Monday, May 14, 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning



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.

My Review:

Wonderful debut novel! Loved the historical detail. Newport's research swept me back in time to an opulent world I can only imagine. A stunning backdrop for this coming of age story...or should I say coming into her own story?

Lucy remains surprisingly untouched by her wealth despite her upbringing. The expectations her parents and society place upon her are in direct conflict with her own desires. Her struggle to stay true to herself while placating those she loves makes for a tense read.  Lucy's actions are dictated by her heart and an innate ability to look beyond her privileged life. She takes up the cause of those less fortunate then she with a quiet dignity that belies her age. 

This is very much Lucy's story, but it is Charlotte, a secondary character and a servant at that, who stole my heart. I very much hope that the next book in the series will be about her because Newport has left many unanswered questions that are clamoring to be answered.

While I liked Will, I felt that I wasn't given much of an opportunity to know him. I think that some of his scenes were edited out to meet the word count demands of the publisher. In particular there is one 'scene' that isn't. It took quite some orchestrating to get the key characters (Lucy and Will) together at an event.  In fact the lead up to this event had me happily anticipating their first 'date' even if that word hadn't been coined yet. But the scene was skipped...the day glossed over and I was so flummoxed that I read back a few pages to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I hadn't -- the event was covered in Lucy's personal musings later and left me feeling a tad cheated. Definitely a missed opportunity to draw on some romantic tension for this reader.

But there's a hint of mystery in this read and a great surprise ending so it definitely belongs on every historical lover's TBR list and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the Avenue of Dreams series which releases in January 2013...and yipeee! It is Charlotte's story! I can't wait!!!!

Giveaway Opportunity:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. Remember to put the title in the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 20. Offer open to international readers.

"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".


  1. This book sounds really good and I can't wait to read it! I love finding new authors!


  2. I would love to win this one! Sounds like a great story.

    sunshine6892 at hotmail dot com

  3. The Pursuit of Lucy Banning sounds interesting, please toss my name in the hat. Thanks, Kav!
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

  4. The cover is gorgeous and what I like even more is the setting and that it features an architect. It reminds me of another book I read, A Race to Splendor which had a female architect. This story sounds interesting and I think I'll really like it.


  5. The Pursuit of Lucy Banning has a lovely cover and is receiving some good reviews. I think I would enjoy reading it so please enter me in the drawing for a copy. Thanks!


  6. Ooh, this book sounds good and I'm anxious to read it. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!


  7. Love the dress on the cover! The storyline is great. Please enter me.

    Linda at: desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  8. Consider yourself entered, Linda. Good luck!

  9. Sounds like an interesting book. I would like to be entered. teshaw(at)sbcglobal(dot)net. Thanks.

  10. This book sounds sooo good. I would buy it by just the cover alone because it is so beautiful. I would love to win a copy of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning.


  11. Good luck Tammie and Judy!

  12. I would love to have this book to read!! Historical fiction is my favorite and I would like to learn more about the Chicago's World Fair.

  13. Love a good ending that you don't actually see coming! Add my name to the drawing.


  14. You're in the draw Lane hill and Patty. Good luck!

  15. thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  16. I would love the chance to go in the draw for this book! Sounds great!!


  17. Good luck Karen and Esther!

  18. I loooove historical fiction!