Proper Pursuit, A - eBook  -     By: Lynn Austin
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Proper Pursuit, A - eBook

Bethany House / 2007 / ePub

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Product Description

When Violet Hayes ventures to Chicago during the time of the World's Fair, her one goal is to find her mother, who has been missing from her life since she was nine. Naive, impressionable, and highly imaginative (having secretly ingested a diet of romance novels and true crime stories at school), Violet stays in Chicago under the care of her grandmother and her three great aunts. It is here that her perspectives on life are opened as she is exposed to the world about her, from high society to the poor immigrant families; from the suffragette movement to the security of a suitable marriage match. As Violet contemplates what course her life will take, she will discover the missing parts of her family's past, and ultimately, Violet will discover herself.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 9781441202369
ISBN-13: 9781441202369
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

From a three-time Christy award winner, a young woman goes to Chicago to find her mother, but newly exposed to a bigger world, discovers herself.

Author Bio

Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won seven Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Illinois. Visit Lynn's Web site at www.lynnaustin.org

ChristianBookPreviews.com

Lynn Austin’s novel, A Proper Pursuit, tells the story of a young woman’s journey from girlhood to womanhood. Ms. Violet Hayes tricks her father into allowing her to stay with relatives in Chicago under the false guise of wanting to see the World’s Fair. In reality, she wants to find her mother, but upon arriving she discovers that each of her hosts has a different agenda—and suitor—ready for her. What follows is Violet’s struggle to unearth her past, determine her future, and enjoy the present.

Austin tells the tale completely from Violet’s perspective, describing events as they happen. This becomes a little confusing, due to the amount of people and situations the heroine is introduced to, but also adds more depth to Violet’s point of view and is worth it in the end. The characters in the story are varied and interesting, and though they develop and become more complex as the book moves along, the bonds between them do seem rather weak and fragile, usually with nothing but society or family ties holding them together. The few exceptions are the relationships between Violet and Mr. McClure, and Violet and her mother. In fact, the most memorable scene in the book occurs when Violet finally locates her mother, and discovers just how much the world’s cruelty has affected all of their lives.

At the beginning of A Proper Pursuit the plot is rather simple, with Ms. Hayes seeking out her runaway mother in Chicago. But as time and events progress, Violet finds herself with a line of suitors she must choose from before the month’s end, which complicates her life just a little. More than that, she must decide what standards she will live by for the rest of her life: society’s, God’s, her family’s, or her own. In the end, she chooses to live out her own heart instead of her family’s, to change society instead of being controlled by it, and to honor God by being herself.

Although the headstrong Violet begins the book as an incredibly naïve character, she grows and blooms throughout the story in a very realistic way. She is the only truly dynamic person in the book—all of the others are used to represent the different forces that are pulling and pushing on her as she makes her decisions. A good example of this is shown in her four primary suitors: Silas, who symbolizes her own desires; Herman, who is an example of her family’s wishes for her; Louis, who is the church’s will for her life; and Nelson, who is society’s choice.

The only element that bothered me about Austin’s book was the mystery surrounding Silas McClure. In the beginning it fit everything very well, but the average reader will figure out who he is by the middle of the story, and Violet’s inability to see what is obvious until the end becomes rather annoying. But, all in all, I very much enjoyed A Proper Pursuit, and would recommend it to any reader who wants a light and romantic story. -- Kate R. Miller, Christian Book Previews.com

Publisher's Weekly

Christy award-winning historical novelist Austin delivers her strongest offering yet, a coming-of-age story set in late-19th-century Illinois. The great strength of this novel comes from the first-person narrator’s charming voice: 20-year-old Violet Hayes is distressed to learn that her father is remarrying—and that her mother, whom Violet believed lay recovering from a mysterious illness in a sanitarium somewhere, had in fact simply abandoned her family and filed for divorce. To escape a stepmother-to-be she can’t stand, Violet heads to Chicago to stay with her grandmother and great-aunts. Although she’s recently graduated from a genteel school for young ladies, it’s in Chicago that Violet’s real education begins. One great-aunt tries to persuade her to join the suffrage movement, while another introduces Violet to elite society and urges her to catch a wealthy husband. Her grandmother, who takes her cues from Jane Addams, introduces Violet to the world of revivalist Christianity and inner-city good works, prompting Violet to re-examine her own faith. Two questions drive the plot: will Violet find her mother, and will she encounter true love? Readers will enjoy accompanying Violet as she discovers the answers, her calling and her adult self. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
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  1. Minnesota
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    History, humor, and heart
    May 21, 2015
    An Old Fashioned Girl
    Minnesota
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for A Proper Pursuit.
    While not as whimsical as Austin's more recent Wonderland Creek, A Proper Pursuit shares similar humor - a daydreamy, imaginative humor that particularly tickles my fancy. Violet definitely has her head in the clouds, imagining all sorts of more exciting events than reality generally gives her. I love the relaxed feel of the story and its indulgent length (432 pages).

