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Customer Reviews for Revell The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1

Revell The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1

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 the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets 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?
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Customer Reviews for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Review 1 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 23, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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 the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets 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?
Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.
My Review:
I know it is the peril of every reader to fall in love with a character every time they open a novel, and as a reader of many books, I try to not let that be my fate. Respect for the characters is natural, not all of them, but at least one. An admiration for the depth of character development an author has presented is usually more along the lines of what I take from a book, but I try to not let the people stay with me too long.
I say all that to simply state this: I love Lucy. I have never met a character from high society that has as much appreciation for those who were not born into money. She doesn't think about others in terms of what they can do for her, but what she can do for them. Lucy's behavior towards Charlotte was admirable, and I really loved how she kept Charlotte's secret despite the scandal that would have caused if discovered. An excellent read that gives us a glimpse of the past, and a story that brings 1893 to life.
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Review 2 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 17, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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 the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets 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?
Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.
My Review:
I know it is the peril of every reader to fall in love with a character every time they open a novel, and as a reader of many books, I try to not let that be my fate. Respect for the characters is natural, not all of them, but at least one. An admiration for the depth of character development an author has presented is usually more along the lines of what I take from a book, but I try to not let the people stay with me too long.
I say all that to simply state this: I love Lucy. I have never met a character from high society that has as much appreciation for those who were not born into money. She doesn't think about others in terms of what they can do for her, but what she can do for them. Lucy's behavior towards Charlotte was admirable, and I really loved how she kept Charlotte's secret despite the scandal that would have caused if discovered. An excellent read that gives us a glimpse of the past, and a story that brings 1893 to life.
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Review 3 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Nice start to a series

Date:September 26, 2013
Customer Avatar
An Old Fashioned Girl
Location:Minnesota
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
In the first novel of her Avenue of Dreams series, Olivia Newport introduces Lucy Banning, the daughter of a wealthy, upper class family in Chicago. While Lucy is an accomplished young woman, engaged to a family friend, and charitable by nature - a perfect daughter. However, she has a secret passion of which her family and fiance would not approve - she wants desperately to earn a college degree, and she has been taking a class at the university. Granted, she acquires another secret soon after they hire a new maid; Charlotte Farrow, the new kitchen help, has been hiding a newborn up in her room, and single women in service do not have children, or they will be sacked instantly, assuming they ever were hired in the first place. Lucy is trying to balance her schoolwork, charitable obligations at an orphanage, and Charlotte's secret, all while trying to find a way to break it off with Daniel, her fiance. Then, to top it off, her brother has brought home a middle class architect friend who tugs at Lucy's heart. How can she keep the peace while harboring such secrets?
While there is romance in the novel, the focus is more on the historical aspects and the relationship between Lucy and Charlotte - the daughter of the house and the maid. Newport writes a clearly well-researched novel. Her take on the upstairs-downstairs roles is well written, where the servants' jobs are held basically by whim of the butler - it is he whom the family will listen to when hiring and firing, if they bother to take active part themselves. Lucy and Charlotte come from two separate worlds - each is allowed in certain rooms of the house and not others, and they hold very few in common. However, by trespassing into the servants' areas, Lucy discovers Charlotte's plight and offers to help, forging a bond that is inappropriate for their stations. While Lucy and Charlotte become friends, there is still a significant divide between them - each knows her place, and they do not forget it.
Over all, it was an enjoyable novel. The main characters are very likeable, and I couldn't hate Daniel - just felt sorry for him, since what happens is not wholly his fault. The characters were not without a little spiritual growth, and it was fun to watch Lucy especially match her potential to become a strong and mature woman. The backdrop of preparing for the World's Fair was interesting, and the plot entertaining. 4 out of 5 stars
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Review 4 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

