The Invention of Sarah Cummings, by Olivia Newport

book coverIn a world where everyone is putting on a show, there is a love that is genuine.

Sarah Cummings has one goal in life–to break into Chicago’s high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner to members of the wealthy Banning family and to start eating at society tables, Sarah spends her meager free time altering cast-off gowns to create the perfect wardrobe for her future life.

When opportunity knocks 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 her goal–and closer to Simon Tewell, director of St. Andrew’s Orphanage–Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of.

Can she piece together the perfect life from scraps? Or will it all come unraveled in the face of true love?

The year is 1896, and parlor maid Sarah Cummings is determined not to stay in service forever. Her employers believe her dressmaking skills could make her a living, but Sarah wants more. A chance meeting, a burst of pride, and one lie, and suddenly the doors to society fly open. Desperate to hang on to her new position, Sarah’s lies grow more elaborate. When her two worlds threaten to collide, Sarah goes to desperate lengths to maintain her double life. But is it okay to lie to get what you want? What will her new found friends think when they discover the truth?

The Invention of Sarah Cummings is set around the 1896 Presidential Election. The Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago that year and readers are treated to discussions about Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan and whether or not the country should maintain the gold standard. For non-students of 19th century American politics, these passages can be somewhat confusing. What they do, however, is lay out what Sarah’s new friends think regarding the division of social classes.

I took a disliking to Sarah in the previous novel in the Avenue of Dreams series. Her background is explored here, which helps the reader to understand a little about her character and attitudes, but I still didn’t like how mercenary she appeared to be. I turned the pages just waiting for the other shoe to drop, for I had no doubt that it would. There were certain clues scattered throughout the story that gave an indication of what would happen and how different people would react when various secrets were discovered. Thankfully, there are some steps Sarah is not willing to take in order to live the life of which she dreams, and she does grow to be comfortable in who she is.

Thank you to Revell for my free copy of The Invention of Sarah Cummings, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

Read the first two chapters.

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 15 September 2013

Page Count: 304

Read more on:   Olivia Newport’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble


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