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Customer Reviews for Revell The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3

Revell The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3

Sarah Cummings has one goal in life-to break into Chicago's high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner and to start eating at society tables, Sarah alters cast-off gowns from the wealthy Banning women to create lustrous, flattering dresses of her own. On a whim at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew's Orphanage, Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of. Will she sacrifice love to continue her pretense? Or can Simon show her that sometimes you don't have to pretend for dreams to come true?
Average Customer Rating:
4.143 out of 5
4.1
 out of 
5
(14 Reviews) 14
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13 out of 1493%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Review 1 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Setting!

Date:June 3, 2014
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Irene
Location:United States
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
The setting is the best part of this historical book. The time period is described beautifully. The clothes of the time are easy to picture with the authors flowing descriptions. I gave this book 4/5 stars. Where the descriptions were great the main female character was just not written as a very likable person. I did not enjoy her and her interactions with those around her. I did get how the author was trying to show how she changes over the pages but it was hard to like her. I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in the time period and setting more than the characters.
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
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Review 2 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Main character no heroine

Date:February 21, 2014
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Heidi
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
The main character Sarah was materialistic, self-absorbed, deceptive, judgmental, and thoughtless. I'm sure we all can be at times, but it didn't make her much of a heroine, since I was rooting the whole time for her to be discovered and wanted to warn Simon away from her. Her change of heart would have been more redemptive had it not happened after her other options ran out. Too little, too late.
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Review 3 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

WOW!!!

Date:November 11, 2013
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Larik
Location:San Antonio, TX
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
Foolish foolish girl. But then I shouldn't say that since I've never walked in her shoes. One thing I learned from this captivating tale is the truth has a way of comming out, whether it was a shameful sin or just a poor girl's innocent dream. Sarah, out of desperation of her situation, had created a new fascinating young lady who had amazing rich family, beautiful dresses, went to the balls and parties on a hand of a tall rich and handsome man. It was like living a dream for a few hours only to come back to the reality and work twice harder to keep her dream going. Not until Simon has convinced her to give him the time of her day and started telling her about his non-fiction life did she realize she was not living but dreaming.. And then only did she start to pay attention to everything that was going on with Brad, Lillie, even Jane and others. I can say this -Sarah was lucky because there were so many people who trully cared and unnoticeably tried to keep her safe even in this saga. I still think it was Kenny who had revealed Brads secret. I think it was a payback for Sarah. Amazing real characters with true emotions. The clear difference between society and everyone else. Captivating and not overly too much political going-ons. And of course detailed description on the aftermath of the Fair and the fire. Ever since April when I read DeeAnn's Gist book - It Happened at the Fair, I was wondering what has become of the city after all the fun left the grounds. This book was and amazing sort of follow up. If you love history and a great saga about finding your true worth and true love this book is for you. I regret to say i didn't want to read it at first but once I started I couldn't stop. I am so going to read the other two in this series. Disclaimer: I recieved a free copy of this book from Revell Publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion
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Review 4 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Favorite of the Series

Date:October 27, 2013
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Amy C
Age:35-44
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
The Invention of Sarah Cummings is about a young lady who wants to be part of high society in Chicago. Sarah Cummings gets herself into a fix when she starts using a fake name, Serena Cuthbert. And then starts making up her past life. She then meets Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew's Orphanage. Can she get over wanting to be part of high society and just start being herself to get what she's dreamed of?
I loved this installment of the Avenue of Dreams Series. Sarah / Serena was a fun character to read about. This was my favorite book of the series. I would recommend this book, as well as, the rest of the series. 4 stars.
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Review 5 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fictitious Identity Causes A Choice and Romance