a beautiful story & an enjoyable read

Date:October 4, 2013
Customer Avatar
Christian Fiction Section
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Pursuit of Lady Banning is the first in Olivia Newport's Avenue of Dreams series. The third book in this series is being released this month. Read more about it here.
Lucy Banning is a member of the prestigious Banning family. Her life on Prairie Avenue is filled with luxury, beaded gowns, elite social circles, and...living up to the expectations of her family. Her upcoming marriage to a successful banker was arranged by her parents when she was just a child and her family has brought her up to be an excellent wife. She should have no need for anything else!
But Lucy's heart longs for something more and even she has her secrets. How long will she have to wait before she can tell Daniel about her plans? What will happen when her family discovers that she has not been spending as much time at the orphanage as they think...and when they find out the reason she really goes into town two extra times a week is to attend a course at the new University? Her family does not understand her commitment to the children at the orphanage and Lucy regrets that even Daniel does not approve of her volunteer work.What will she do when things start going missing in the house and she discovers the new kitchen maid's secret? Then there's Leo's friend, Will - a pleasant young architect who is new to the area and seems to be able to bring out the best in Lucy. Can she trust him with her secrets? When Daniel's behavior leans more toward dangerous than dashing, will they be able to help him or will his bitterness lead to his demise?
I have always loved stories set in this time period. They leave me wishing, for a few moments, that I had lived in that era. The elegant clothing, adherence to etiquette, and the fine poise and grace women put on full display sometimes sounds so appealing and otherworldly. This story was no exception. Olivia chose such a beautiful setting for her story and I found that I could fully picture the Banning home, the neighborhood, the University, and the orphanage in my mind...even their food sounded delicious! The author brings her characters to life and I can't help but like them. The use of American history is cleverly woven throughout the book and it's easy to imagine the excitement of the significant events of that decade. Aunt Violet is a loveable character and I admire her gumption and support for Lucy's ambition. I only wish I could have seen more of the interaction between Will and Lucy, but since this is only the first book in the Avenue of Dreams series, I'm sure this isn't the last I'll be seeing them. I'm looking forward to reading more of Charlotte's story in Book # 2 and, of course, to meeting Sarah in the 3rd book.
Overall, I recommend this book. It's a charming, easy, and enjoyable read.
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Review 5 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Just one of those books...

Date:April 5, 2013
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The Quiet Eccentric
Location:Canada
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I'd seen this book at our library many times, and so finally I decided to read it. I didn't really expect it to be amazing, and it wasn't. It was well researched but I found the plot a little monotonous and the romance between our two main characters wasn't very exciting or clear. They were attracted to each other, it mentions that they kissed and then they're planning to get married. I personally was hoping for a little more then that. Lucy Banning was a typical heroine, outgoing, independent, and very considerate of the lower class.
All in all, I would recommend this book to those who love historical fiction set in the late eighteen hundreds. Nothing remarkable, but enjoyable none the less.
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Review 6 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Excellent!

Date:December 20, 2012
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Lala
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
*Spoiler Alert!*
I would give this book a 4 1/2 stars instead of just a four stars to start with! I gave it a 4 1/2 stars only because it didn't end as I thought it would concerning Daniel. I was surprised to hear about what happens to Daniel having to go to an asylum because I didn't think it really realistic considering that my dad has mental problem issues. The author should have more cues to the reader that there was something up with Daniel before the engagement was broken between Lucy and Daniel. I say this because if someone has a mental illness there would be a lot more "cues" I guess you could say to the people around him that would have a good idea that something was wrong. Granted that was a life-changing event for Daniel when his engagement was broken, but I don't think that his "issues" would just all of sudden start happening and lead to speedy diagnosis of a mental illness. However, I loved the characters especially Charlotte! I admit that I was bummed that she didn't get Henry back and have a "happy ending," but I did see the second book in this series is about her (definitely can't wait to read it)! I thought the details of Chicago were amazing! Overall I really liked this book and will read it again in the future! I am glad that I had the chance to discover this author!
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Review 7 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

My Favorite Era in Historical Fiction

Date:December 11, 2012
Customer Avatar
Christy Janes
Age:25-34
Gender:female
What a lovely journey back to the Gilded Era in fiction! I tell ya, this has got to be my favorite period of history to read about. I love the fashion, the manners, the occasions--all of it just makes me smile. And what's even better is now this era has a new author to add to it's ranks--Olivia Newport.
Considering this was her debut novel, I was extremely impressed with the balance throughout the story. There was a small bit of romance, a little air of mystery and suspicion, and a glorious backdrop of the 1893 World's Fair. All three blended together made for a delightful read.
What was a bit disappointing, though, was that it didn't really feel like a Christian fiction novel. There were a couple of instances where church was mentioned, but Christian elements did not weave themselves through the story like the books I've read by other authors published through Revell. However, for someone looking for simply a clean novel, I'd have no trouble recommending this one.
Olivia looks like she'll be one busy lady in the next few years with all the books she's slated to release! I, for one, am anxious to see what her style is like with some other genres, but will be even more eager to take another journey back to Prairie Avenue in Chicago with the next book in this series.
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Review 8 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A truly wonderful read!

