Fair Play by Deeanne Gist
It Happened at the Fair, #2
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Pages: 433 Trade Paperback
Date Published: May 2014
Publisher: Howard Books
Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for pursuing a man’s profession. As a lady doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice–until she doctors an imposing man who threatens the fulfillment of her dream.
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 aspire to walk in a man’s shoes.
But the abandoned baby Hunter discovers at the Fair finds him teaming up with the good doctor to give the foundling a better future than the slums of Chicago, where the children play on flea-infested, garbage-strewn streets. AS Billy and Hunter fight for the foundling’s welfare, their hearts warm to the precious child–and to each other. Soon their concern grows to encompass the Nineteenth Ward’s burgeoning population of street children. In the interest of fair play, Billy and Hunter let nothing stand in their way as they labor to build a park for them, birthing Chicago’s first playground and a national movement that will sweep the nation.
But the Fair is coming to an end, posing impossible decisions for Billy and the man who has won her heart. Will they become a footnote in the Fair’s history books, or will what they discovered in Chicago be longer lasting than the World’s Exhibition.
Almost without fail, when it comes to Dee’s books I know it’s going to be a great story and straight to the permanent keeper shelf. She is one of those authors where you’d love to have both a physical and digital copy on hand to read it whenever and wherever. Deeanne Gist is one of those authors that I tell my husband she sells well even in the general market world of fiction as well as the Christian market, and there is no wonder why.
Fair Play is the second book in the It Happened at the Fair series if you do not include the prequel in that numbering, however it stands completely on it’s own and you can read it and enjoy the fullness of it without having read It Happened at the Fair. As for It Happened at the Fair, right off the bat I was a fan of Cullen’s and so annoyed and turned off by Wanda that I did not know what to expect. Surely this could not be! Yet off to the fair we go, unsure, uncertain and a little concerned. But wait… isn’t that exactly what he was feeling? How does she do that!? It’s another example of an author grabbing your attention and emotions and placing you firmly in the time (1893) and craftily creating a world that comes to life right off the page.
In Fair Play, I was immediately taken by both Billy and Hunter. Perhaps it is all the time I spend reading Texas Rangers and Cowboys from other Christian Historical Fiction series and authors that I love, but Hunter was just plain manly and delightful. As per usual, Dee’s heroines are part delightful and part irritating to me. Her females are always a bit more feminist than I and I want to argue with them. However, she does such a good job forming them and truly bringing them off the page!
Tangent here. I’m a genealogist and I love history. Christian Historical Fiction is my genre (hence: www.ChristianHistoricalFiction.com). One of the best parts about researching history for genealogy (family history) is seeing the remnants of buildings and life once lived. Being able to see pictures is just magical, for lack of a better word. This book is the epitome of why I love to read historical fiction. Bringing the characters and place to life and all throughout this novel we have picture after picture of location and people at the Chicago World’s Fair. It’s amazing to imagine and Dee really brings it to life.
The one other thing about this book is that there is some pretty heavy petting, for lack of a better way to put it. Both Billy and Hunter are very sensual and really “want” each other. However, if you remember back to Courting Trouble, things do not go that far and are truly avoiding until the wedding railcar… but I have read some other reviews where some people felt the affection was a bit much. However, sometimes you just need a Julie Lessman or Deeanne Gist romance (safe in the bounds of Christian Historical Fiction – knowing things are set to work out for the greater good).
Years ago when I was first getting into Christian Historical Fiction, I discovered Carol Cox and her Fair to Remember series based on the World’s Fair. Reading this one and seeing what I can see makes me want to go back and read it again. Then of course there is also another new one in the Avenue of Dreams Series by Olivia Newport. Reading them altogether and bringing a world alive! Oh and if you want to involve a younger child in the reading, you can pick up American Rebirth, a 4-in-1 collection that contains the story Emily Makes a Difference:A Time of Progress and Problems based also during, you guessed it, the Chicago World’s Fair. What a fascinating setting and what’s amazing with the amount of people that attended it’s entirely possible that stories such as these occurred and more!
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.
It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist
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?
(You might also be interested in the prequel: The Tempest in the White City)
When a World’s Fair Guard and the woman doctor assigned to treat him square off in the White City, a storm is brewing…
Hunter Scott is one of the elite. An 1893 Chicago World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and ability to serve and protect. When he is overcome with debilitating abdominal pain, Hunter stumbles to the Fair’s infirmary only to discover the doctor is female—who ever heard of a female doctor? But even worse, she has the nerve to diagnose him, the toughest man west of any place east, with constipation—an unspeakable ailment in mixed company. What will happen when this tough Texan and attractive doctor face off? Either way, a tempest is brewing…
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 novels. 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 (releasing April 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 theFrontPageWSJ.com 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.
Gist will be hosting a webcast event on May 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM EST, where she will be discussing more of the story behind It Happened at the Fair and answering reader questions. During the course of the evening, a number of prizes will be given away to those participating in the discussion. More details will be available soon on the author’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/deesfriends, where the webcast will be hosted.