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Thursday, May 16, 2013

It Happened At The Fair

"When the fire bell rang, the whole town poured into the streets, me included. I'd been running toward the billowing smoke for a good minute before I realized it was the mill. But even then I wasn't worried. I knew my mother would have gotten out."

White powder fell from their clothing, leaving a trail behind them. Smoke obliterated all sunlight, though they could still see.

"The owner of the mill kept the windows tightly closed so the humidity wouldn't weaken the cotton fibers. The air inside was so thick with cotton dust and lint, you couldn't hardly see or breathe. That's why I wasn't with her. Cotton dust makes me break out in hives."

She still couldn't fathom a cotton farmer whose body rejected the very crop that provided for him.

"Sad thing is," he said, "the mill had a sprinkler system."

Her lips parted. Please, God, she thought. Not one of his. Then she remembered he'd been much older when he'd tested out his first one of the cowshed.

"It was a manual system," he said, "and the operatives weren't able to activate it. I don't know why, but they weren't. Some of the folks on the ground floor made it out, but cotton is highly flammable and the windows were sealed. The people on the second floor didn't stand a chance."

She swallowed. "And your mother was on the second floor?"

"She was." His voice didn't rise or fall or crack, but flattened into a monotone. "The hook and ladder carts arrived, of course, but even with their steam engines throwing water onto the building, there was no saving it."

She bit her lip. She didn't know whether to reach for him or leave him be. Crossing her arms, she held tight to her elbows.

"I was held back from fighting the fire. But even as they restrained me, I promised her I'd do something. Something to conquer fire. And that's when the idea for automatic sprinklers came to me. It was as if my mother paused on her way to heaven and offered a parting suggestion. A dying wish, if you will." For the first time, his voice wavered. He looked down. "What she failed to mention was what to do if I invented such a thing but no one wanted it."

Uncrossing her arms, she grabbed his hand. "Oh Cullen. Even if no one places an order, you've done your part. You've offered the fruit of your hands. No one would ask you for more. Not your mother, not God, not anyone."

He gave her a self-deprecating smile. "I would. I would ask for more." (pg 188-189).

In the beautiful researched novel, It Happened At The Fair by Deeann Gist, an inspiring inventor and farmer, Cullen McNamara finds himself at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair at the insistence and belief of his father. His father believes that Cullen needs just the right push to take his invention and hope to make enough money at it that he won't have to go back to farming. In fact, his father provides him with the money to go and fills out all the necessary paperwork for him. Leaving behind the women he believes he loves, he heads off to Chicago in hopes of selling his invention he believes can truly save lives. He will have to spend six months trying his best to convince people his invention works over the manual sprinkler systems the world is used to.
However he's hiding the one thing that may make it hard for him to sell anything at all, his ability to hear. In Machinery Hall, he finds the noise so overwhelming, he can barely make out what people are asking him. Worse yet is the fact he is going deaf in his right ear. If he can't understand what people are asking him, he appears to be uneducated in his invention. That's when a suggestion is made for Cullen to learn lip reading in an effort to save his business and save his self respect. Only he doesn't expect his teacher to be quite so intriguing and beautiful.

I received It Happened At The Fair by Deeann Gist compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. Being a huge history fan, I love how Deeann took the time to research the exhibits and the issues that happened at the Chicago World's Fair as her back drop for her novel. The pictures that accompany the story make it that much more believable and add to the ambiance of the characters of Cullen McNamara and Della Wentworth, the deaf teacher whom Cullen hires. This is a must read for anyone who truly appreciates the history and industrial age of America at a time when so many exciting things were being invented. I even loved the first movable sidewalk which showed a trend in making things easier for business and keeping it fun to watch and learn from. I easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and love the way the Deeann removes parts of words to show how difficult it was for Cullen to understand what people were saying in order to appreciate his challenge in communication with people and how he had to simply fill in the blanks based on the context of the conversation they were having to make sense of things. This one for me, is a true keeper.

For more information about It Happened At The Fair, Deeann Gist or where you can pick up a copy of this delightful novel today, please click on the links below:

You can follow Deeann Gist on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

You can also visit her website by clicking here. 

To read more reviews on It Happened At The Fair from the Litfuse Publicity Book Tour, please click here. 

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451692374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451692372
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches 
Available in paperback and eBook reader formats.

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!

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