I have read quite a few novels that take place surrounding the Chicago's World's Fair, and my interest was beginning to wain. So when I began reading this story, and realized what a fresh perspective of the fair that this tale tells, it caught me by surprise. I was hooked.
Deeanne captures the street-level feel of the fair from within. The authentic feel of this book showcases strong research, and the characters that come to life on its pages are intriguing.
To use a cliche, I felt "swept-along" as I turned each page. I was never tempted to put the book down. It was a very satisfying read, and it left me wishing that I really could go back and experience the Chicago World's Fair for myself.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. All opinions rendered are my own.
What do the 1893 Chicago's World Fair and Deeanne Gist have in common, they make for an amazing great read.
First we have a North Carolina Cotton farmer, highly allergic to all parts of the seed and plants, and a Pennsylvania young Woman who teaches lip reading to children. What could they possibly have in common?
The young man Cullin McNamara has an invention that can save lives. His Dad has sent him to the fair to let the world know of it, and hopefully to save their farm.
Fate and God have put these two young people together, first he saves Della's life. Then he has a hearing problem, getting worse, from where is exhibit is put. He desperately needs help, and lip reading could be the answer! Della unbeknown to him teaches this.
I loved the pictures of the actual buildings that are included in this book, even in my kindle edition. While we are reading the story, you can see where each event is happening. I have been in the one remaining building, many years ago.
We experience many parts of this fair through the eyes of these characters. Come and experience the end of the 1800's, like seeing the first Ferris Wheel....I wish the story would last for a bit longer!
I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Cullen McNamara is the son of a farmer and is an inventor. His father recognizes that Cullen's allergic reactions to farm work mean he needs to find a new way to earn a living, and gambles everything to send Cullen to the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair with his latest invention, an automatic building sprinkler system. Unfortunately, a slight hearing impairment plus the deafening noise of the Machinery Hall make it impossible for Cullen to communicate with potential buyers, and in desperation, Cullen hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to teach him to lip-read. As payment for the lessons, Cullen escorts Della around the various exhibits of the fair during the evenings.
I have always enjoyed history and I learned as a young child that the easiest way to absorb history is in the pages of a fictional account. While I enjoyed the story of Cullen and Della, it was definitely made more fascinating by the wealth of description provided about the fair itself. It's easy in today's world to take a lot for granted, and based on our experiences of products displayed at trade shows or state fairs, to think we can picture what it would have been like. Thanks to the impressions of Cullen and Della, and to the actual photographs displayed throughout the book, I now realize that any picture we could imagine would never come close to the splendor of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair! When you add the intrigue and events of the fictional storyline, you come up with a real winner! I greatly enjoyed this story and at the same time, learned a tremendous amount about the fair as well as public opinion about deafness more from this book.
I received a free copy of these books in exchange for my fair and honest review.
I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this story and the pictures the author included. The emotional bonding that took place between characters over various incidents that occurred at the fair was well done. I appreciated the insight the author had into a number of issues. One had to do with how the belief in someone's abilities and admiration of them as a person will increase their feelings for each other. Especially men. They want the woman they are attracted to also believe in them as a person and what they can do, not just the length of time they had known each other. That makes for a stronger kind of love; one that leads to a passionate marriage rather than just a comfortable one.
The hero, Cullen, was very likable, but also quite manly. The description of his physique was quite hot, actually. I enjoyed how the author used the need for him to learn how to lip read as a way to meet the woman he became attracted to and make it difficult for him to learn from her by putting them in a number of private situations. That was great when it came to developing tension between them. His fierce protectiveness of her made me love him more. He was a good guy and cared deeply about a number of things, including loyalty. One of his most intense issues was his need to put out fires to save lives. He got to the point where he had to rely on God to see him through some tough issues. I loved that he grieved along with Della during a tragic time at the fair. It helped bond them even more. That was very well done.
The heroine, Della, was a sweetheart as well. The way her feelings slowly developed for the hero was touching. The scene with the little girl in her class was a tear-jerker, but it really made Della think about what the kids experienced from being separated from their parents. Della had her own frailties, but she was a tough lady. Her response to seeing the hero's buff physique made me smile. I felt like I was touching those ripped muscles. And that first kiss... whew! Great romantic tension. She got a bit skittish at times when she felt like she couldn't trust him, but she came around and that made me admire her more. Very enjoyable story.
I have enjoyed all of Deeanne Gist's books and It Happened at the Fair was no different. It Happened at the Fair transports us back to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Before traveling to the fair, we meet Cullen McNamara, a farmer from North Carolina, who has dreams of being an inventor. His father pays his way for him to go to the Fair to try and sell his invention of the automatic fire sprinkler. Before leaving, Cullen gets engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Wanda. Cullen is swept away in the enchantment of the fair but he is greatly discouraged when he tries to sell his product and runs into several roadblocks, including his inability to hear some of his potential customers over the loud noise of the fair. Not only are the noises too loud, but Cullen is starting to go deaf as well. In his desperation, Cullen hires Della Wentworth to teach him how to read lips. Of course, Cullen didn't expect his teacher to be an attractive young lady. Della agrees to teach Cullen, but is still very reluctant in opening up to him and has several suspicions about him. As their lessons progress and tragedy strikes the fair, their friendship deepens and an attraction starts to grow as well. Cullen must soon choose between his love for a girl he's always known, or this new girl who seems to have captured his heart.
As I mentioned before, I greatly enjoyed this book! The descriptions of the Fair were very detailed and it brought the Fair to life for me. The author also included pictures at the end of each chapter so you could see what some of the exhibits looked like. The author did a great job of telling the story of Cullen and Della but also showing us what the fair was like. I also really liked reading about Della teaching Cullen to lip-read. I felt like I was being taught right alongside Cullen. It was also interesting the way the author jumbled up some words when someone was talking to Cullen, so that we had a hard time understanding them as well. At first I thought there was a lot of spelling mistakes, but then I realized that we were "hearing" the way Cullen was. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends! One more thing, I know a lot of people sometimes skip over the Author's Note at the end of books but I definitely recommend reading the Author's Note in this book because the author gives more interesting information about the Fair and more historical details. I hope this review was helpful and that you'll enjoy the book as much as I did!
I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions stated are my own.