Lynn Austin is one of the greatest Christian authors in our world today, she has written many books covering a diverse range of topics, ranging from Biblical epics to historical romance novels, such as this one. These two genres are her obvious strengths, and I personally would enjoy seeing more from her in these areas. A Proper Pursuit was the first novel I had ever read that I could claim as a favorite, and it still holds a very special place in my heart. This novel is one of those timeless reads that, unfortunately, are few and far between in today’s world of Christian fiction. It is the only novel in this genre that has accomplished being both a historical romance and a comedy. In my opinion, A Proper Pursuit is the modern day version of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride & Prejudice. It manages to be both eccentrically hilarious, and poignantly memorable. This novel covers subjects such as romance, pride, comedy, servitude, forbidden love, upper and lower social classes, the working poor, religion, Christianity, world cultures, and historical events. The opening chapter sets the stage with a self-explanatory scene featuring a young woman named Violet who has recently returned home from an esteemed etiquette/boarding school, and is dining with her father at the home of a family friend. Violet has just been informed that her father intends to wed this family friend, a widow with two children, and is both displeased and shocked at this announcement. You see, she has always disliked this particular widow, and imagines many possible ways that Maude could exit their life. Violet remembers her mother, a figure who departed from her life long ago, allegedly because she was too ill to be an adequate mother. In a desperate attempt, Violet reminds her father that her mother, his first wife, is still living. After the meal, Violet’s father reveals that he has been lying to her all these years, her mother abandoned them years ago, and he divorced her on these grounds. Violet is confused and upset that her father would lie to her, even if he had good intentions. From that day forward she vows to both find her mother, and prevent her father from marrying his intended. Meanwhile, she tries to discourage the stodgy suitor that her father would have her marry, and devise a plan that will solve all of these problems at the same time. In the end Violet convinces her father to let her spend the summer with her estranged paternal grandmother and aunts, under the alias of attending the Chicago World’s Fair. While Violet is there it seems as though opinionated voices are pulling her in all different directions, and if that isn’t enough, she now has multiple young men, each with their own problems, who are all vying for her hand in marriage. Will Violet discover what truly matters in life? Will she find her mother? Will she discover the tightly concealed secrets of her family’s past? Will she find the one whom her soul loves? To discover the answers to all of these questions, you have to read the book!;) I would love to see A Proper Pursuit hit the big screen. It would do well in the hands of someone like Rik Swartzwelder, who is not afraid to make a film that is eccentrically charming, truly romantic, and based on Biblical principles.
This is one of the best character-driven plots ever written. We desperately need this to be a movie or miniseries.