It Happened At The Fair

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Title: It Happened At The Fair
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Howard Books
Published: April 30, 2013
Pages: 432

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Cullen McNamara, farmer’s son with bad allergies to plants, risks everything, including the family farm, to travel to the Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. Unfortunately he has a a problem that the Machinery Hall makes more prevalent, he has trouble hearing with a lot of background noise. So in an act if desperation he hires a tutor but he might’ve gotten more than he bargained for with his beautiful new teacher.

Della Wentworth is teacher of the deaf and has spent her entire career teaching children how to lip-read. When Cullen asks for her help she is reluctant to agree, but his desperate plea and interesting situation win Della over and she begins to teach him. However, Della begins to find herself feeling things that don’t belong in a student-teacher relationship and Cullen finds himself having a hard time concentrating when he has to stare at her lips all day.

The more the two are together the more their attraction grows and the more they find themselves looking forward to seeing each other daily. But, Cullen has a secret that could cause him to lose her forever and Della isn’t such a fan of secrets. Their relationship might be over before the World’s Fair if they can’t hold on to each other and let go of all their hesitations.

How will Della react to Cullen’s secret? Will she leave him or will she decide that he’s too important to lose? Will Cullen be able to hold onto what he has back home or will he lose everything because of one very expensive trip to the Chicago’s World Fair? Can Della and Cullen’s relationship stand the test of time or will it fizzle out before the fair comes to a close?
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For years I have been a fan of Deeanne Gist’s. I’ve only four books by her but ever since I read A Bride Most Begrudging, I was hooked. Because I love A Bride Most Begrudging so much, I had really high hopes for this book and, thankfully, this book didn’t disappoint me. I loved this book and I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to read it.

The romance in this book is just what I’ve come to expect from this author, steamy for a Christian novel but with a lot of emotional growth as well. I became fully immersed in their romance and how the author would work it out in the end. I loved seeing Della realize that not all men were what her father warned her about and seeing Cullen realize that lukewarm just isn’t enough. I absolutely loved this romance and can’t wait to see what else I can get from this author (maybe a sequel :D).

The storyline of this book is pretty impeccable. It moves along at a nice pace, the only wrinkle, for me, was how quickly and easily Della decided to forgive Cullen and take him back. I felt that it was a bit rushed and took away a bit front he overall story. Other than that small wrinkle, though, this story is utterly satisfying and completely worthy of not only being read, but being read a second time.

The characters of the story were really realistic. In a lot of cases I felt Della’s caution, particularly with what her father told her about men, was granted and I genuinely felt that Cullen’s struggle with his attraction to Della was believable. Every supporting character enhanced the story and made it even better. I also felt each character was well developed and their feelings at each interval were completely understandable. I think the author did an amazing job with the character and has a gift of storytelling.

The setting of this novel is one that I don’t usually see written about in this amount of detail and I loved it. I felt the author’s love for it and I wanted to be able to travel back in time to see the Chicago’s World Fair in all it’s glory. Even though the author wasn’t able to include all the details about the fair that she wanted, what she did include was spectacular and I drank it up. I’m actually a little upset that I didn’t get to see that magnificent fair, but at least we have people like Deeanne Gist who are willing to resurrect interest in it and write pages and pages about it.

Deanne Gist captured my heart with A Bride Most Begrudging and for a while now I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of her books, but I’m extremely happy that this was the one I was able to get. This book captured me just like my first, by her, and I can’t wait to see what I else I can read by her. I’ve found that even if it take years to get a book by her, it’s completely worth the wait. I completely recommend this author and any of her work.

Overall, I loved this book. The romance, the storyline, the setting. All of it captured me and held me hostage until the last page. I think this is perfect for those who like their story a little bit more steamy and who like historical fiction placed in a historical event. This book is definitely best left to the adults. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complentary copy of this book in exchange for this review all opinions expressed are my own.*

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