Cullen McNamara can't believe his father went behind his back and entered his invention in the exhibition at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. There is no way he can go since there is no one to help with the farm and his father unable to do the work. But his father had already paid for the train ticket, entry, along with room and board. This money was non-refundable. They are barely surviving how did his father get the money for all of this?
When he arrives at the fair and gets settled in the fair's Machine Hall the noise was so intense that he could hardly hear when someone talked to him. He was deaf in his right ear and loosing his hearing in his left ear how was he going to communicate with potential buyers if he couldn't hear. Someone recommended he learn to read lips. He was told of a young woman, a Miss Della Wentworth, at the fair that worked with deaf children so he made arrangements with her to teach him lip-reading. All he had to do was be her guide and escort in the evening to tour the fair. She was young and attractive therefore having to spend so much time concentrating on her lips was creating havoc with his emotions.
Will he be able to continue with his exhibit or will he have to return home a failure, again? There was little left of his father's money and a large debt that needed to be payed down. He had to succeed!
The author writes of hardtimes for our nation at the same time of the 1893 Chicago World Fair. She had provided many astounding images of the fair. I had no idea of the advancement in architecture and machinery in the latter 1800's. To make it even more interesting she adds romance between a young man and woman that are part of the exhibition A beautiful love story in the midst of secrets and a need to succeed. The author shows us how reaching out to God in all things that he will make our paths straight. Always looking for the good in a bad situation.
I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Author/Simon and Schuster/Litfuse Group for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This is my honest opinion.
The story is a sweet and slow romance, because Cullen is only at the fair to market his invention of a sprinkler system while he has left his betrothed at home. Cullen is going to be at the fair for six months and he and Della have come up with an arrangement so that he could learn to lip read which is something he is going to need to learn how to do soon because of his own hearing impairment. Della easily begins to fall for him - in spite of herself - but Cullen is a respectful young man who knows where his heart is supposed to be: at home.
The story blends the historical element with the romance in a slow atmospheric way that is hard to put down. Tragedy spurs the story forward and the future is not so easy to guess for Cullen and Della, and when girlfriend Wanda shows up, Cullen has to make a difficult choice once and for all. At first I was distracted by the way the author displayed the annunciation of the words that Cullen was hearing, but that dissipated after a while. Those readers who do not like a large dose of "Christian" in their reads would be fine with reading this one, as there are only a few moments that I noticed the christian theme, which I guess is the norm for the Howard Books imprint of Simon & Schuster. I do want to mention that there is palpable amount of lust going on that is implied and while some may not think that is appropriate I absolutely LOVED the romance especially at the end - it was tastefully done and yet so..warm and passionate. Perfect.
Deeanne Gist's newest novel brings to life the Chicago World's Fair through the eyes of these two very lovable characters. Her writing style flows easily and I found that even though I sometimes wish I could knock Cullen and Della over their heads when they were not explaining their feelings to each other, it was still a story that I will remember. I recommend it to any historical romance reader, and definitely to those who are interested in the history at the fair.
(I was provided with a free review copy in exchange for this honest review)
Gambling everythingâ€”including the family farmâ€”Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the fair's Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.
The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?
IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR by Deeanne Gist is simply awesome. There aren't many historical writers who grip my attention enough to make me set aside life for awhile and simply read. I didn't get much done today, but I read IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR from start to finish.
I had the Advance Reader Copy to read, and I laughed because apparently the author writes without vowels. Most of the words I figured out easily enough. Some, I never did get. Lllnnn. Or Ddds. I'm sorry. That means what? I hope this is corrected in the finished book.
I totally fell in love with Cullen and with Della and with a little girl named Kitty. I almost cried during a couple scenes in the book, so if you cry easily (I don't) you will need a box of tissues. IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR is a book you simply cannot miss. There is plenty of sexual tension in the book. There is also a long note from the author explaining all the liberties she took as an author, and what really happened-or didn't, as the case may be. Discussion questions and an interview are included at the end of the book.
The setting steals the show in this engaging story about two talented people who meet at the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago World's Fair, 1893). I really enjoyed the tour of the fair - from the exciting rides to the informative exhibits and eating establishments. And the pictures from the World's Fair in the edition I was provided for review really added a great nostalgic atmosphere to the reading experience. (According to the author's blog, the pictures are only included in the print version - vs. the e-version - and that might only be for the first edition.)
While I absolutely loved the historical setting, the hero and heroine make the story more than just an informational glimpse into the past. Cullen and Della are great characters with intriguing quirks. Cullen is a farmer with allergies who prefers inventing and fixing things, but a past tragedy, devotion to family, and former failures keep him from initially embracing the opportunity he's given to be a part of the fair. Della is a teacher with a heart for the deaf and a fear (planted by her father) of the deceptiveness of men. A girl back home, a debate about how to best help the deaf, and various insecurities make the romance as interesting to follow as the characters' nightly outings at the fair.
The story isn't all fun and games, as there are hardships and catastrophes to face, as well as deeper issues to consider. But all in all, this book is really a treat as sweet as the hot chocolate Della loves so much. I would have liked a bit more of a thrilling ending and a bit less of a superficial look at matters of faith (especially with the emphasis on patriotism), but for a creatively told story, I recommend finding out what happened at the fair.
*With thanks to Howard Books for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
I remember reading Deanne Gist's very first book, A Bride Most Begrudging, and falling instantly in love with her writing style, her humor, her way with characters and her story lines.
I have since enjoyed all of her books and was thrilled to review her newest book, It Happened at the Fair.
This book reminded me of Siri Mitchell's newest book, Unrivaled. Not because they are really anything alike but because they cover interesting, new and fun topics. They both captured something different in scenes and characters and situations that you don't see often in fiction.
Where Unrivaled was about candy making, this book was about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.
I absolutely loved reading and learning about this historical event! Deanne Gist provided a wonderful account of the fair, allowing me to experience the fair through her characters.
As the reader, I could tell that she had done quite a bit of research. She shares that research through scenes in the book but also through actual historical facts and pictures throughout the book. I especially loved Deanne's notes at the end of the book clarifying where she took some liberty and sharing with us her timeline compared to the real timeline of the fair.
Apart from the fair aspect of the book, Deanne wrote about two incredible people. Cayden and Della are perfectly set for each other and their story is well-written, deep and intriguing. The real life pressures and struggles of living through that time in history is a huge part of the development of their stories. The things they learn about themselves, about their families and about each other will touch the heart of every reader.
It Happened at the Fair is a must read this spring!