This is the second book in the Avenue of Dreams series and it pics up just a few weeks after book one ends and is set against the back drop of Chicagos world fair at the turn of the century.
When the woman who is taking care of Charlottes infant son Henry, suddenly drops him off at the Banning home Charlotte is terrified that someone will discover her secret. New housemaid Sarah, mistakenly assumes that someone wishes Lucy Banning Edwards to decide the fate of the baby. Although she loves having her son so close, Charlotte is disappointment when Sarah is assigned to take care of the baby until Lucy returns from her honeymoon.
I loved Charlottes character when we first met her in the first book. In this book we get to know her on a much deeper level, a working mother who tries desperately to do the right thing for herself and her son.
The biggest problem I had with this book was Archie, the Bannings head coachman. In the first book we meet Archie and we begin to see that hes interested in Charlotte and that continues in this book. For the most part Archie is a likable character except for the fact he kept pushing Charlotte to do things, (such as confessing who Henry is) that she clearly wasnt ready to do and kept telling him so. In this area he annoyed me to no end and made a lot of the scenes between him and Charlotte less enjoyable.
The author includes several social issues of the day, one which includes an eight hours work day for the labor force. I loved Charlottes response, Only working eight hours?! How would anything get done??
Overall this was an enjoyable book with several themes running through it, one of which was having faith in God is sometimes very hard and trusting people can be even harder.
You dont have to read the first book to enjoy this one, it has enough background that the reader can easily follow.
Charlotte Farrow continues to keep her secret, but when the woman caring for her child suddenly quits, and when her baby is discovered it is assumed that the baby was abandoned. Charlotte is left to watch silently while the family makes plans for her child, but can she keep herself and her child safe from those who would do them harm?
The sequel to Ms. Newport's The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, continues to follow Charlotte Farrow, and we finally get to find out about her past and what she was running from. I wouldn't say that is totally nescessary that you read the first book in the series before picking this one up, but I would not that it does help fill in the some of the setting and backround.
Charlotte learned about love and overcoming fear, I liked how this book followed Charlotte and how we got to see the Gilded Age through the eyes of a servant instead of someone who was wealthy. I guess the one thing that gives me pause was how even though Charlotte was in a tight situation, it got even worse and she hurt many people by not speaking up. I really felt bad for Elizabeth because she just wanted someone to love and Charlotte hurt her the most by not speaking up right away, so I really hope that Elizabeth get's a happy ending in future books :)
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
If you enjoy Downton Abbey, you'll enjoy this book
January 30, 2013
So often when we read a novel written about the 1800's, we only read about the "upper" class, when in fact there was a large group of people who made the lifestyle of the well-to-do possible. The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow is different. It gives us a look at what life may have been like for these servants.
Charlotte is the heroine of Olivia Newport's newest book in the Avenue of Dreams Series, In The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. Ms. Newport has interestingly portrayed the problems of that invisible class, the household servants. They were hired and fired at the whim of the butler, and often fired for little or no reason at all. They worked long hours for little pay and had to live by the very restrictive rules of their employers.
Charlotte Farrow came to the city of Chicago looking for a way to earn her living and provide for her newborn son. She is helped by a young woman, Lucy Banning, who finds someone to care for her son, and a job for Charlotte in Miss Banning's parent's home. This goes well until the caregiver is called to another city. Whatever is Charlotte to do now? The solution lies with Charlotte. Can she give up her precious son for adoption, or does God have another solution for her problem?
Charlotte's courage emerges on a ride on the first Ferris wheel. The inclusion of the situations the household help faced, the poverty of the average citizen, and the unfair labor and work rules that the workers had to live under and the descriptions of the Chicago World's Fair made this an interesting historical story.
If you enjoy watching the PBS hit, Downton Abbey, I would recommend The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow to you, with a little history lesson besides.
This is a story of both courage and fear. Lucy Banning helped Charlotte keep her secret, but she married and left on an extended honeymoon to Europe.
Then the problems began. The woman who cared for Charlotte's son had an out-of-town emergency, and a scullery maid discovered the boy in a laundry basket. That was when Charlottes deception began to explode with drama.
While fearing for the safety of both herself and her son, she does something that will probably cost her dearly.
Throughout all this, a romance is brewing. It seems that Charlotte's fears may even cost her a chance with a good, loving suitor.
I've enjoyed visiting with the Bannings again and look forward to more books in the Avenue of Dreams series.
***A special thank you to Donna Hausler for providing a review copy.***
Once I read The Pursuit of Lucy Banning last year, I knew I had to get my hands on the next book in the series as soon as it was available! While Lucy's story gives readers insight about life "above stairs," Charlotte's story delves into life "below stairs." As different as the stories were, they were both outstanding, and I think I loved The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow even more!
The historical aspects of this novel were fascinating, and I was impressed by the amount of research that must have gone into writing this novel. All the talk of workers' rights and how it affected the wealthy as well as the servants in their homes cast a new light onto that issue for meÃ¢â¬âmuch different than my history and business classes in college did.
While the romantic aspects weren't as strong as I expected, I still loved watching how Charlotte and Archie's relationship progressed and matured. The other characters were interesting as well, and my fingers are crossed that we'll get to know Sarah better in the next book in the series.
Fans of historical fiction are sure to enjoy this novel (though I would recommend reading the series in order). [5 stars]
Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a free copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.