October 6, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning: A Novel
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning,A Novel (Avenue of Dreams)
(Read by Eleni Pappageorge)

About the Book:

She has a secret to keep. But will she give her heart away? 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 Thoughts:

Well, my first audiobook that I had not read the paperback version first. It certainly had me hooked into the story! I kept taking the long way home from work just so I could listen longer. This story is not high drama or edge of your seat reading, but it really has its charms. It's told mostly from Lucy's point of view but occasionally changes viewpoint to Charlotte-Lucy's maid, Daniel-Lucy's fiance, and Will-Lucy's brother Leo's good friend. I wasn't expecting the changes based on the blurb, but they didn't distract from the story. Actually it was rather helpful to get another point of view in particular situations. Lucy is very forward thinking and loves all the newfangled inventions and modern brain-waves. For instance she enjoys usage of the street cars while her parents refuse to use them. And her father! Beset by mysteriously disappearing sentimental things from his study, he gets all blustery and frustrated and so funny! Ms. Pappageorge does an excellent job at distinguishing each character's voice. I especially loved Lucy's father and Penard, the family butler. The centerpiece of the story though is all the work the city of Chicago was going through to get ready for the World's Fair. Of course Lucy's family, being very well-to-do, helped on several committee's and thus we are privy to lots of the inside goings on. Ms. Newport certainly did her research on the World's Fair, all the tiny details on who designed this and how this was built and who spoke at the opening day and what they said. She does a great job in letting the reader be a fly on the wall as all the bustling and controlled chaos are going on. 

Yes there is romance, but it's not the full focal point of the story. In fact, a lot of it goes on behind the scenes, and we just get glimpses of important moments. Which is needful as the story has to cover close to a year's time-frame. One thing that did bother me was the fact that Lucy agreed to Daniel's proposal prior to the start of the story. We find out pretty much from the get go that she is not happy with this state of affairs, yet she did agree to it knowing that she didn't really want to marry him. It just bothered me that she wasn't a little more considerate of Daniel's feelings in the beginning. But though this frustrated me, it did not take away my enjoyment of the story. Ms. Newport keeps you wondering what will happen and why so-and-so is acting this or that way. Like I said, it's not high drama but a charming look into a historical period in the US. She also nicely finishes the story, but still leaves some things open ended enough that I will look forward to the second book in the series, The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. So go read this one or better yet, listen to the audiobook, it's loads of fun!

{Alas, as I listened to it, I have no passage that I can share. So sorry.}

Toodle-loo kangaroos. Happy reading!

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