‘THE DILEMMA OF CHARLOTTE FARROW,’ by Olivia Newport. Review of the historical fiction novel. All review text © Rissi JC

STORY: Notions and daydreams is not something the hard-working Charlotte Farrow can afford. She’s hiding a secret and trying to provide for her young son. Unable to share her burden, Charlotte protects her secrets at all cost lest she is given an immediate dismissal from her work in service at the Banning house.

The only person who knows about Henry is Lucy Edwards, the Banning’s only daughter, and Charlotte’s one advocate. All of her savings go to the care of Henry who is placed with a kindly woman but things are about to get complicated. Henry is dropped off at the Banning home leaving Charlotte in a horrible position.


‘THE DILEMMA OF CHARLOTTE FARROW,’ by Olivia Newport. #FWarchives #BookReviews #BookTwitter Click To Tweet

Coinciding with her son’s arrival is the Banning’s coach man, Archie who is ready to leave service; and he wants to take Charlotte with him. Suddenly her once orderly life becomes a waiting game as she silently stands by as her employers try to make sense of a child they assume is abandoned.    

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, by Olivia Newport | Book Review

REVIEW: If Downton Abbey is your cup of tea, then Christian fiction readers will delight in this novel by Olivia Newport. Set in the 1800’s, it tells the stories of the wealthy Banning family. It’s set during the World Exposition and in historical Chicago, the story has flair and features characters easy to adore. Immediately, we see Charlotte pitted as a sympathetic but proud heroine and we love her for it. It’s unusual to come across a rule-follower heroine like this, but each page that passes makes her more endearing. Archie is a good leading man, but unfortunately, sometimes he feel like an unneeded character. The book reads more like he’s the “token” romantic interest (and I did want to like him SO much).

The setting in which all of this takes place is elegant and refined making it any costume lover’s dream. Everything from the fair-minded employers to the stickler of a butler will remind you of the ITV drama Downton Abbey, and yet there’s some spark of its own. A few things stuck out as being a bit of an irritant (like the too frequent use of character’s names) but nothing that dissuades the enjoyment. There is drama, sorrow and happiness which cumulate into a sweet ending that seemed to be upon us in all too abrupt a manner. If it’s as good as Olivia Newport set it up to be, the third novel should be a joy.  

IN CONCLUSION: Fans of British drama – specifically Downton Abbey, will enjoy this Christian fiction series. Plus, it’s a way to tide us over until it returns to our screens, and it meets and surpasses those expectations! The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow is a keeper.

About the Book:

Author: Olivia Newport
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Avenue of Dreams, book 2
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical, Sequel
Shop the Book: Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Rating: 31/2 out of 5 

With thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for reviewing purposes

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I'm going to start reading this one today and I am so excited. I read the first in this series and really enjoyed both Lucy and Charlotte. I cannot wait to read Charlotte's story. Glad you enjoyed it, Rissi!

  2. Thanks for the heads-up comment on my blog about book 3. :) Hope Sarah will mature a little more because I don't know how much more of her I can stand with her current temperament!

    1. Sure! I had read that somewhere and when you mentioned it in your review thought I'd pass it on, Christy. :)

      Sarah did seem too immature to make a good heroine. Here's hoping that she will have grown up – wonder who her leading man will be?

      There is a notable 'Downton' feeling to this book for sure. I'm a few pages into the first book – my goal is to complete it before the third one releases! That shouldn't be a problem. ;D

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