A Sweet Debut: The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport
|The Pursuit of Lucy Banning|
by 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 squeeze herself into the mold of the well-dressed wife who spends most of her time and money redecorating.
When she meets Will, 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?
Get swept away into the lavish world of Chicago's high society as Olivia Newport brings to life an age of glitz and grandeur, stark social contrasts, and one woman who dares to cross class lines for what she believes.
First things first, I love this cover. I know that it has the typical lady-in-a-pretty-dress thing going on but I love the background! Since the heroine does a lot of traveling around 19th-century Chicago the gritty, bustling street scene is very appropriate and I wish more romances went with covers like this one. Even books that are set in cities seem to have the perfectly clean and serene covers that don't really fit the story at all so kudos to the art department and designers on this one!
Secondly, and more importantly, the story in between the cover was good too. I've been raving about the wonderful contemporary debuts that I have been reading in the past few weeks and I'm so happy to say I have found a historical worthy of the ol' keeper shelf. It isn't without its flaws but it is a solid debut that has me very intrigued. The book takes place over a year so it isn't a fast-moving, hold on to your hat, whirlwind story and there isn't really all that much romance however that doesn't mean it isn't interesting. There is a HEA (although I won't spoil it and say whose) but I felt Lucy's story was more about deciding where she wanted to go with her life and what was most important rather than focusing on the romantic part. That said, if you're looking for a dreamy, take me away romance this probably won't be a book for you.
I like where Ms. Newport went with this story as far as making Lucy a bit of an independent without being completely radical for the time period. However, as much as I liked Lucy I liked Charlotte, her maid, a whole lot more. At times I felt myself wanting to skip the bits where Charlotte wasn't present, not because the story wasn't interesting (read above paragraph) but because she was such an intriguing person! I wanted to know why she was keeping the huge secret, how she came to have/end up with what she was keeping secret, why she left her home etc. but sadly I didn't get much closure. Hopefully book two will give us some answers. I'm crossing my fingers because Charlotte was my favorite character and I NEED to know what's going on!
Finally, if you like your stories laced with Scripture you won't find it in this book. I would go so far as to say that this is a "clean" story and not really Christian fiction. I don't have a problem with it but I know sometimes books in the genre can get "preachy" and turn off readers (just read some Amazon reviews out there...yikes). The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is definitely a book I would recommend for Christian fiction newbies or to someone who hasn't read the genre before.
All in all, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning was a nice first showing by Olivia Newport. Judging by her Twitter page we will have plenty of stories, contemporary and historical, in which we will hopefully discover more of her writing talent!
To learn more about the author and her books visit HER WEBSITE
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for posting my review for this blog tour. I was not compensated in any way.*