19 May 2012

The Pursuit Of Lucy Banning, by Olivia Newport, Book review


Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.

My thoughts:

Engaging and truly refreshing, 'The Pursuit of Lucy Banning'  brings us the first book in the 'Avenue Of Dreams' series. Just as the cover hints we are introduced to Lucy Banning, a young member of Chicago's elite society.  Elegant, privileged and yet unconventional for the late 1800's, Lucy does not conform to the required etiquette of society for women of such epoch.

Olivia Newport's heroine attends university classes and struggles to obtain a modicum of freedom whilst trying to remain a dutiful daughter and prepare herself as the future bride of one of Chicago's best prospects. As the novel unravels we discover not all is as it should be for the parties involved and Lucy must decide what is most important to her. 

This would have been just another light story but I found the 1893 World Fair in Chicago and the involvement of Chicago wealthy families, many who dedicated months, even years to its development truly fascinating. 
I was delighted to see the meticulous details she impart, allowing us a rich glimpse of this momentum in History. And what an amazing time it was! I love history and found the whole concept of attending such an event at the turn of the century absolutely intriguing. 
Ah, to be able to travel back in time!

And Olivia Newport weaves an interesting romance against this amazing event, perhaps unusual in view of the class system so rigid in that time period but this is the 'Avenue of Dreams,...

'The Pursuit of Lucy Banning' gives us an insight on the glitz of Chicago's High society whilst entertaining us with Lucy's secrets: to maintain her rights to a better education and her newly found attraction to an upcoming young architect she defies many rules. 
Her burgeoning friendship with a young woman of the lower class with a secret of her own, just another example of how much Lucy is willing to risk for someone she cares for.

Olivia Newport brings readers just the right sort of entertainment for a warm spring afternoon and even better, her website hints we can expect very soon to hear more about 'The Avenue of Dreams' series!

A delightful read for anyone interested in a good historical fiction and a story even YA will appreciate!

I give it 4 stars

About the Author:

'Hello! I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.
We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us...' 

Thus begins Olivia Newport's introduction and you can read more (here). Be sure to sign up for her newsletter! Book # 2 will be published in 2013!

I received this book free from BAKER/REVELL as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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