Monday, February 11, 2013

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow - by Olivia Newport

It's 1893 in Chicago, and Charlotte Farrow has been working hard as a house maid to make a quiet life for herself and to provide for her son - the son her employers are unaware of.  However, once her son's caretaker is called away for a family emergency and Henry shows up at the house, she feels that her only choice is to pretend she doesn't know him.  Fortunately, the family decides he can stay until they've found a home for him, but that leaves Charlotte forced to watch others care for her son while she can't even call him by name.  Where will Henry go?  And will Charlotte be able to live with his absence, or will she find a way to get him back?

This book reminded me very much of the popular British show Downton Abby - the lifestyle, the servants' positions, even their very characters felt like I'd been watching their stories evolve over 2.5 seasons.  I was glad for that, because it actually made the house and staff easier to picture and to understand the interactions between staff and employers.  Initially, the book engaged me because of the familiarity I felt with the characters.  However, as the book went on, I felt less connected and cared less for how it would resolve.  The only character that I was disappointed to not read more of was Lucy, who for the majority of the book was off on her honeymoon to Europe and wasn't actually heard from.

I give this book 3 stars.  The premise of the story was interesting, but it then began to drag on with not much hope or change for the characters until sudden resolutions at the end.  This book was #2 in the Avenue of Dreams series, and it looks like book #1 was exclusively about Lucy, so I will be interested in backtracking to read her story.

You can find The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow HERE.
You can find the author's website HERE.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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