A proper pursuit by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, 2007) is a very entertaining book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is the story of a young woman, Violet, who had recently finished her education at a School for Young Ladies and returns home to find her father announcing his engagement. Violet was unaware her father had divorced her mother some years earlier, after her mother had left them when Violet was nine. Violet is shocked and immediately resolves to go to Chicago to find her mother. Violet’s grandmother and great aunts live in Chicago and at this time, 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition was being held in Chicago. It is on this pretext Violet is able to stay with her relatives. However Violet’s grandmother and three sisters all have their own agendas for Violet.

Violet’s grandmother works for various charitable projects in the slum areas of Chicago and encourages Violet’s involvement. One of Violet’s great aunts takes her visiting in the hope she will find a husband amongst the rich elite. Another aunt, a single lady, hopes to get Violet involved in the Suffrages. The third aunt, who suffers a little from dementia, tells her to make sure she marries for love. Violet must make a decision about where her future lies.

Lynn Austin has done a great job of writing a subtly Christian novel. A proper pursuit is neither preachy nor predictable yet it contains a clear challenge to follow God’s ways.