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The Invention of Sarah Cummings (Avenue of Dreams) (Volume 3)

by Olivia Newport

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I thought this book was by far the best of the 3, which is interesting since I really couldn't stand Sarah in the previous two books.

I thought Ms. Newport did a wonderful job showing a slow, often times painful transition from being self-absorbed and selfish to letting people in and learning to love them. Sarah's double life was a nail biter for sure, and I thought how she got tangled up in her web of lies (and even more so, her sickened feeling almost immediately afterward) was very believeable. When we court envy and discontentment, it is so easy to get swept up in a path and a life we never would have purposely set out to walk.

My biggest complaint was the fire. I thought it was too over the top and unnecessary. But thankfully, Ms. Newport has Sarah make her decision just beforehand.

If you liked the two previous books, or even if you didn't, this book is worth giving a try. It's reminiscent of a cinderella story, with a much more realistic lead, who is flawed and downright ugly in her humanity at times, just like we all are. But Sarah's story reminds us that He creates beauty out of ashes. ( )
  lyssa73 | Aug 2, 2014 |
THE INVENTION OF SARAH CUMMINGS by Olivia Newport Inspirational Historical Romance set during the Gilded Age of Chicago,1890. #3 in the "Avenue of Dreams" series,but can be read as a stand alone, with re-appearing characters. See," The Pursuit of Lucy Banning", and "The Dilemma Of Charlotte Farrow". Sarah Cummings wants desperately to break into high society of Chicago instead of serving them. She works for a wealthy Chicago family, the Banning family, as their parlor maid,but she dreams of a bigger and better life. In her spare time she re-creates cast-off gowns into gowns for her future into High society. Thus,she creates, Serena Cuthbert, with a fictitious past and name what could possibly go wrong? Everything! Enter....Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew's Orphanage. When social class, their expectations,and the past coincides with the present all bets are off. Filled with deception,secrets,faith,forgiveness,healing and love. Sarah/Serena soon learns that you can't go back. While, you may not like Sarah/Serena for the choices she makes or the life she chose, you can not entirely dislike her either. She may be conniving,but she is also charming. As she sees her stories unraveling,can she save the love she has blossoming? Or will she lose it all to her deceit? To find out Sarah/Serena's story, pick up "The Invention of Sarah Cummings" you will not regret your choice. Ms. Newport is a masterful storyteller, who brings history to life on every page as well as her engaging characters,she also gives the reader a glimpse into the life of women during a past era. A delightful read! Received for an honest review from the publisher.

*Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*

RATING:4

HEAT RATING: Sweet

REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More ( )
  MyBookAddiction | Sep 23, 2013 |
Title: The Invention of Sarah Cummings (Avenue of Dreams #3)
Author: Olivia Newport
Pages: 289
Year: 2013
Publisher: Revell
This story is set in Chicago on Prairie Avenue, one of Chicago’s wealthiest areas. The main character is Sarah Cummings and she has appeared in another book in this series. Now, she takes center stage. Sarah’s parents were both killed in an accident that sent her to St. Andrew’s Orphanage at the age of 11. Since she didn’t apply herself to her schoolwork, she was put to work as a servant in the Banning household at the age of 16. Now, three years later, she is still a maid in service. She has always envisioned her life as something much different than what it really is. She was not destined to be a servant. Her life was supposed to be different, better. She has a talent for sewing and remakes her employer’s cast-off dresses into new and marvelous creations. A chance meeting with a young, wealthy socialite catapults Sarah into the world of the rich and famous. Sarah has created a double life for herself. When she is in society, she is known as Serena Cuthbert. Serena Cuthbert has parents traveling in Europe, leaving Serena alone in Chicago with great independence. Serena is introduced to Bradley Townsend, a rich business man with political interests. Serena sets her cap for Brad with intentions of marrying him. Sarah thinks a rich husband will take her from her life of drudgery.
At the encouragement of Mrs. Banning’s daughter, Lucy, Sarah volunteers time at the orphanage where she resided teaching the older girls how to sew. Simon Tewell, the director of the orphanage, is thrilled to see Sarah again and quickly becomes enamored of her. He wants Sarah as his wife, but knows he has nothing to offer her that she would accept. He knows she wants more wealth and standing than he has to offer. Simon sees more to Sarah than just her job. Brad doesn’t want to bother a woman with talk of business and politics. How long will Sarah be able to keep up her façade as Serena? Can she finagle Brad into marriage and then tell him the truth? Does Brad have a different plan in mind?
Sarah spends most of the book trying to be someone she is not and justifying her actions to attain her dream. She finally realizes she is looking for validation and love, but in the wrong way and with the wrong person. I think every reader can identify with wanting to be something we aren’t at one time or another. Our value isn’t in our job or money or success. There is also a lesson in charity, giving and serving wholeheartedly. This was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, and the story had some good reminders about God’s love being most important and how He sees our thoughts and actions.
My rating is 3 stars.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457 ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | Sep 21, 2013 |
Another good book by Olivia Newport. This being the third book in the series I was reunited with some of the folks I learned to love in the previous two books.
Sarah Cummings has had a hard life, she went to school one day, and when she returned her life was changed forever. Her parents had both died in a buggy accident, and she ended up in St Andrew's Orphanage. In this book Sarah is trying to escape her past and wants to live more like the people she is in Service to. When she strikes up a conversation with Lillie, a young woman of wealth, she enters a new world...and uses a made of name of Serena Cuthbert. Her parents are traveling in Europe. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
Will Sarah come to senses? Or will she end up in a relationship with someone who will only use her? Will new friends and old ever be able to forgive her?
You will find this one to be a page turner, and want to get to the end to find out the answers to all the questions your mind is going to be asking you. I for one really enjoyed this book.

I received this book through Revell's Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review. ( )
  alekee | Sep 16, 2013 |
Where I got the book: review copy provided by the Historical Novel Society. This review first appeared on the HNS website.

This engaging, lively inspirational tells the story of Sarah Cummings, obliged to work as a maid after being orphaned in her teens but determined to climb higher in Chicago society. The path she chooses is deception; she uses her dressmaking skills and her mistress’s castoffs to recreate herself as Serena Cuthbert, society beauty.

Part of a series set on Chicago’s wealthy Prairie Avenue in the late 1800s, this novel has elements of romance and spiritual growth but does not over-emphasize either. Newport sketches the tale of a young woman who takes a wrong turn in using her gifts to advance herself with subtlety and wry humor, leaving the reader to draw conclusions without preaching. Despite moments when the characters appear to be speaking 21st-century English rather than 19th-century, the Chicago setting, although lightly drawn, is believable and the characters interesting.

Altogether a pleasant, fast read that will delight readers looking for an uplifting story, even if they do not usually read Christian fiction. ( )
  JaneSteen | Aug 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0800720407, Paperback)

Sarah Cummings has one goal in life--to break into Chicago's high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner and to start eating at society tables, Sarah alters cast-off gowns from the wealthy Banning women to create lustrous, flattering dresses of her own. On a whim 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 Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew's Orphanage, Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of. Will she sacrifice love to continue her pretense? Or can Simon show her that sometimes you don't have to pretend for dreams to come true?

Olivia Newport brings us back to Prairie Avenue to explore the place where class, social expectations, and romance come together. Readers will enjoy following the intrepid Sarah as she searches for true love in a world of illusions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:36 -0400)

A clever young servant in the Banning household uses an assumed identity to pursue a life of privilege, but discovers love and belonging where she least expects them.

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