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The Pursuit of Lucy Banning (Avenue of Dreams #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  2,025 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Revell
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May 19, 2012 Ruth rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars. Chicago on the cusp of the 1893 World's Fair opening is a city brimming with excitement and possibility. Lucy Banning, one of Chicago society's most privileged daughters, finds herself in the center of this social whirlwind, torn between familial expectations and the alluring promise of furthering her education and the chance to use her social position to make a difference. Acquiescing to the family pressure to marry long-time childhood friend Daniel, a banker with a promising career, ...more
May 13, 2012 Renee rated it liked it
~3.5 stars~
First things first, I love this cover. I know that it has the typical lady-
in-a-pretty-dress thing going on but I love the background! Since the heroine does a lot of traveling around 19th-century Chicago the gritty, bustling street scene is very appropriate and I wish more romances went with covers like this one. Even books that are set in cities seem to have the perfectly clean and serene covers that don't really fit the story at all so kudos to the art department and designers on t
In this passionate romance set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago Exposition, a young socialite wrestles with family expectations and social boundaries.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book I have read by new-to-me author, Olivia Newport. Historical romance fiction is one of my favorite genres. It was nice to take another look at the Chicago World's Fair through a different authors eyes even though it wasn't the main backdrop for the story. I loved Lucy as a character - her thoughtfulness,
Apr 30, 2012 Casey rated it really liked it
I often enjoy a quick weekend read when I’m swamped with reviews and need to catch up quickly. So while I quickly read through “The Pursuit of Lucy Banning” I was impressed with the intricacies of the plot that kept the story evenly paced and me always curious to see what would come next.

Lucy is a strong heroine. She is focused on her dreams, but the world she lives in isn’t ready for the storm of her motivations. As a reader I couldn’t help, but want to see her strike out on her own and make a
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning was a charming, little tale of a young woman eager to learn about art, wondering how to break things off with a family friend she’s supposed to marry, and confused and delighted when around a handsome man who has a humble background—quite a contrast to her own. It’s also somewhat about the servant woman who lives in the same house, and who hides a tremendous secret.

But despite TPoLB’s charm, it was just that, a little tale. Yes, the novel was a smaller size than av
Update- Re-read March 2016. Love the audio version of this book just as well as the paperback! The narrator was quite good! :)
Oasis Audio. Narrator: Eleni Pappageorge

Buddy Read with Caitlyn Santi -- October 2012
Melanie Kilsby
A historically relevant romance with disappearing secrets and two women's struggle to be independent.

So many interesting points were mentioned and was truly an enjoyable read. What was especially neat was the mention of the Ferris Wheel invention and Mr. Ferris himself. All throughout this book were neat nuggets of the like. I found that I liked the audio version of this book a lot. Being busy lately, it was very convenient too!

I did find the romance a bit rushed as well as awkward at times and
Vera Godley
May 13, 2012 Vera Godley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: church & school, & public libraries
Interview Questions for Olivia Newport

How did The Pursuit of Lucy Banning get started?Historical District until a friend of mine became a docent at the Glessner House Museum on Prairie Avenue. This house preserves the flavor of Chicago’s gilded age when the neighborhood was full of wealthy powerhouses of industry. As soon as my friend began his training, he saw the potential for the setting of a story. He is not a fiction write, but he knew my interests. It did not take us long to cook up story
Lucy Banning is beautiful, from one of the best families in Chicago and engaged to a perfectly suitable wealthy young man. Her fiance, Daniel, is a childhood friend of her brothers and she should be thrilled that she is to marry him. However, Lucy wants more out of life than just being a society wife. She is secretly enrolled in a class at the University of Chicago and spends her free time volunteering at an orphanage and working on the women's committee for the upcoming World's Fair. Her ...more
May 16, 2012 Angelc rated it it was amazing

4.5 Stars

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
Jun 13, 2012 Megan rated it liked it
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning gave me much more than I expected. This book includes a little romance, but is more about characters. There are a number of strong woman, both major and minor characters. There is suspense, intrigue, and the interesting setting of 1893 Chicago and the World Fair. All this attributes combine for a fun book, that I truly enjoyed reading.

Lucy is a young engaged woman, who isn't sure that she wants everything her parents and fiance have planned for her. She'd like to live
More like 4.5 stars.

I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoy reading about the time period...pretty much every time I get a book set during this part of American history. Oh, and the Chicago World's Fair is a great setting. Having recently been to Chicago and driven down Michigan Avenue, I found that quite intriguing as well. Of course, throw in an orphanage and people who help them, and you've got me hooked. I love stories were people of means sincerely care for the poor and don't help them out
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is rich in historical detail. While reading I felt as though I was transported to Chicago in 1892. It was obvious to me that the author did a lot of research to write this book.

While Lucy was a likeable character, I liked Charlotte, the Banning's maid, even more and am looking forward to reading her story - The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, which is scheduled to be released January 2013.

I didn't feel the character of Daniel, Lucy's fiancé, was very well developed - he
Feb 24, 2015 Nattie rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
I found this book to be supremely enjoyable. It's a quick read, and I like that. Get straight to the point, don't mess around. I wish more authors realized that you don't need to write 500 page books, especially when half of it is filler.

I was born and raised in Chicago (well actually I was born in the suburbs, but Chicago is right across the street from the hospital,) so I loved that the story was set in my city. I have never been on the south side of town, so it was nice to read about how thin
Aug 05, 2014 Hayden rated it it was ok
So I fully admit that I've been wanting to read this book for forever- because it has such an absolutely gorgeous cover. I mean really, girls: look at that dress!

