Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist, ©2013

It Happened at the Fair

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?

On the night before Cullen leaves for Chicago, his long-time girlfriend wants to make sure he is coming back to her at the close of the World's Columbian Exposition in six months. To secure his return, she wants him to choose a wedding date before he goes. Cullen isn't all that anxious to think beyond this unexpected opportunity to show his invention. His father has secured Cullen's placement by secretly sending in an application for him, and arranging travel and housing after his selection in the top one-third of the applicants.

The opening of the fair, President Grover Cleveland is approaching to press the golden telegraph key to begin the chain reaction of Old Glory fluttering in the breeze, with flags and banners streaming as the electrical connection for all of the exhibits and lighting comes to life. Sights and sounds of a 21-gun salute with the rush of water fountains and musical chimes surround the senses! The huge crowd presses forward in excitement and several people are injured as they are pressed aside in the surge. Della is rescued by Cullen. Her father has warned her about strangers, and she is delicately trying to remove herself from his care. Being the southern gentleman he is, he is wanting to assure her safety by returning her to the people she has been separated from in the huge crowd. She does not want him to know she is also an exhibitor at the fair.
The Statue of the Republic overlooks the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

The layout of this novel is really unique. The fair opened in May and ran through October 30, 1893. There are photos of the Chicago World's Fair between the chapters.
   "What about the Forestry Building?" she suggested. So far they'd made it through only the Palace of Art and the Fisheries Building. Having lived in Philadelphia all her life, she'd only seen the countryside as a child during short visits with her grandparents. She craved an opportunity to learn about forests and meadows in other parts of the country. The Forestry Building would be the perfect opportunity.
   --Della, It Happened at the Fair, 76
Our family has actually been within one of these buildings several times, formerly The Palace of Fine Arts, ~*~ The Museum of Science and Industry.
The Museum of Science and Industry opened its doors in 1933
and is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.

What I liked best about this novel is the in-depth walk through of the buildings and happenings at the Chicago World Fair by the main characters. So interesting and felt like you were walking alongside them. I liked the build of the story and the growth in the characters as they progressed through their time together in this fairyland atmosphere so different from their home life. An excellent story of caring for others and building relationship, set with humor and tenderness. Having visited four-season domes, I thought about how people took in all they hadn't seen before in their home environment. With the setbacks Cullen had, I was as invested in him as those who believed in him and his invention. There is a reading group guide in the back of the book, and an overview from the author.

About the Author
Deeanne Gist—known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee—has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captivated readers everywhere with her original historical and contemporary romances. A favorite among readers and reviewers alike, her popular titles include A Bride Most Begrudging, A Bride in the Bargain, and Maid to Match. Her latest book, It Happened at the Fair (release date April 30, 2013), is her ninth published novel.

A popular speaker, Gist's presentations have been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and in other publications. The Wall Street Journal's accompanying online video was the most watched video on the website for several days following their feature. Gist has a background in education and journalism. Her credits include People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel. She is also the creator of I Did It!®, a parenting line of products. Gist lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of thirty years. The couple has four grown children. Readers can keep up with Deeanne Gist at her website, as well as on Facebook (DeesFriends) and Twitter (@DeeanneGist).

Purchase a copy here.
By Deeanne Gist 
Howard Books, An Imprint of Simon & Schuster 
April 30, 2013 / 978-1451692372 / $14.99
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***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to be a part of this book tour of It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist and for sending me a copy of the book. No other compensation was received.***

Deeanne Gist is celebrating the release of It Happened at the Fair with an iPad Mini Giveaway and a Live Author Chat Webcast event {5/22}!

  One "fair" winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A $25 iTunes gift card
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 21st. Winner will be announced at the "It Happened at the Fair" Live Webcast Event on May 22nd. Connect with Deeanne for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Deeanne will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of It Happened at the Fair and join Deeanne and friends on the evening of May 22nd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 22nd!

An eShort Prelude to It Happened at the Fair
Hunter Scott ~ Texas Ranger from Houston, Texas, is assigned to the Women's Building. Be introduced to Deeanne Gist's protagonists for next year's story. Download an electronic short story, Tempest in the White City.

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