    The supporting characters--Violet's aunts and grandmother and suitors--make for a wonderful cast of characters. The four sisters are so different from each other, with such unique perspectives and agendas, and each has something to teach Violet, even if they appear frivolous or ridiculous at first. None of the four are perfect, but they each have something to love about them. The same goes for her four suitors; they are each very different, and they give Violet ample opportunity to figure out what she most wants in a husband, or if she even wants a husband at all. They all form a part of helping her grow up into herself.

    While Violet does not go to Chicago in pursuit of a husband, men certainly are pursuing her. After the first third of the book, there were four men seriously interested in her, and at that point I honestly wasn't sure who she'd fall in love with--not a common situation in most romances! (And a refreshing situation I enjoyed). As it is a christian book, one might assume the seminary student, but as a romance, it could point to the wealthy man who is tired of pretending. But in a turn of events, the boring man from home could prove to have surprising depth, or the traveling salesman be a solid, reliable person in spite of appearances. As time goes on it becomes more obvious, but I liked that all four are given an equal chance of being the one.

    Violet is refreshingly honest, especially when it comes to serving. She admits that she doesn't like serving in the tenements and slums with her grandmother, not because she has no compassion (and she does, indeed, have great compassion for the poor), but because frankly, the sights and smells of the slums make her sick, and she is not sure she could handle a life devoted to serving there. Her rich aunt's form of serving--helping financially by raising money through charity events--is something that is far more appealing for her and well within her scope of abilities. I really appreciate that the book points out that it's okay to feel that way. Both ends of the spectrum are legitimate areas for serving God, and we need both (and everything in between) to reach out for God's kingdom. Not everyone is a hand in the body of Christ, and not everyone should be.

    I loved Wonderland Creek so much that I wasn't sure anything else by the author could compare, but I ended up delighted by this book too. It was fun to tour the Chicago World's Fair through Violet's eyes and meet some famous people of the time, from evangelists to suffragettes to reformists. I found the different forms of Christianity in the novel to be realistically expressed: from just-go-to-church-on-Sundays indifference to strict, loveless obedience; from all-consuming, passionate ministry to simply loving like Jesus. The mystery with her mother made me cry near the end, when more is revealed. Full of both humor and heart, it is a highly satisfying novel with enough whimsy to tickle my fancy but enough depth to tug at my heart.
  2. Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    May 27, 2012
    alwaysreading
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for A Proper Pursuit.
    Well Done!! I enjoyed reading about Violet and the way she found the courage to venture out and find her mother. Her aunts were wonderful and fun. I also enjoyed reading all about the world fair. I had not realized all that it was.

    There is one criticism I had and it was that fact that Violet used deception on her father to gain what she wanted. This is a christian book, published by a christian publishing company and as a christian myself I wasn't comfortable with this aspect of the book.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    A delightful book.
    February 3, 2012
    Sarah Larson
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A delightful book. Lot's of humor with history included in a way that makes you feel you are living it. Lynn Austin is one of my favorite authors. Even when she is very serious there is always something to keep you glued to the story. I want to collect as many of her books as I can. Sarah
  4. USA
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    ♥ A Top Favorite!! ♥
    November 23, 2011
    Leorah
    USA
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for A Proper Pursuit.
    This book is one of my absolute favorites! The story was just so beautifully written and I loved the connection I felt with Violet! By the time I finished this book, she was more then just a favorite character, she was and is a friend!

    I loved how she slowly "bloomed" and how she really was a violet in the end...gosh I love this story! It is just so unbelievably powerful and it is even more so now that I am thinking about all I learned throughout it.

    I recommend this book to all! I have bought it for a thirteen years old as well as an eighty year old and both adore it! It is a fantastic book and would be such a shame to miss out on! Lynn Austin is one of my top favorite authors thanks to this priceless story! I highly recommend it...it is worth every penny!
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Favorite book!
    October 15, 2011
    Rachel
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is one of my favorite books. So beautifully written and somewhat mysterious. I love how Violet truly finds the Lord! And the plot is fantastic. You will not be disappointed!!
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