Saturday, January 26, 2013


The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow


Olivia Newport

  • 978-0-8007-2039-1
  • $14.99
  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Pub Date: January 2013


 About the book . . . 

In the second book of the Avenue of Dreams series, Olivia Newport explores the complicated relationship between social classes while creating a story of courage, strength, and tender romance.  Set against the glittering backdrop of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, this compelling story captures the tension between the wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.

Charlotte Farrow, a maid in the wealthy Banning household on Chicago's opulent Prairie Avenue, has kept her baby boy a secret from her employers for nearly a year. But when the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child's fate. Can she face the truth of her own past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life's tragedies determine the future for her?

Where to Purchase

 About the author . . .          

Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Her novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. Her husband and two adult children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

Reader Review. . . 

After Charlotte escaped a bad marriage and an even worse husband, she found employment with the Banning family in Chicago.  Her employer and confidante, Lucy, helped her find a place to keep her infant son and kept her secret from the rest of the household.  But while Lucy is in Paris on her honeymoon, her son is abruptly returned to her.  Charlotte knows that if she can wait until Lucy returns, the problem will be solved. She struggles to keep the infant near her while trying to keep his identity secret.  But just when she thinks she may have everything under near-control, a man returns from her past.  He has the power to ruin Charlotte's young life.

On rare occasions, the sequel is better.  This is one of those rare occasions.  I read and reviewed  The Pursuit of Lucy Banning last year, and liked it (4 stars).  Somehow, this novel surpasses the first one.  Ms. Newport continues to paint a vivid picture of 1893 Chicago and the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition; she knows her subject well.  But her understanding and depiction of servants of that time sets this work apart.  Women of Charlotte's social class did not have many rights or prospects at that time, and the discovery of an infant would have diminished even those.  The author has created such a realistic portrayal of the household that the reader will feel as if they know the characters.  Of course, being a fan of the BBC's Downton Abbey, I could not help but project their faces and voices onto some of Ms. Newport's characters.  In my head, Mr. Penard sounded like Carson, Sarah looked and sounded like Daisy, and Archie bears a striking resemblance to Tom Branson, Lord Grantham's chauffeur and son-in-law.  I share this not to change the subject, but to support my recommendation of this novel for Downton Abbey fans.  

Recommended for mature adolescents and up, along with the aforementioned  Downton Abbey fans. 

5 stars

“Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Baker Publishing Group  <> book review bloggers program. 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.”


Two things are aesthetically perfect in the world - the clock and the cat.
Emile Auguste Chartier


Teddy Rose said...

I don't read Christian fiction but this sounds like a niche historical fiction.


It is, and for those who don't normally read Christian fiction, it wasn't so religion-oriented that it would alienate the reader.

Rebecca Graf said...

Sounds really good. Will have to put it on my to-do list.


Rebecca- Thanks for commenting; as I think I said in my review, it is the second in a series, but it works fine as a stand-alone novel.


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