I am late with this book review due to Miss Courtney’s illness. I apologize to the author and the publicity team for that and I thank them for their patience and understanding.
“The Invention of Sarah Cummings” by Olivia Newport was a little bit of a surprise for me. When first introduced to Sarah Cummings the reader is immediately drawn into her internal conflict. She is desperate to change her life for something bigger and grander than being a parlor maid. So desperate in fact, that she creates a whole other identity. She is rather uppity and standoffish in the beginning, so I had a hard time sympathizing with her. But as her backstory is revealed, she became much more of an empathetic character that I wanted to succeed.
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?
I really enjoyed reading Sarah’s story. She is a fighter who knows what she wants but is struggling with recognizing the gifts she already has. Over the course of the book, the conflict that exists in her heart begins to affect her daily choices. She realizes her “worth” in the eyes of God and the one who holds her heart Simon Tewell. I appreciate the realistic description of Chicago that honors the history of the time. It added to the richness of the reading experience.
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