Monday, January 17, 2011
A Proper Pursuit
Title: A Proper Pursuit
Author: Lynn Austin
When Violet Hayes ventures to Chicago during the time of the World's Fair, her one goal is to find her mother, who has been missing from her life since she was nine. Naïve, impressionable, and highly imaginative (having secretly ingested a diet of romance novels and true crime stories at school), Violet stays in Chicago under the care of her grandmother and her three great aunts. It is here that her perspectives on life are opened as she is exposed to the world about her--from high society to the poor immigrant families; from the suffragette movement to the security of a suitable marriage match. As Violet contemplates what course her life will take, she will discover the missing parts of her family's past--and, ultimately, Violet will discover herself.
I know it's cliche, but I tell you all the time that I have a HUGE wish list of books - and only so much time and money. This is one that had been on the list for a while and I'm a little ashamed to say that I didn't put as much emphasis on it because the cover just didn't grab me. Let me tell you something - what's inside is one of the most entertaining stories I've read in a long time. I instantly added Lynn Austin as a favorite author after finishing this book.
Violet is such an incredible character. She experiences so much through the course of this novel. She sees things she never dreamed of, meets interesting people, has to learn some harsh truths as well as some beautiful ones, solves some mysteries, gets several marriage proposals, sees life from varying perspectives, and has her very first kiss.
I laughed so hard while reading this book that I cried. I could picture everything in my mind so clearly - from the Liberty Bell made from oranges, to the frilly dresses at the parties and even the shocked looks on the faces of people when bloomers for women were suggested as an option. The descriptions made you feel like you were part of it. I can still remember exactly how Violet described Silas when she first saw him.
Speaking of Silas, that was another great thing about the book. Violet wasn't the only interesting character. Silas kept you guessing about what kind of person he really was and what he wanted, each of her aunts had their own strengths and personalities that made the book fun & interesting, her grandmother was yet another holder of mysteries and the one who led her to the "seedier" side of town to do charity work, Nelson is more than just another rich bachelor who "plays the game," and I could keep going.
The story was well-written, it had elements of mystery, a lot of wit and funny dialogue, romance... This was a great story. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, I hope you add it to your list. :o)
Posted by Margaret Metz at 5:06 AM