Charlotte Farrow is a kitchen maid for the wealthy Banning family who live on prestigious Prairie Avenue in Chicago. She has managed to keep the fact that she has a baby boy a secret for the past year. Only the Banning daughter, Lucy (title character in the first book in this series, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning), knows about the existence of baby Henry and has assisted Charlotte in finding someone to care for him.When Henry’s caregiver must suddenly leave town, and with the newly married Lucy Banning Edwards on her honeymoon, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean about her son or let the older Bannings decide what to do with the child. Add to this a growing affection for the head coachman, Archie, and things truly become a dilemma for Charlotte Farrow. Will she have the strength to step out on faith and do what needs to be done for her child?
Set in Chicago in 1893 during the World’s Columbian Exposition, the history, opulence, and tension of the times come to life in this second installment of the Avenue of Dreams series by Olivia Newport.The thing that was most exciting for me in this novel was the setting. There are lots of historical details about the World’s Fair and other events at the time that were just fascinating. I also thought that the information that was woven into the story about the struggles of the working class at this time was very interesting.
I also liked some of the secondary characters in this book. Archie was sweet, and he cared so much for Charlotte. I also liked how he was trying to make a better life for himself. Even though she exasperated me to no end, I thought Sarah, the new kitchen maid and sometimes nanny for the baby, was well-written.The storyline, however, felt a bit one-dimensional to me. There didn’t seem to be much else that was covered in the plot besides the dilemma Charlotte faced over whether or not to tell about the baby being hers. There was the romance between Charlotte and Archie, but even it seemed to take a backseat to the main storyline instead of the romance being told alongside and interwoven with the main plot.
The faith aspect was pushed too much into the background as well. Although it came into play much more towards the end of the book, it just didn’t go far enough for me. It seemed as if Charlotte was taking beginning steps in the right direction (reading her Bible, starting to have faith that God can be trusted, and realizing that God loves her), but Christ and His sacrifice for us is never mentioned.Overall, this book was nice. It just didn’t have that extra something to turn it into a really great book.
I will give The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow … 3 BookWorms.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."