for the swamps and back lanes of Louisiana c?shines through in this book. With emotive prose and detailed descriptions, readers will find themselves falling in love with Louisiana as well and itching for the opportunity to visit the swamps of the Atchafalaya.

Jonathan Olivier has a definite talent, not only for describing the swamps and their unique landscapes, but also for character building and for bringing his characters to life on the written page.

My only complaint regarding this book is the editing/ proof-reading.

There are multiple instances of editing errors inckuding awkward phrasing. For example:

“Sam had looked forward to getting to again eat the fresh fish Vincent cooked up. As he took his first bite, the freshness of the meat was again apparent, accentuated with a hint of Cajun spices.”

I found these two sentences to be both awkward and overly wordy. I realize that this is just my humble opinion, but I believe that many other readers will agree with me. However, even though the book is not perfect, the phrasing issues should have been caught and addressed by the editor, so it is not the author’s fault. 

There are other small editing errors as well, such as missing commas. These small errors can be distracting to the reader.

For example; “I told you before you left this place gets in your blood.”

Without a comma the above sentence can be read many different ways. To change this and to make it less confusing, I would suggest that it be  written like this:

“I told you before you left, this place gets in your blood.”

The third type of editing errors found in this book were missing or extra words in sentences.

For example: “Two men stood near an outside freezer door talking; they nodded at Sam as he set down the tub of fish, and he Vincent walked by.”

It should say: “Two men were talking as they stood near the door of an outside freezer; they nodded at Sam as he set down the tub of fish just as Vincent walked by.”

I loved the story and the underlying themes of both family and hope. In a world where people often equate happiness with the accumulation of possessions, it is refreshing to find a book that shuns this ideal and reminds us that we really need very little to be happy. According to Sam’s mother there were only two things that a person needs to achieve true happiness, and those consist of: “Famille. Amour. Une vie.” I agree.

I rate this debut novel as 4 out of 5 stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟




Jonathan started his writing career as a journalist five years ago for a small outdoor publication in Louisiana. After his first published piece, he was hooked.

Since then, his reporting on outdoor recreation and environmental issues has spanned local newspapers and magazines, and national publications such as Outside and Backpacker.

The inspiration for his debut novel “Between the Levees” came from spending most of his life hunting, fishing and camping in the Atchafalaya Basin not far from his home, as well as his deep appreciation of his Cajun roots.

If there’s one thing Jonathan Olivier loves more than the swamps of Louisiana, it’s being in the mountains. These days, whenever he gets a chance, he can be found backpacking  in the mountains.

The newspaper in his hometown interviewed Jonathan, and through the reading of that article, a fuller picture of the author becomes available. If you are interested in reading the West Side Journal article click HERE.

To learn more about this author visit the following links: