A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin

Originally written for Christian Review of Books by Melissa Meeks and posted at Bibliophile’s Retreat

Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: August 2007
ISBN: 9780764228919
Format: Paperback
Price: $13.99
Genre: Historical Fiction

This book takes place during the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. Much more than being a work of historical fiction though this is the story of people who lived in the culture and society of this turn-of-the-century city. Violet is at an age where young women are considered almost spinsters and as many young women even today do she dreams of true love, marriage and a family. The biggest hurdles of making this dream a reality are her high ideals of what constitutes love, her independent spirit, and her family who would like her to be married yesterday.

Everyone has an idea of the perfect match for Violet and they all but throw these men at her. There is one man that Violet may be truly in love with though she thinks he isn’t respectable enough. Her family eventually forces her into that proverbial pinch between a rock and a hard place, especially her father. She gained his assent to travel and visit her Grandmother and Great Aunts in Chicago during the World’s Fair. She allows him to believe that she is going in order to see the fair and visit with family. Violet however has other ideas. She had seen an address in Chicago on her father’s papers that might be a clue to the whereabouts of her mother who has been absent since Violet was quite young. Her intention is to seek out this mother she hasn’t known and make her acquaintance.

When her father comes to collect her from Chicago, she argues the point and is allowed some time to stay on the condition that she choose among her beaus. What a choice though; the boring and stodgy hometown boy, the rich aristocrat who needs the right girl to move ahead in the family business, the young missionary with high ideals who wants to help Chicago’s poorest residents, or the “salesman” she met on the train ride to Chicago who has absolutely nothing to recommend him save gorgeous blue eyes that cause her to melt everytime she sees them. How will she choose, will she ever find true love, and will she find the mother she longs to know?

Read A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin for the answers to these questions as well as a closer look at Violet’s journey of self discovery and faith. As usual Lynn Austin brings the time as well as the people to life on the pages of her book. Violet will be a familiar figure both to those young women who long for the domestic life as well as those who know these women and have followed their real life journeys along a similar path of dreams and decisions.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of this book.

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