Welcome to Chicago during one of its most exciting times in history! Olivia Newport transports you back to Chicago during the planning and revealing of the Worlds Fair. Her attention to detail really immersed me into the Bannings' lives. I could feel the excitement, tension, love, and happiness thrumming throughout the Banning household. The fact that they were a prominent family, but chose not to flaunt it overly much made them all the more likable.
I instantly liked Lucy Banning. She truly was a kind-hearted soul who frequently went above and beyond the "expected" call of duty for those in her station. That, and her independent spirit, had me caught up in her life from beginning to end. The situation with Will intrigued me. I wish there would have been more interaction between him and the Banning family, and more from his point of view in the story. I don't feel I got to know him well. Charlotte Farrow's side story was compelling, to say the least, and I'm excited to read more of it next.
I couldn't pick out a strong message or lesson, which was fine. The way Lucy lived her life is a shining example of how a Christian should be. Her gentleness with the kids at the orphanage, love for her family, and kind-hearted, giving spirit are great indicators of God's hand on her life. Overall, I enjoyed Lucy's story. I look forward to reading more from Olivia Newport.
Lucy Banning has what most young women of her time desire, money, power, social standing, but despite all her advantages all Lucy wants in life is to work at the local orphanage and to get a college degree. And when her brother Leo bring his friend Will Edwards home for dinner, Lucy and Will find instant attraction and the know they will have to fight her family's traditions if they are going to be together.
Charlotte Farrow is on the run and she finds a safe place in the Banning household as the new housemaid. But she has a secret and she knows that if that secret comes out that she will be out on the street with nowhere to go. But then she finds a perfect ally in Lucy Banning. I really loved these two characters step out of the idea of the time about the way that women were supposed to act and form a bond as sisters.
This was a new author for me and for the most part I enjoyed the story very much. It was wonderfully written story and the author brought great characters into play that were full of life and passion. It also told the story of how the rich lived and how the servants that tended their every need lived and how they were treated.
The down side was that this book was supposed to be about Lucy and Will and while they did have a part in the story, I felt as if the majority of the story was about Charlotte. Lucy and Will fall in love, but there was no real details about their courtship. It felt as if it was pushed into the background and we get just a glimpse how their relationship is progressing. It seemed that the author tried to mix too many storylines into one book which didnt do the overall story justice.
Even though the story wasnt as smooth as I would have liked, I give this a 3.5 star rating will be definitely be finishing the series.
I purchased this book on sale on a whim. What a treat!! Excellent storyline and interesting depiction of daily life of the rich and the working class in Chicago at the time of the World's Exposition. Step onto Chicago's exclusive Prairie Avenue and see what's going on behind the front doors and the back doors. Read how life is expanding for the women of this era. Looking forward to reading more from Olivia Newport.
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.
I know it is the peril of every reader to fall in love with a character every time they open a novel, and as a reader of many books, I try to not let that be my fate. Respect for the characters is natural, not all of them, but at least one. An admiration for the depth of character development an author has presented is usually more along the lines of what I take from a book, but I try to not let the people stay with me too long.
I say all that to simply state this: I love Lucy. I have never met a character from high society that has as much appreciation for those who were not born into money. She doesn't think about others in terms of what they can do for her, but what she can do for them. Lucy's behavior towards Charlotte was admirable, and I really loved how she kept Charlotte's secret despite the scandal that would have caused if discovered. An excellent read that gives us a glimpse of the past, and a story that brings 1893 to life.