"The Pursuit of Lucy Banning" by Olivia Newport: My review

Pursuit of Lucy Banning, The, Olivia Newport, 978-0-8007-2038-4


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.


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.  


Author Olivia Newport
Olivia Newport's novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. Her husband and two twenty-something 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 day lilies grow as tall as she is.