by Olivia Newport
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Source: sent by publisher
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
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.
I like the way the cover shows a beautiful girl in an exquisite dress in the midst of the dark dirty streets of Chicago. It really sums up the story in a lot of ways. Lucy is raised in a very upscale household and her parents hold her to a lot of the standards of their peers. But Lucy puts herself out there in the midst of the other side of life in Chicago, she volunteers at an orphanage, she goes to college, and she befriends a maid in her household.
The story is really about both Lucy and the maid, Charlotte. Lucy has always been helping the rest of the city, but when Charlotte arrives with a secret in tow, Lucy realizes that she needs to also help those right under her own roof. I think that really speaks to a lot of readers who are trying to 'save the world' but we really need to look right under our own noses and help people close to us. I would have liked to have known just a little more about Charlotte, especially her back story, but I really enjoyed reading about the lifestyle of those other than the upper class.
How sweet was Will!? I just loved how he was a man of actions not just words. He didn't have to tell Lucy what a great guy he was, he showed her. He didn't even tell her he was going to help out with the orphans or all he did for them, she saw him doing it. Once again, I would have loved to have known more about Will and his story leading up to meeting Lucy's brother, but I still enjoyed what I did know about him. It seemed like there was a lot of set-up about the supporting characters, but then we didn't ever really find out their biggest secrets.
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Cover: 5/5 (even my boyfriend commented on how awesome this cover is)
Bottom Line: A wonderful addition to anyone's inspirational fiction library. I was so drawn in by the diverse characters that I wanted to know even more about their stories.