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It Happened At The Fair by Deeanne Gist

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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?

Goodreads Summary

The Chicago World's Fair is coming and Cullen McNamara must be ready!  He is an inventor who wants to use his invention to save lives (his reason behind this is very touching).  Cullen doesn't have the best hearing and the convention hall is loud, bustling, and busy.  Desperate to promote his product, Cullen contacts Della, a teacher who can help him learn to lip read.  Della isn't sure if she should teach Cullen, but she is eventually convinced when he promise to guide her around the Fair.  With obvious chemistry sparking between them, can Della and Cullen both get what they want out of the Fair?

Della's character was interesting.  She isn't immediately welcoming and takes a little bit of time to warm up to.  Her decision to teach young, deaf children is admirable.  Cullen's invention of an automatic sprinkler system is aimed at saving lives-his own mother died in a fire.  Both characters are the type that are impossible not to root for and like.  The reader will only want the best for them.  This was the perfect relationship-to me-because the author allowed it to develop over a period of time and shared experiences.  It was far more believable that the pair could love each other.  

Having hearing loss myself, I loved the addition of the unusual topic to the novel.  The author discusses signing versus lip reading and describes both experiences very well.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Unknown said...:

    I just bought my own copy of this book and I can't wait to read it!

  1. Nadia said...:

    What a lovely cover and it seems a really nice book. I hope one day I get the chance to read it!

  1. Cody Doll said...:

    This is another that I really want to read. I heard about this about 3 weeks ago and now I am looking forward to reading it!

  1. Amy said...:

    I love historical fiction - this looks like a great book.

  1. The cover is just perfect and even the plot.

  1. Thanks for the post! I like the cover, :)

    - Diana @amalia_chartres

  1. bn100 said...:

    Fun hero job

  1. Susan T. said...:

    I really like the unusual setting for this book!

  1. Berenice said...:

    I like that it takes place in 1893 Chicago World's Fair (I live in Chicago!). It sounds pretty great. I'm definitely intrigued. The cover is so pretty. Fantastic review. Thank you! =D