Saturday, September 21, 2013

Following Dreams -- The Invention of Sarah Cummings

Once again, Olivia Newport's vivid imagery and masterful intertwining of historical fact with fiction transports readers back to late 19th-century Chicago in grand style.  The Invention of Sarah Cummings, book three in her Avenue of Dreams series, continues the story of the wealthy Banning family and their servants -- specifically Sarah Cummings, a young maid who has dreams of finding her way out of service into the privileged life of those she serves.

Olivia's characters are so well developed that you can almost imagine yourself in attendance at the high society events with Chicago's elite, as well as sharing time in the kitchen and servants' quarters with the Bannings' staff.  The descriptions of the political climate of the day and the disastrous fires that ravaged parts of Chicago help bring reality to the story in ways that almost blur the lines between truth and imagination.

Sarah's attempts to create a new "reality" for herself and the lessons she learns about love from others and from God make for a very engaging story.  I enjoyed book two (read my review here) but found this story even more interesting.  Each of these books can be read as stand-alones, but reading the continuing story is even better.  I hope soon to find time to read book one and learn more of the background of the Banning family.

If you are a fan of historical fiction -- or if you are willing to give a new genre a try -- I highly recommend The Invention of Sarah Cummings
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

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

About the Book

In a world where everyone is putting on a show, there is a love that is genuine.

Sarah Cummings has one goal in life--to break into Chicago's high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner to members of the wealthy Banning family and to start eating at society tables, Sarah spends her meager free time altering cast-off gowns to create the perfect wardrobe for her future life.

When opportunity knocks at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to her goal--and closer to Simon Tewell, director of St. Andrew's Orphanage--Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of.

Can she piece together the perfect life from scraps? Or will it all come unraveled in the face of true love?

About the Author
Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning and The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. Her husband and two twentysomething 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. Find out more at

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