However, I have to admit this story didn't end up being a favorite, despite the promising cover. The writing itself was passable and about the quality you'll find in most Christian fiction (depending on your point of view, this is either a good or a bad thing) However, Lucy's deceptive actions -those stemming from her own personal des
Ibjoy1953 Hannabass
Jun 02, 2012 Ibjoy1953 Hannabass rated it it was amazing

My Thoughts on this book!

In Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport

Lucy Banning isn’t just your typical rich girl, she’d rather spend her money and time on those not having as much as her family does. She enjoys spending time at the orphanage helping children who have no homes.

But that’s not what her future husband wants from her, the husband that both Daniel and Lucy’s mothers planned from the time they were very young. Only Lucy didn’t want to get married. She was secretly taking art classes
May 04, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-books
Review on my blog:

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning was a very entertaining and quick read! I ended up finishing it in under two days! It took me a couple chapters to really become engaged in the story, but after that I fell in "love" with the characters and story.

I immediately liked Will Edward. He was funny and sweet - he even made me laugh a few times! Charlotte was another great character - I am really looking forward to knowing more about her character in
Sep 27, 2016 Janelle added it
Shelves: unfinished
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannah Mauney
Welcome to Chicago during one of its most exciting times in history! Olivia Newport transports you back to Chicago during the planning and revealing of the Worlds Fair. Her attention to detail really immersed me into the Bannings' lives. I could feel the excitement, tension, love, and happiness thrumming throughout the Banning household. The fact that they were a prominent family, but chose not to flaunt it overly much made them all the more likable. Read my full review: ...more
Lisa M.
Oct 02, 2013 Lisa M. rated it really liked it
It was good. It is set during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago...Lucy is desperate to break away from society life's future for her...and falls in love with Will. But then things go not according to plan and she is pulled into a life where she dares to cross class lines for what she believes.
Aug 24, 2014 Patricia rated it did not like it
I liked the story line about a young woman from a wealthy family trying to find her own path in society during this time period but found the story line about a maid leaving her newborn baby in her room just too unbelievable to continue reading.
Aug 29, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
An interesting book with likeable characters. A little light-weight, but a good diversion.
Rachel Brand

PROS: Unusual setting and time period that really come to life on the pages; good portrayal of the struggles women faced in society at this time; heroine has aims other than finding a husband

CONS: Readers may have to look up some details on the time period if they aren’t so familiar with it

Lucy Banning was born into a privileged family and has never had a need gone unmet in her entire life. But while
Stefanie MacWilliams

Reviewed at


Title: The Pursuit of Lucy Banning (Avenue of Dreams #1)

Author: Olivia Newport(Facebook, Twitter)

Pages: 293

Publisher: Revell Books / Baker Publishing

Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance


Via Goodreads: 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

Nov 01, 2016 Hope rated it did not like it
Shelves: light-reading, dud
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2016 Lynette rated it liked it
I expected a much different storyline with Daniel. It kind of felt unfinished.
May 06, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. When I first saw the cover and read the synopsis, I thought for sure this would be a book about women's rights. I was happily surprised to find that it was not. I was also impressed by the writer.

Lucy Banning is an engaged woman. In fact, her fiancé, Daniel, was chosen for her practically at birth. It feels her whole life has been planned out for her, but the two things her family can't control are her weekly visits to the orphanage and her secret classes at the Uni
Jun 09, 2012 Louise rated it really liked it
Story Description:

Baker Publishing Group|May 1, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-8007-2038-4

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 u
May 16, 2012 Debbie rated it did not like it
Shelves: historical
"The Pursuit of Lucy Banning" is a historical romance set in 1892 in Chicago. Though the book description mentions the 1893 World's Fair, there is actually very little about that in this book. The author liked lists (like listing the menu for every meal), and this tended to slow the pacing. However, there was some fairly nice historical detail about the city and events worked into the story.

Using only 282 pages to tell even one story well can be tricky, but this novel was essentially three stori
Sep 25, 2013 Lyssa rated it it was ok
If your only criteria for historical fiction is that it's light, clean and set at least a hundred years ago, then you'll probably enjoy this.

I didn't hate it, but I didn't really enjoy it either. For some reason it seems that authors of these types of books think that the only woman worth writing about is one that "breaks the mold" and is super progressive for her time, which is really ironic, I think, since they're usually branded Christian as well. Apparently, for it to be considered Christian
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I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.

We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.

More about Olivia Newport...

Other Books in the Series

Avenue of Dreams (3 books)
  • The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow (Avenue of Dreams, #2)
  • The Invention of Sarah Cummings (Avenue of Dreams, #3)

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“company has designed some of the smaller fair buildings, all” 0 likes
“Her parents believed Lucy spent three afternoons a week volunteering at St. Andrew’s Orphanage. So did all her brothers. So did Daniel. So did the household staff. Lucy did in fact go to the orphanage once a week, and the endeavor gave her good reason to select sturdy clothes without the usual flamboyance of the families who lived on Prairie Avenue. She fashioned her dark hair in a practical style that would not come undone while caring for small children or sorting files in the cramped office. To fight the odds she might be recognized as a Banning while roaming the university campus, Lucy wore the same unadorned garb to school as she did to the orphanage. Her mother sighed at the whole business. Lucy had trunks and racks full of European fashions, yet three times a week she left the house looking like hardly more than a ladies’ maid. Today Lucy wore” 0 likes
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