Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist: A Book Review

It Happened at the Fair

From the Publisher: 
A transporting historical novel about a promising young inventor, his struggle with loss, and the attractive teacher who changes his life, all set against the razzle-dazzle of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
Gambling everything, including the family farm, Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the Fair’s Machinery Palace 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?

I am quite certain I was born in the wrong era...
I was simply delighted by Deeanne Gist’s tale of Cullen and Della. From sipping hot cocoa in the quiet corner of a chocolatier to soaring through twists and turns on an automated toboggan ride, they saw it all. Ms. Gist’s knack for brilliantly weaving the historical nuggets of the actual fair in with that of her book is truly wonderful. Never have I felt so completely connected with the setting of an historical novel. 

As for Cullen and Della, their characters fit so perfectly together – so complimentary. While all plots require a certain amount of conflict and resolution, the author left little time for the annoyances that often come with simple misunderstandings. This, I very much enjoyed. 

Whether I was caught up in swirls of chocolatey steam or holding my breath as blazing fires took hold of entire exhibitions, I was quite captivated by Deanne Gist’s writing. Not overly heavy on the concepts of faith, instead a quiet yet consistent testament to God and His provisions. 

Bits of comedy intertwined with a gentle seriousness, Cullen and Della’s story is wonderful to imagine and I found myself daydreaming of their adventures at the fair long after I’d turned the final page.

***With thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. And, to {Radiant Lit} who made it possible!

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