Date:September 24, 2013
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VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
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
Olivia Newport in her new book, "The Invention Of Sarah Cummings" Book Three in the Avenue of Dreams series published by Revell introduces us to Sarah Cummings .
From the Back Cover: In a world where everyone is putting on a show, there is a love that is genuine.
Sarah Cummings has one goal in life-to break into Chicago's high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner to members of the wealthy Banning family and to start eating at society tables, Sarah spends her meager free time altering cast-off gowns to create the perfect wardrobe for her future life.
When opportunity knocks at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to her goal-and closer to Simon Tewell, director of St. Andrew's Orphanage-Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of.
Can she piece together the perfect life from scraps? Or will it all come unraveled in the face of true love?
Sarah Cummings works as a parlor maid for the Bannings family, from the first book in this series, and she has had a hard life from finding herself suddenly an orphan and forced to grow up in an orphanage she has never had the opportunity to explore her dreams. Sarah is a really good seamstress and makes the most out of old Banning castoffs. Sarah's invention? Well she invents the persona of Serena Cuthbert, a young woman of wealth. "The Invention Of Sarah Cummings" is a story of personal identity and finding fulfillment with the gifts that God has given you. And then there is the romance. Ms. Newport has an amazing way with her characters as she breathes life into them. We get so caught up with the them and their stories that we want there to be more even as we see the book coming to an end. "The Invention Of Sarah Cummings" is even better than the previous two books and is a fitting end to the series. And while I hate to see this series end I can say that I am looking forward to Ms. Newport's next series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Review 6 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

THE INVENTION OF SARAH CUMMINGS...

Date:September 23, 2013
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My Book Addiction
Location:North Carolina
Age:55-65
Gender:female
THE INVENTION OF SARAH CUMMINGS by Olivia Newport Inspirational Historical Romance set during the Gilded Age of Chicago,1890. #3 in the "Avenue of Dreams" series,but can be read as a stand alone, with re-appearing characters. See," The Pursuit of Lucy Banning", and "The Dilemma Of Charlotte Farrow". Sarah Cummings wants desperately to break into high society of Chicago instead of serving them. She works for a wealthy Chicago family, the Banning family, as their parlor maid,but she dreams of a bigger and better life. In her spare time she re-creates cast-off gowns into gowns for her future into High society. Thus,she creates, Serena Cuthbert, with a fictitious past and name what could possibly go wrong? Everything! Enter....Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew's Orphanage. When social class, their expectations,and the past coincides with the present all bets are off. Filled with deception,secrets,faith,forgiveness,healing and love. Sarah/Serena soon learns that you can't go back. While, you may not like Sarah/Serena for the choices she makes or the life she chose, you can not entirely dislike her either. She may be conniving,but she is also charming. As she sees her stories unraveling,can she save the love she has blossoming? Or will she lose it all to her deceit? To find out Sarah/Serena's story, pick up "The Invention of Sarah Cummings" you will not regret your choice. Ms. Newport is a masterful storyteller, who brings history to life on every page as well as her engaging characters,she also gives the reader a glimpse into the life of women during a past era. A delightful read! Received for an honest review from the publisher.
*Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*
RATING:4
HEAT RATING: Sweet
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
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Review 7 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Following Dreams

Date:September 21, 2013
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Pam Burke
Location:Potosi, MO
Age:55-65
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
Once again, Olivia Newport's vivid imagery and masterful intertwining of historical fact with fiction transports readers back to late 19th-century Chicago in grand style. The Invention of Sarah Cummings, book three in her Avenue of Dreams series, continues the story of the wealthy Banning family and their servants -- specifically Sarah Cummings, a young maid who has dreams of finding her way out of service into the privileged life of those she serves.
Olivia's characters are so well developed that you can almost imagine yourself in attendance at the high society events with Chicago's elite, as well as sharing time in the kitchen and servants' quarters with the Bannings' staff. The descriptions of the political climate of the day and the disastrous fires that ravaged parts of Chicago help bring reality to the story in ways that almost blur the lines between truth and imagination.
Sarah's attempts to create a new "reality" for herself and the lessons she learns about love from others and from God make for a very engaging story. I enjoyed book two but found this story even more interesting. Each of these books can be read as stand-alones, but reading the continuing story is even better. I hope soon to find time to read book one and learn more of the background of the Banning family.
If you are a fan of historical fiction -- or if you are willing to give a new genre a try -- I highly recommend The Invention of Sarah Cummings
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Review 8 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:September 21, 2013
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lcjohnson1988
Location:Indiana
Age:45-54
Gender:female
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
This story is set in Chicago on Prairie Avenue, one of Chicago’s wealthiest areas. The main character is Sarah Cummings and she has appeared in another book in this series. Now, she takes center stage. Sarah’s parents were both killed in an accident that sent her to St. Andrew’s Orphanage at the age of 11. Since she didn’t apply herself to her schoolwork, she was put to work as a servant in the Banning household at the age of 16. Now, three years later, she is still a maid in service. She has always envisioned her life as something much different than what it really is. She was not destined to be a servant. Her life was supposed to be different, better. She has a talent for sewing and remakes her employer’s cast-off dresses into new and marvelous creations. A chance meeting with a young, wealthy socialite catapults Sarah into the world of the rich and famous. Sarah has created a double life for herself. When she is in society, she is known as Serena Cuthbert. Serena Cuthbert has parents traveling in Europe, leaving Serena alone in Chicago with great independence. Serena is introduced to Bradley Townsend, a rich business man with political interests. Serena sets her cap for Brad with intentions of marrying him. Sarah thinks a rich husband will take her from her life of drudgery.
At the encouragement of Mrs. Banning’s daughter, Lucy, Sarah volunteers time at the orphanage where she resided teaching the older girls how to sew. Simon Tewell, the director of the orphanage, is thrilled to see Sarah again and quickly becomes enamored of her. He wants Sarah as his wife, but knows he has nothing to offer her that she would accept. He knows she wants more wealth and standing than he has to offer. Simon sees more to Sarah than just her job. Brad doesn’t want to bother a woman with talk of business and politics. How long will Sarah be able to keep up her façade as Serena? Can she finagle Brad into marriage and then tell him the truth? Does Brad have a different plan in mind?
Sarah spends most of the book trying to be someone she is not and justifying her actions to attain her dream. She finally realizes she is looking for validation and love, but in the wrong way and with the wrong person. I think every reader can identify with wanting to be something we aren’t at one time or another. Our value isn’t in our job or money or success. There is also a lesson in charity, giving and serving wholeheartedly. This was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, and the story had some good reminders about God’s love being most important and how He sees our thoughts and actions.
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Review 9 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:September 20, 2013
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Rosie
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
A great conclusion to the trilogy!
I wasn't sure how I felt about Sarah being the main focus of the third book in this series, but I was impressed how Newport "reinvented" her character. This book is worth the read, especially if you thought Sarah acted like a brat in The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. I'm sad to read the last of the Banning family; however, I have enjoyed every page with them.
Sarah is not your average character. Especially in the 1890s. She aspires to be more than just a servant, she wants to be included in high society. She, for some reason, believes that living with fortune will bring her happiness. I liked the way Newport used certain things to turn her around and set her on the right path. I did feel like the ending was rushed, I would have been a little more satisfied had it been longer.
If you've kept up with the rest of the series, then I believe you'll enjoy this one. It can be read stand-alone, but I encourage you to pick up the previous books first. The Invention of Sarah Cummings is a great rainy-day afternoon read as you follow her antics balancing a double life. Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, fans of the Gilded Age will like the story.
Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
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Review 10 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:September 17, 2013
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sunny island breezes
Location:a sunny island
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
Oh, boy! Is she ever tempting fate? “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” I don’t know who first said that, but a school teacher used to tell her class that all the time. Someone should have been telling that to Sarah Cummings.
This book keeps your nerves on edge wondering who and when someone would figure out the truth about Serena’s s-called-life. Sarah certainly has a good imagination.
It’s been good to get back to the Banning household. I CERTAINLY HOPE Ms Newport plans more for the Avenue of Dreams series. I can see at least one more book there.
***A special thank you to Lanette Haskins for providing a review copy.***
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Review 11 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

WILL SERENA TURN SARAH INTO A PRAIRIE AVENUE SNOB?

Date:September 16, 2013
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barbjan10
Location:Arlington, TX
Age:Over 65
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
Feeling somewhat at a loss having not read the first two books in this series, I nevertheless enjoyed The Invention of Sarah Cummings as a standalone story. Olivia Newport was unfamiliar to me as an author and I presently regard her highly as a fine writer and am excited to read her future works. The time period of late 1800’s is a favorite of mine in this historical genre.
It was difficult at times not to be a tad judgmental of Sarah’s choices; but learning her background definitely gave me more understanding and compassion toward her as an individual. She was impetuous, to say the least and at first, quite unlikeable. Without that compelling characteristic, the story wouldn’t have taken hold of my interest as it did. Ms Newport’s story is rich in history around the 1800’s time frame, including the political tensions on all sides of the presidential election between William McKinley vs. William Jennings Bryan. The author obviously is a deep researcher into historical facts which lends completely in writing truth into fiction – a very admirable quality.
Chicago high society in that day is snobbish and discriminating – developing a wide gap in expected behavior between the rich and the poor, particularly those in service to the “polite society.” Sarah Cummings became an orphan in her early teens through a tragic loss of both parents. Without anyone to take guardianship over her, she was placed in St Andrews Orphanage, where she met Simon Tewell, the director of St Andrews who had a secret affinity for Sarah. Sarah had no faith in a God that would allow such misfortune and unhappiness in her life. She was empty and developed some vindictive conniving habits that she felt deservedly would take her where she wanted to go. A chance meeting in a hat shop with a young lady of culture, Lillie Wagner was the beginning of Sarah Cummings new identity as Serena Cuthbert with an impressive new history of living the life of wealthy infamy. Lillie and Serena became instant and fast friends.
So – here we go, hold onto your hat! Lillie takes Serena in hand and introduces her to the society of Chicago and Prairie Avenue, where coincidently Sarah was in service as a maid to the Banning family. Sarah, talented with a needle and thread and could fashion her own clothing from hand-me-downs with an aura perceived as high fashion readily disguising her as the wealthy young woman of good grace named Serena Cuthbert. Story tension builds when Serena meets Bradley Townsend and targets him as husband material. Bradley is involved in the political scene with a life of his own that caused the infrequent dates that was frustrating to Serena.
Serena exploited others unwisely in her endeavors to exist in her disguise. Serena’s antics at being in two places at once, her deceptions, her unique contriving routes of travel, and lies was dizzying. I felt I needed to keep a score card going page after page of Sarah’s demise as Serena could head for a downfall at any time. In my mind, I fathomed Ms Newport still held a few surprising shocks ahead, which kept me involved. Would waiting for Serena and Sarah to meet the real Creator be fulfilled? Candidly, there is nothing further I can share with you about this finely structured tale without ruining your own joy in reading Sarah/Serena’s story. Olivia Newport has written a story of what can happen to anyone without proper respect and value for God’s love, grace and tender mercies. Great lessons can be learned from this worthwhile and imaginative writing skill of Ms Olivia Newport’s Invention of Sarah Cummings.
Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received this book through Revell's Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review.
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Review 12 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Not Seeing What Is In Front Of You

Date:September 16, 2013
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
Another good book by Olivia Newport. This being the third book in the series I was reunited with some of the folks I learned to love in the previous two books.
Sarah Cummings has had a hard life, she went to school one day, and when she returned her life was changed forever. Her parents had both died in a buggy accident, and she ended up in St Andrew's Orphanage. In this book Sarah is trying to escape her past and wants to live more like the people she is in Service to. When she strikes up a conversation with Lillie, a young woman of wealth, she enters a new world...and uses a made of name of Serena Cuthbert. Her parents are traveling in Europe. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
Will Sarah come to senses? Or will she end up in a relationship with someone who will only use her? Will new friends and old ever be able to forgive her?
You will find this one to be a page turner, and want to get to the end to find out the answers to all the questions your mind is going to be asking you. I for one really enjoyed this book.
I received this book through Revell's Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review.
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Review 13 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A wonderful read!!!

