Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport ~ Review

I often enjoy a quick weekend read when I’m swamped with reviews and need to catch up quickly. So while I quickly read through “The Pursuit of Lucy Banning” I was impressed with the intricacies of the plot that kept the story evenly paced and me always curious to see what would come next.

            Lucy is a strong heroine. She is focused on her dreams, but the world she lives in isn’t ready for the storm of her motivations. As a reader I couldn’t help, but want to see her strike out on her own and make a way, but what I also appreciated that in her forward thinking, she was respectful of her parents slow understanding of her dreams.

            Charlotte’s story intrigued me the most and is such a unique position for the women of her time. What happens to her in coming books is definitely a selling point.

            I wanted more page time with the romance between Lucy and Will. I thought it was pretty quick and to the point, I wanted to watch it mature a bit more. Some of that could be word/page count restriction or just taking time to flesh out Lucy’s story.

            I was impressed that (except for a bit in the romance department) the two stories of Charlotte and Lucy seamlessly came together and my investments as a reader were not overly torn. An enjoyable debut novel!

            This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

            **Available May 2012 from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group**

More about the novel...and an interview with the author!

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.

*How did The Pursuit of Lucy Banning get started?
I have Chicago suburban roots, but I had not heard of the Prairie Avenue Historical District until a friend of mine became a docent at the Glessner House Museum on Prairie Avenue. This house preserves the flavor of Chicago’s gilded age when the neighborhood was full of wealthy powerhouses of industry. As soon as my friend began his training, he saw the potential for the setting of a story. He is not a fiction writer, but he knew my interests. It did not take us long to cook up story ideas about a daughter of a privileged family who engaged with the changing social climate of her time.

*Will we know what happens to Lucy after the end of the book?
Charlotte Farrow is a secondary character in The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, and she will have her own full story next. The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow will release in January. After that comes Sarah Cummings, who is introduced during Charlotte’s story. Lucy Banning and her family appear in all three books. Even though the main characters will change, readers can follow the next several years of Lucy’s life.

*Is any part of you sorry to be finished writing The Pursuit of Lucy Banning?
Yes! I’ve been living with Lucy for three years now. I feel I know her well. Lucy has a part in the two stories to follow, and these are still in the editorial pipeline so I’ll have opportunities to visit with her again over the next few months. Beyond that, I have a picture of what happened in her life and know that she found happiness and meaning. And that brings me pleasure.

*If someone else were sitting at your desk right now, what would they see?
A visitor to my office would see multiple attempts at organization, some of which are actually useful! I have several racks for folders and papers, and only I know what qualifies for which rack. I insist on colorful, fun folders. A couple of binders hold manuscripts in progress or research. I expect a visitor would be curious about the various notes I have taped up around my desk, some of which are information I refer to because I can’t remember otherwise, and some of which are inspiration, both to keep my writing on task and my heart in a settled place. 


  1. Great review and interviews! I love that dress on the cover. :)

    1. The interview was fun. Glad I had the chance through Revell. :)

  2. Beautiful cover! Marking this as a must read! :)

  3. Casey,

    I found you in an odd way. I was showing my sister Interrupted on PaperBackSwap and I saw your review. I clicked on your profile and saw that you were a homeschool writer. This is to cool! I am not only a homeschool author, but I have a blog that promotes homeschool authors! If your books get published (they sounds awesome by the way) let me know and I will add you to the list.


    1. That is an odd way, but I'm so glad you did, Sarah! I so appreciate you stopping by and visiting for a bit. I'm going to have to check out your site. Sounds like my kind of place!!

    2. Casey, is this the Cara Putman you were talking about?

    3. Yep, that's her! She just released a sweetheart of a novel too, A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island. :)

    4. Thank you for letting me know! I will add her to the list!

  4. Haven't read this yet, but loved the Debutantes' Soiree last night...hearing about her book definitely intrigued me!


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According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

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