Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow is the second book in the Avenue of Dreams series by Olivia Newport.  The first book, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, was exceptional and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The author introduced Charlotte Farrow towards the end of the novel, and I was hoping the next book would center around her.  
Charlotte's circumstances are difficult.  She has employment in one of the mansions on Prairie Avenue in Chicago, but she is concealing her newborn son from her employers.  Lucy Banning discovers Charlotte's secret and agrees to help her find someone to watch her child during the week.  Charlotte visits her son on her day off.  
Trouble begins when the child's caretaker receives a letter indicating that she must depart immediately for a family emergency.  She leaves the child with Charlotte inside the Banning courtyard.  The help assumes a child has been abandoned in their yard and Charlotte must make a decision.  Should she confess that this is her child or would it be better to allow the Banning family to take care of the child in their home until Lucy returns from her honeymoon?  Unfortunately, Lucy isn't due back for several months.  When Flora Banning decides the baby is best adopted by one of her relatives and at the same time a houseguest wants to adopt the child, Charlotte doesn't know what to do.
My impression of this book is not as favorable as my impression of the first in this series.  The book is labeled a historical romance, but as far as I could tell there was no romance in the novel until the very end.  the plot is a winner, but I would have preferred if Leo had stepped into the protagonist's role and saved the day.  Archie seemed to me to be a lazy and discontent person who would not accept that Charlotte was not interested in him romantically.  I found all of this very unattractive and could not bring myself to hope for the ending that is written.  The main character, Charlotte, is a beautiful girl age twenty-one who loves her son dearly but is too cowardly to step up as his mother.  She also seems disinterested in Archie from the beginning, and I never saw a heart change.  The entire novel I was at odds with the characters.  
All that said, I will continue to read Olivia Newport's novels, because she is such a talented author.  The series has a lot of potential, and I am looking forward to seeing Leo's appearance soon perhaps.  
This book was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an objective review.

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