Date:September 14, 2013
Customer Avatar
ASC Photos and Designs
Location:NM
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is my first Olivia Newport novel. I've wanted to read the first two so I was happy to read about the women from the first two books in Sarah's story. So this can be kind of a spoiler alert because you will find out where Lucy and Charlotte end up! :) So if you haven't read their stories, and you don't want to read their ends before their beginnings, I suggest you get the first two books first! That said this is a wonderful stand alone novel and the fact that I haven't read the first two yet only made me more intrigued about the first character's stories. The Invention of Sarah Cummings is a GREAT lesson about how lies will lead to nothing but pain! Charming, funny, and exciting! I LOVE Sarah's love of sewing and the parts of her stitching, and the garments she's made, only added to the story and made me love this book more. I was VERY inspired by this book. I loved the characters and the messages; as well as the pace! Flowing from one scene to the next with some time jumps so that when a party was mentioned for Saturday I didn't have to go through the whole week, reading about all of the days in between, just to get to the goodies! The descriptions are fantastic with giving just enough detail and not going overboard. There were some things that I felt were mentioned and then nothing happened with them. So they kind of just dissolved, and there were a few outcomes I wasn't expecting. But just as you think the story is winding down and going to end slowly Olivia picks up the pace again, and keeps you reading on excitedly, with a twist of events! This is a great book to finish and then just think about what you just read. It's a journey that takes so much shape and change it's cool to think back on how it all started! A great book and a Must read!!!
The Invention of Sarag Cummings Soundtrack list is: "Butterfly Waltz - Piano and Cello" by Wedding Day Music, "I'd Rather Have Jesus (Hymns Classics Album Version) " by Hymns Classics Performers, "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Vitamin String Quartet, "I Shall Not Be Moved" by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, "Old Irish Dance (Instrumental)" by St. Patrick Boys
Matthew 16:26
~ASC
*I received this from Revell for the purpose of reviewing it. This in no way affected my opinion and the above is my honest review of The Invention of Sarah Cummings. If you would like to see my other reviews you can find me on my blog ASC Book Reviews. ~ASC
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Review 14 for The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Avenue of Dreams Series #3
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Good historical, but main character hard to like

Date:September 7, 2013
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An Old Fashioned Girl
Location:Minnesota
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Set in 1890's Chicago, Olivia Newport's "The Invention of Sarah Cummings" follows a young parlor maid as she invents for herself a role in upper class society. Orphaned as a child and sent into service as a teenager, Sarah has become an accomplished seamstress but longs for a life of ease. In a spur of the moment decision, Sarah invents for herself a new name - Serena Cuthbert - along with a full, affluent past to sneak her way into society and a wealthy marriage. However, her new life still has to be sandwiched in between her duties as a maid and her obligation to teach sewing classes for the girls at the orphanage where she grew up, and it becomes harder and harder to keep her servile life secret from her friends and beau in society.
I do not completely dislike Sarah, but due to her choices and the motives behind them, it is also hard to actually like her. If there were anything noble about her deception, it would be easier, but it is purely for her own personal gain that she passes herself off as a socialite. Creating, owning, and wearing fancy dresses is acceptable; creating a false life with the full intention of perpetuating it through marriage is not. I also had a hard time understanding her fantasy - she can appear to be a wealthy lady by her dress and talk, but the moment they find out the truth, where will she be? Back to being just a maid, quite possibly sacked, and likely branded a liar. In the city where she was born and raised, where acquaintances abound, there is too miniscule a chance of pulling off her deception even long enough to become engaged, let alone marry.
Newport writes an incredibly rich historical novel, in which clearly a significant amount of research was involved. "Invention" involves a lot of the political history of the time, including the William McKinley vs William Jennings Bryan debates and presidential election, at a time when America was moving toward leaving the gold standard for currency. Her take on the upstairs-downstairs roles is also well written, and in spite of Sarah's blurred view of the lines, it is still clearly a very real divide - the wealthy can choose to "work" by occasionally helping with charities, but they are not friends with nor do they marry those of the working class. Newport's appreciation for the perfection involved in service comes through in Sarah's tendency to notice the hard work of other servants while she is pretending to be Serena Cuthbert.
The novel was not exactly what I had anticipated. Having never read any of Newport's novels before, I was expecting something a little more lighthearted and romantic, based on the title and description; this, however, is decidedly on the reserved side, with a greater emphasis on the history than the romance. Since the relationship between Sarah and Simon is not a strong focus of the book, it seems a bit rushed in the end when Sara is finally willing to take a chance on him. Also, I am uncertain as to whether or not she learns anything spiritually; she learns to accept herself and chooses to make things right with Simon, but I do not feel she is any closer to God personally at the end of the book than at the beginning. Given that, along with how difficult it was to care for the main character, I give this book 3 stars. While it is the third book of a series, I had no problem following the story. I would still like to read the first two novels of the series, though, as I liked the writing style and strong historical basis.
I received a free e-copy of this novel from Revell via Netgalley for the purpose of review; all opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to make my review positive.
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