Category Archives: Deeanne Gist

Review: Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

tiffany girlTitle: Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Howard Books
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 544 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the Art Students League of New York. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?


Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist is another delightfully charming and meticulously researched historical novel set against the backdrop of the Chicago World’s Fair. This story takes place in New York and focuses on the “Tiffany Girls”-the women hired by Louis Tiffany to complete the stained glass windows for his exhibit for the World’s Fair after the male workers go on strike.

Flossie Jayne is a typical young woman of the time period who is expected to marry and raise a family. Her discontent over having to hand all of her earnings to her father coincides with the newly changing roles of women in society so she eagerly accepts the opportunity to work for Tiffany. In order to keep her salary, she moves into a respectable boardinghouse where she immediately shakes things up by engaging her fellow boarders in playful activities. The only person who refuses to participate in the nightly parlor games is Reeve Wilder, a reporter for one of the local papers. Reeve is a traditional man of the times and he is not in favor of women entering the workforce.

Flossie is sheltered and naive but she has a good heart. Her parents adore her and they effusively praise her artistic endeavors. Flossie is a hard worker but she is a little surprised by how slowly she moves through the Tiffany Girl ranks. Her innocence is endearing, but this becomes her greatest weakness as her lack of experience leaves her vulnerable to exploitation.

Reeve is a bit standoffish and keeps to himself. He is also a bit cynical and at first, he finds Flossie annoying and pushy.  Reeve cannot help but be concerned for her but his warnings to not be so trusting fall on deaf ears. Although the pair form an unlikely friendship, both of them have some growing up to do before they can take their relationship to the next level.

Once again, one of the best parts of reading a novel by Deeanne Gist is how she incorporates history into the plot. With Tiffany Girl, she changes the setting but she still utilizes the Chicago World’s Fair to gently educate readers about a little known piece of history. The resulting story is informative and quite fascinating, but it is the richly developed cast of characters that brings this enchanting tale vibrantly to life. They are multi-dimensional with relatable flaws and their experiences throughout the novel provide them the opportunity to grow and mature.  While there is a romantic element to the storyline, it is very understated. An absolutely marvelous novel that fans of historical fiction are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Deeanne Gist, Historical, Howard Books, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Tiffany Girl

Review: Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

fair playTitle: Fair Play by Deeane Gist
It Happened at the Fair Series Book Two
Publisher: Howard Books
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair comes a historical love story about a lady doctor and a Texas Ranger who meet at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Saddled with a man’s name, Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for taking on a man’s profession. As a doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice—until Hunter Scott asks her to give it all up to become his wife.

Hunter is one of the elite—a Texas ranger and World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who think they belong anywhere but home.

Despite their differences of opinion, Hunter and Billie find a growing attraction until Hunter discovers an abandoned baby in the corner of a White City exhibit. He and Billy team up to make sure this foundling isn’t left in the slums of Chicago. As they fight for the underprivileged children in the Nineteenth Ward, an entire playground movement is birthed. But when the fair comes to an end, one of them will have to give up their dream.

Will Billy exchange her doctor’s shingle for the domesticated role of a southern wife, or will Hunter abandon the wide open spaces of home for a life in the “gray city,” a woman who insists on being the wage earner, and a group of ragamuffins who need more than one breathing space?

The Review:

Fair Play by Deeanne Gist is an incredibly fascinating novel that whisks readers back in time to the Chicago World Fair. This beautifully written story seamlessly incorporates historically accurate details into a timeless romance that is sure to enchant old and new fans of the delightful It Happened at the Fair series.

Dr. Billy Jack Tate and Hunter Scott are older and very career oriented. Billy has worked hard to become a doctor, but establishing her medical practice in a male dominated field is virtually impossible due to the prejudices of the time period. Hunter is very proud of being a member the elite Texas Rangers and he has taken the position as guard at the fair solely to advance his career. They meet under somewhat embarrassing circumstances but despite their awkward introduction, they soon form an unlikely friendship. When love begins to blossom between them, will their differences threaten their future?

Billy and Hunter are both fairly stubborn and neither seems willing to compromise their principles. Billy is a city girl who enjoys the excitement of the hustle and bustle of living in Chicago. But it is also on the cutting edge of medical technology and she does not want to lose this valuable opportunity to hone her skills. She is often a contradiction as she fights to maintain her femininity while trying to downplay her more womanly attributes. Hunter has forged a very successful career as a Ranger and he cannot fathom a life without wide open spaces. His old-fashioned values lead him to unrealistic expectations regarding Billy’s role as a physician. Both are guilty of making assumptions about what the other is thinking and this leads to trouble when their relationships enters into romantic territory.

Billy and Hunter’s compassion and concern for an abandoned baby take them from the safe, protected world of the fair and into the poverty stricken tenements of Chicago. They witness firsthand the appalling living conditions and hand-to-mouth existence immigrants experience as they attempt to provide for their families. Children are robbed of their innocence as they roam the streets unsupervised and become juvenile delinquents. Most heartbreaking is the young age that many are forced into taking jobs so they can help contribute to their financially strapped households.

All of these elements contribute to the evolution of Billy and Hunter’s characters and relationship while providing a captivating backdrop for Fair Play. Deeanne Gist’s exceptional research is one of the highlights of her novels and she has again woven pieces of history into an unbelievably captivating romance that enlightens as well entertains. The setting of the Chicago World’s Fair is the only common denominator between novels in the It Happened at the Fair series, so each can be read as standalone stories.


Filed under Deeanne Gist, Fair Play, Historical, Howard Books, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

Title: It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist
It Happened at the Fair Series Book One
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Imprint: Howard Books
Genre: Historical, Christian, Romance
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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?

The Review:

With It Happened at the Fair, Deeanne Gist brings readers yet another beautifully written romance that is quite charming. Lead protagonists Cullen McNamara and Della Wentworth are beautifully developed and the storyline is riveting. But it is Ms Gist’s meticulous research that makes this book such an outstanding read. Her attention to historical detail is phenomenal and her descriptions of the Chicago World’s Fair bring this story vibrantly to life.

Cullen is quite a bit older than Della but she is quite mature (and sensible) for her young age. Cullen is quite sweet and he always treats Della with utmost respect. He is very humble and lacks self-confidence when it comes to his invention. In the beginning of the story, due to her father’s dire warnings about strangers, Della is very cautious around Cullen. She slowly relaxes her guard around Cullen, but late in the novel, a secret Cullen has been keeping threatens to destroy their relationship.

Ms. Gist does not shy away from sensitive topics in her novels and It Happened at the Fair is no exception. She fully explores the controversy that surrounded teaching deaf students lip reading versus sign language. The reactions to Cullen’s increasing deafness accurately portray the prejudice and misconceptions that were often encountered by deaf people during the time period. Adding to the story’s authenticity is Cullen’s increasing concern about the growing recession and financial instability of banking institutions.

It Happened at the Fair is a fascinating historical romance and Deeanne Gist does a wonderful job incorporating fact with fiction. It is an informative and entertaining novel that is quite engrossing. An incredibly well-written story that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a sweet romance with a light Christian element.

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Filed under Christian, Deeanne Gist, Historical, Howard Books, It Happened at the Fair, It Happened at the Fair Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance