Study Guide

Mr. Benjamin Olmstead in One Came Home

By Amy Timberlake

Mr. Benjamin Olmstead

Okay, so a thirty-five-year-old hotel owner is perhaps not our pick for Most Romantic Lead Ever, and we'll admit that at first we thought he was just a creepy old rich guy who was only into Agatha because she's half his age and beautiful. In our defense, Georgie describes him as having "thirty-five years of living behind him and silk lapels crisp enough to cut butter" (1.43), which isn't exactly the most enticing description. He seems stuffy, right? Like, ease up on the shirt starch, buster, and live a little.

But then, like Georgie, we change our minds, which just goes to show how much influence a narrator has on how we view other characters. With Mr. Olmstead, we see at first what Georgie wants us to see, which is a rich old guy trying to steal her sister. This could have something to do with her guilty conscience over breaking them up.

As it turns out, though, Mr. Olmstead is a stand-up guy. He is pretty hasty to break up with Agatha when he finds out she kissed Billy—but can we blame him? After all, they are engaged. But then he cares for Agatha's family anyway, even after her alleged death, by going after Georgie when Grandfather Bolte dies, which is not really the action of a person who is only in it for the youth and beauty—remember, he thinks Agatha's dead at the time.

Later we learn that he and Agatha really do love each other. Georgie observes that they have a lot of similar interests, and Agatha writes, "My heart is broken" (23.17), and even asks Ma and Sheriff McCabe to bring Mr. Olmstead with them when they visit her in November. Maybe we're just romantics at heart, but we have a feeling it's all going to turn out all right.