Date:September 5, 2012
Customer Avatar
Rosie
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I thoroughly enjoyed The Pursuit of Lucy Banning and I look forward to the sequel The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. I have a strong love for books that transport me back to late 1800s and early 1900s and this book, if anything, encouraged my affection. :-)
Lucy Banning is a woman who is beginning to want more than what life is offering her. She wants to be a New Woman and go to a university, get a degree, help out more at orphanages, and so forth. All things that her mother and father disapprove of.
I found this book such an easy read. It captured and held my attention, keeping me turning pages until the last. I could relate to Lucy, as well as Charlotte, a side character, and appreciate how difficult it must have been to be betrothed all one's life.
Ms. Newport allowed into her delightful read mystery and a dash of romance making me like it all the more.
I give this book four stars.
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Review 9 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Woman With a Mind of Her Own

Date:June 23, 2012
Customer Avatar
MaureenT
Location:Syracuse NY
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Lucy Banning has been born to a life of privilege, but has a heart for those that are less fortunate. She appears to have it all, when the story opens. She is taking college classes, behind everyone's back, and engaged to be married to her childhood friend Daniel.
Daniel is also from "Money", and has a career as a promising Banker. She has two older brother's Oliver and Leo. When her brother Leo brings home his friend Will, Lucy is very interested. Even her mother notices, and admonishes her....after all she is an engaged woman.
Lucy is also playing an active roll in the upcoming 1893 World's Fair. With this there are also strange things happening at the house.
I read this in almost one setting...such a great quick read...and you won't know all the answers to almost the end.
I received this book from the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.
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Review 10 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Very pleasant read.

Date:May 28, 2012
Customer Avatar
Jenna
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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 classes—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.
To see this and other book reviews, please visit http://novelundertaking.blogspot.ca/.
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Review 11 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Lovely Look at the Gilded Age

Date:May 28, 2012
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Keli Gwyn
Location:Northern California
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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.
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Review 12 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wonderful story with the World Fair weaved within

Date:May 22, 2012
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 13 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent insight - lives of the rich in 1893

Date:May 18, 2012
Customer Avatar
Julieanne Miller
Location:Oregon
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
Lucy’s dilemma with her fiancé comes as she realizes she and Daniel have very different objectives in life. She is perplexed as to how to handle this, and Daniel is very forceful in attempting her to conform to his wishes. It is a very difficult situation. In the midst of all this, a new young man is introduced into the mix, a man of whom the family knows nothing - but Lucy is smitten. It makes for a fascinating drama within the network of personalities and comes to an amazing conclusion.
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!
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Review 14 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Stunning Debut!

Date:May 17, 2012
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 strong—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.
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Review 15 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A strong debut from an author to watch

Date:May 17, 2012
Customer Avatar
Christianfictionaddiction
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I sometimes wonder what I would have been like if I'd been born over a hundred years ago. Would I have let myself be held captive by societal expectations, or would I have thrown convention to the wind and charted my own course? Olivia Newport has created a fabulous novel in The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, where the main character, Lucy, certainly refuses to let society or circumstances define her future, resulting in a story that I enjoyed every minute of! What I most appreciated about Lucy is that her refusal to be "status quo" is not just for her own selfish gains, but rather for caring for orphans instead of planning her expected marriage, or helping a maid keep a precious secret even though society says she shouldn't even associate with the household staff. The story is set in a wonderful period of time, the year that Chicago was preparing to host the World's Columbian Exposition, and as such is filled with interesting historical details and settings. I greatly enjoyed the unexpected intrigue and family suspense that revealed itself, which was resolved in a satisfactory manner and one that illuminated ever more the special nature of Lucy Banning. The novel is somewhat light on the spiritual side of things, but provides a clean, appropriate, and enjoyable read that celebrates grace and the power of forgiveness.
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is a strong debut novel, and I award it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm looking forward to future additions to the "Avenue of Dreams" series.
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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Review 16 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Nice debut!

Date:May 16, 2012
Customer Avatar
Michelle Sutton
Location:Arizona
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoy reading about the time period...pretty much every time I get a book set during this part of American history. Oh, and the Chicago World's Fair is a great setting. Having recently been to Chicago and driven down Michigan Avenue, I found that quite intriguing as well. Of course, throw in an orphanage and people who help them, and you've got me hooked. I love stories were people of means sincerely care for the poor and don't help them out of duty. Lucy was a great character when it came to her compassion. The same went for Will. And I just plain felt sorry for Daniel. If you read the book, you'll see why.
The love part of the story was slow in coming, but it was nice and satisfying when it finally happened. There were a number of other elements in the story that were nice twists and turns to the plot. I was worried for the characters as well. And Charlotte's secret... well, let's just say my heart still hurts for her situation. Maybe she'll find love in another book with a certain servant named Archie? Of course, there is that legal issue and the fact that she is hiding for safety reasons that sort of puts a snafu in that plan. But authors can do amazing things in fiction and I'm looking forward to seeing what Ms. Newport cooks up next.
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Review 17 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent historical novel

