Title: The Dilemma Of Charlotte Farrow
Series: Avenue Of Dreams
Author: Olivia Newport
Published: January 1, 2013
Charlotte Farrow is a maid at the Banning mansion on the famous Prairie Avenue. But she has a secret that could get her fired from her job. She has a son and domestics aren’t allowed to have spouses or children. Keeping her secret for over a year hasn’t been easy, but with the help of Lucy Banning she’s been able to keep it from Lucy’s family. But now, the lady who’s been watching her son now has left on a family emergency and left Charlotte’s son with her. She now has to give up her son and trust that the Bannings will decide what’s best for her son or come clean and risk her job.
Archie Shepard is head coachman in the Banning household and he wants nothing more than to leave the job of servant and take Charlotte with him, if she’ll let him. Ever since the arrival of a child on the Banning doorstep, Archie has noticed a change in Charlotte and he can’t figure out what it is. He wants more for himself and Charlotte but she seems determined to not let him love her and seems determined to be distant. But he’s determined to win her over and give her the life she deserves.
While Charlotte resists Archie, she also must decide if her job is more important than her son and whether or not she’s willing to to take a risk for love. And when Archie discovers Charlotte’s secrets, he must decide if they are too much for him to handle or if he is willing to put it all aside for Charlotte. Life tries to get in the way and obligation tears its ugly head, but with love fighting, maybe it’s enough to weather any storm.
Will Charlotte tell the Bannings about her son or will she lose him forever because of her cowardice? Will Archie handle her having a son well or badly? Will Charlotte decide to take a risk on Archie and her heart or will she be too scared to make the leap? Will Charlotte be able to trust that God has the best in mind for her or will she take matters into her own hands and mess everything up?
Having read the first book in this series, I didn’t really expect much from this book, considering that the last one wasn’t my style. This book was better, but not by much. I can see the author improving with each new book and I can see the potential she has, but this book wasn’t my cup of tea again. However, I did enjoy the plot and I loved uniqueness of the storyline. It was the execution that I had a problem with.
The romance in this book took a while for it to kick in. For most of the book Charlotte rebuffed Archie’s advances without an explanation, until near the end. Then, when Archie hears her secret, his reaction is less than passionate. In fact, I got the impression that he didn’t care and the secrets that she had to tell we’re doozies. After the secrets are out, that’s kind of when the romance starts, which is very late in the book.
The storyline in this book is amazing and I wanted this book to live up to the plot, but unfortunately the execution of the storyline left much to be desired, but the fact that this storyline came from someone so new to the writing world, it shows me that she has great potential. With this being the author’s third book or so, her storytelling is getting better and I will read more from her just so I can see her grow. She is definitely one to keep your eye on.
The characters in this book are the main reason why I dislike this series. Though they portray how people acted in that time, I felt that the were way too cold and stiff. The social line in this book again is accurate to the time, but it was so obvious that it felt like the Banning family was snobby and the staff was little above slaves. I realize that these characters are very similar to the view and actions of people of the time, I just wish that the author broke history a little and added warmth to the Bannings and the servants attitudes.
This series is the author’s first and not one that’s on my read again list, but it shows the potential of the author. She has great story lines and she knows her history. I plan on watching her and her stories and I’m obligated to finish the series because I started two thirds of it. This author really makes history come alive in her books and if she can do the same with her characters and romances, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the historical fiction genre. I plan on watching this one.
Overall, not my cup of tea and I felt the romance lacking and characters stiff and cold. I recommend this book for those who like books about history instead of romance and those who like newer authors to watch grow. I think this book is perfect for older teens and adults of all ages. I give this book a three out of five.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*