Monday, 28 May 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport

Back Cover: 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 in 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.

Review: "The Pursuit of Lucy Banning" by Olivia Newport is more than just a lovely cover - it is a delightfully pleasant read as well. The 1892 Chicago setting is brought back to life through the eyes of wealthy, young Lucy Banning. Prior to picking up this novel, I had not heard of the prominent 'Prairie Avenue' nor how its influential families largely orchestrated the World's Colombian Exposition. Isn't it lovely when a novel proves to be both entertaining and educational? While the story of the Banning family is purely fictional, the inclusion of true historical detail such as the burning of the Calumet Club and men and women like George Glassner and Sophia Hayden make it so much more believable.

Lucy Banning is an interesting character. One moment she is stepping into a ballroom and acting the part of a regal lady and the next she is dashing down to the subway in - heaven forbid - store bought clothing to reach the orphanage. Lucy was born and raised to fit into a world of elitism, but her heart and conscience are pulling her into the grungy Chicago streets. Her work at the orphanage and selfless aid of her maid, Charlotte, put her at odds with her wealthy peers and fiance. In a sense, Lucy seems to despair over the lofty position their family holds because, unlike others of her status, she sees the misery and destitution of the less fortunate. The book never explains where Lucy's unique convictions and contempt of her own social class originates from, but one can assume it has something to do with her plucky aunt. Lucy's effort to help is genuine, but her struggle to live in two different worlds can, at times, be awkward.

However, this book is hardly just about Lucy. The inclusion of the industrious Charlotte with her nerve-wracking secret, Lucy's fiance, Daniel, who leaves the reader feeling uneasy, and the charismatic architect Will who is not ashamed to let his interest in Lucy be known all add to a richly woven tale.

"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"

No comments:

Post a Comment