Monday, September 16, 2013

The Invention of Sarah Cummings

Invention of Sarah Cummings
Olivia Newport 
Revell Publishing
Fiction, Romance, Historical 

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?

"Newport's touching historical romance sweeps readers into another time and place, where elegance and wealth are abundant and where dreams really can come true. Highly recommended for fans of Tamera Alexander."--Library Journal

You know a book is good when you find the main character completely deplorable. That's where I was. I did not like Sarah in the least, in fact I almost quit reading because I disliked her so thoroughly. I am, however, glad I stuck with the book until the end. And don't get me wrong, it was no hardship to stick with the book. Newport weaves a completely enticing and enthralling tale. I was hooked immediately. The attention to detail both in period clothing and in Chicago history was excellent. Sarah's unstable behavior is hard to believe but it's fun to read. 

My only complaints with the book are that I felt that character development was lacking. Sarah was nasty and ridiculous and we're not entirely sure why. Simon was sweet and lovable but not at all endearing and we never actually got to know him. I would have liked to have seen more into their backgrounds and their stories. The challenge with any series is to have so many character story lines it's hard to follow any one of them. This book teetered on the edge of that. It can be read alone but you'll be a lot less confused if you read the first two books. The book ended rushed. Sarah never really had that "come to Jesus" moment that she needed. It seems she got there but I'm not sure how. Between a fire at the orphanage and being propositioned to be a mistress I don't quite know how she managed to fall in love with Simon. But she did. 

In short, a great read. There are definitely some holes and some rough patches but Newport writes with ease. If she can grow to the point of being able to weave things together seamlessly and in a way that makes sense to the reader she might just catapult herself into position as one of my favorite authors. 

My thanks to Revell Publishing for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

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