Lucy Banning is a rebel in her own way. Even though she has grown up in a lavish lifestyle, she expresses distaste for extravagance and prefers to spend her time assisting the local orphanage or attending college classesâ€”both of which would be frowned upon by those of the same class, not to mention, her parents. Lucy finds herself performing a balancing act between her family's expectations and her true desires.
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning was a nicely, well put-together novel. I enjoyed the characters, and the budding romance between Lucy and Will. This novel is a great start to Olivia Newport's "Avenue of Dreams" series. I look forward to the following books in the series, and especially to learn more about the mystery surrounding Lucy's maid, Charlotte. All in all, a satisfying read.
*Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Rich in historical detail, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning transported me to 1893 Chicago, a city eager for the opening of the World's Fair. Olivia Newport paints a captivating picture of the affluent neighborhood of Prairie Avenue, where a host of successful entrepreneurs such as George Pullman, Phillip Armour, and Marshall Field lived, evidence of her extensive research. I felt like I was there.
Lucy is a bright, determined woman battling the rigid strictures and expectations faced by a woman in the late Victorian era. While I admired her desire to better herself, her secretive pursuit of a college education forced her to make choices that led to some expected friction between her and her family and fiance, Daniel Jules, a man chosen for her by her parents years before.
Enter handsome, hardworking architect Will Edwards, a young man of questionable background who lacks the qualifications to be admitted to Chicago's high society. Can Lucy follow her heart, or is she bound to comply with her parents' wishes? Can Will discover the culprit behind some mysterious acts that put Lucy in danger, or are his chances at making a name for himself and surmounting the challenges keeping them apart over before he's scarcely begun?
The Banning family's new maid, Charlotte Farrow, leaps from the pages and endeared herself to me from the outset. She's such a compelling and well-developed character that her story within the story adds a rich dimension.
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning begins as a leisurely stroll with likable characters, but it's in the second half of the book that the pace picks up nicely. While I enjoyed Charlotte immensely, I'm such a romantic that I wished I'd have been able to spend more time with Lucy and Will, watching their relationship unfold. I would have liked getting to know Will better, since he's such a likable hero. I trust he and Lucy will make cameo appearances when readers revisit Chicago in the second book of Newport's Avenue of Dreams, The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, and look forward to reading that story.
I loved everything about this book, from the cover to the pages within. I think the cover is absolutely beautiful and captures Lucy Banning quite well and gives you a picture of Lucy and her culture to better relate to her in the book.
Now, onto the story! I had a hard time tearing myself away from the story. It captivated me from the beginning and I found myself whisked away to 1893, Chicago, and the World's Fair. I found it very interesting to read about Mr. Ferris, who invented the Ferris wheel and imagining all of the speculation that people would have about this wheel that goes around and around. I could see that it would possibly be considered to be unsafe by some and actually quite impossible to carry out! I loved the story ending, although I did feel bad for Daniel and all that he went through. I really hope the next book talks about Charlotte. I'm anxious to know if she gets her baby back. I can't imagine the pain that she has gone through of boarding her baby. I'm also curious about her past. I know it talked about it a little in this book, but I want more information! So, please continue with these same characters and tell us more!
It was interesting how Lucy was a girl, going to college, but had to keep it a secret because at that time, it wasn't a becoming thing to do. Who would have thought that so many years later it would be a becoming thing for most women to go to college. I loved how she stood up for herself, befriended those less fortunate than her, but never really acted the role of a wealthy person. In fact, she wanted to be someone where the expectations were less.
If you like historical fiction, grab this book. It was a wonderful book to read and I think you will absolutely enjoy reading about the World's Fair and all the preparations they had to do for it. Lots of history, but a wonderful romance story weaved within so you hardly notice that you're learning something along the way!
I received this book free from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.
This story begins with the premise of a woman's search for personal freedom and escape from the "rules and regulations" of society during the early 1890's in Chicago. Young Lucy Banning is the only girl, with three brothers, in a very wealthy family. She has every privilege of wealth, from home, fashions, and social opportunities, that anyone could imagine. She is also engaged to a young man from a like family; the two families have been very close friends since before their parents even married.
While life could be very scripted, Lucy desires more, much more than her very strict, lady-like circumstances can allow. She manages to enroll for a class at the very new University of Chicago but has to keep it a secret or she would never be allowed to do so; this, of course, involves making many excuses in order to protect her "secret." She also has taken a great interest in a local orphanage and volunteers there on a regular basis. Her life is a series of "secrets" which she has to carefully maneuver through in order to maintain her heart's desires.
Lucy has becomes involved with planning for the Chicago World's Fair, which is due to open in the summer of 1893, and spends much of one day a week helping to plan the exhibits in the "women's center" for the great Fair. She is a busy young woman.
A new maid hired to help serve in the home, Charlotte, comes to the home with a great secret of her own, which Lucy soon discovers and then decides to help the girl with her problems. They become great friends and confidants, which plays a major role in their relationship.
The novel as a whole is well-written, interesting, exciting, and dramatic. There are no dull moments, though some events are predictable. However, it gives excellent insight into the lives of the rich and famous of that day, and helps us who live more than a hundred years beyond, a feeling of being blessed by the freedoms we have!
Lucy lives a privileged life but wants more for herself than what is commonly acceptable for women of her standing. Promised to marry a long-time friend from a respected family, Lucy remains determined to continue her charity work and take college classes. When she meets her brother's friend Will, she feels an instant connection with him and begins to question what kind of life she really wants.
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is a stunning debut! The historical element is strongâ€”particularly the story surrounding the upcoming World's Fair. Olivia Newport writes in such a way that I felt I had stepped into 1893. She also has a knack for making the characters come alive. I could feel Lucy's angst and the sparks between Will and Lucy. There were a couple of small glitches in the plot (for instance, the twist at the end just seemed off somehow), but overall, I thought the novel was just fantastic!
I can't wait to read the next book in this series and am keeping my fingers crossed that we'll get to know more of Charlotte's story. Or maybe Lucy's brother? Regardless, Olivia Newport is one busy lady and we'll be seeing a lot more from her in the months to come! [4 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.