Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Invention of Sarah Cummings, Olivia Newport

This is the first novel by Olivia Newport that I have read. I am impressed with her obvious historical research that is evident in the book. She accurately describes the social and political climate of the time making it easy to envision the story and believe that it actually took place. However, I found this particular story difficult to fully believe. Sarah Cummings is a maid in the beginning of this book with a dream to move up in the social world. She spends her spare time making fancy dresses and dreaming about the day that she will be a socialite and married to a man in high societal standing. Within the first pages you are introduced to a young lady willing to lie and creative an alternative life woven of lies and deception. How she planned to pull this off - or that in this book she did - seems unbelievable. Being that she worked for most of the people that she was supposedly deceiving. In fact the first deception is with a girl whom she served at a party. The fact that she is not immediately found out is incredible. Throughout the story I failed to see where Sarah actually comes to the knowledge of her true identity in Christ and is settled in it. I think the story might have been more powerful if she had at some point acknowledged that Christ was all that she needed and that things of this world are passing and unimportant in the long run. I do see that she eventually comes to the point that she accepts her position in life and chooses to make right some of the deceptions she has created. It is a sad lesson that Sarah learns when she discovers that deception leads to ruin while being true to ones self leads to a full life of peace. This book seems more focused on the historical settings of the time rather than developing the characters relationships with one another. Therefor the relationship of Sarah and Simon seems a little "thrown together" in the end - as if a rush to create a romantic thread in the book. Thanks to Revell for this review copy.

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