Date:May 16, 2012
Customer Avatar
In The Hammock Blog
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I like the way the cover shows a beautiful girl in an exquisite dress in the midst of the dark dirty streets of Chicago. It really sums up the story in a lot of ways. Lucy is raised in a very upscale household and her parents hold her to a lot of the standards of their peers. But Lucy puts herself out there in the midst of the other side of life in Chicago, she volunteers at an orphanage, she goes to college, and she befriends a maid in her household.
The story is really about both Lucy and the maid, Charlotte. Lucy has always been helping the rest of the city, but when Charlotte arrives with a secret in tow, Lucy realizes that she needs to also help those right under her own roof. I would have liked to have known just a little more about Charlotte, especially her back story, but I really enjoyed reading about the lifestyle of those other than the upper class.
I loved how Will was a man of actions not just words. He didn't have to tell Lucy what a great guy he was, he showed her. He didn't even tell her he was going to help out with the orphans or all he did for them, she saw him doing it. Once again, I would have loved to have known more about Will and his story leading up to meeting Lucy's brother, but I still enjoyed what I did know about him. It seemed like there was a lot of set-up about the supporting characters, but then we didn't ever really find out their biggest secrets.
A wonderful addition to anyone's inspirational fiction library. I was so drawn in by the diverse characters that I wanted to know even more about their stories.
book sent by publisher in exchange for honest review
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Review 18 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:May 16, 2012
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sunny island breezes
Location:a sunny island
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Notice that this book is not “in pursuit of Lucy, ” but rather “the pursuit of Lucy.” So just what is she pursuing?
It’s definitely not a husband, home and family. Neither is she interested in all the social functions that a young lady in high society is supposed to pursue.
Lucy is interested in her charity work and her special pursuit. This puts her in danger more than a few times. Her family continues to push for a marriage between Lucy and the son of old family friends. Will Lucy cave in and marry him, giving up her dreams in the process.
In the end her secret is exposed, but a love interest encourages her to continue her pursuit.
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Review 19 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Critical scenes missing, love interest hardly seen

Date:May 16, 2012
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Debbie from ChristFocus
Location:Harrison, AR
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
"The Pursuit of Lucy Banning" is a historical romance set in 1892 in Chicago. Though the book description mentions the 1893 World's Fair, there is actually very little about that in this book. The author liked lists (like listing the menu for every meal), and this tended to slow the pacing. However, there was some fairly nice historical detail about the city and events worked into the story.
Using only 282 pages to tell even one story well can be tricky, but this novel was essentially three stories (Lucy's story, Charlotte's story, and Daniel's story) in one book. (Love-interest Will was a minor character until page 161 after which he disappeared from the story for nearly 50 pages, which is odd for a romance.)
Several important scenes were missing, like the scene where Lucy tells her mother/parents that she just broke her engagement, the scene where she enjoyed viewing the art with Will (and started falling in love with him), scenes of her with the orphans (as we see little interaction between them), and the scene where we could see her father's reaction to the stolen items being found.
If Daniel was meant to be a controlling personality (or somehow "off") from the start, I needed to see that from the start rather than a caring, permissive fiancee. If her parents made her worry that they'd react really badly to her taking university courses, we need a scene showing that and subsequent scenes need to back that up. As it was, Lucy's worries seemed unfounded.
I also didn't like Lucy in the first half of the book. I grant that Lucy and Daniel weren't a good match in interests, but that doesn't excuse how badly Lucy behaved toward Daniel in scene after scene.
She also had no problem with lying to her parents about how she spent her time ("I'm being so righteous helping those poor orphans and spending your money to make their life better!") when she's really spending most of that time taking an art history course. And we have no real reason to believe her parents would actually stop her from taking the courses if she'd just asked. They hadn't denied any of her other requests even when they didn't quite approve of them.
By the end, Lucy was a nice person, but not because she saw the error of her ways. It's like those errors never happened. The author just started writing her as nice. Worse, what she learned from all her lying was that, if a man "truly loved her," he'd "trust" her by not showing any interest in what she's up to when he knows she's hiding activities from him. Hmm. It was her who didn't trust those who loved her.
The two characters that bothered to think about God didn't have positive thoughts. Charlotte didn't have time for God because she believed He didn't have time for her. Lucy was more interested in mentally criticizing the church architecture, the preacher, and her fellow rich Christians than in God. She also felt very self-righteous because she helped orphans. I would have thought this novel was a secular one, but it came from a Christian publisher.
There was no sex. There was no bad language. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book due to the critical, missing scenes.
I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
+2points
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Review 20 for The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Avenue of Dreams Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Lovable Lucy

Date:May 16, 2012
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Sally
Location:Tampa, FL
Okay, all together now; let's sing: I Love Lucy. The title character, Lucy Banning, is polite, intelligent, pretty, kind hearted, and mannerly. Why, she's close to perfect and therefore, lovable and deserving of our song. And that is the major flaw in this otherwise interesting historical work of fiction. The characters are rather flat.
Nonetheless, the book is enjoyable. The setting of Chicago preparing for the World's Fair allows the reader to appreciate how different times were.
Thank you to Donna Hausler at Baker Publishing for my copy. Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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