It Happened At The Fair – Deeanne Gist | A Review

ihatfI find the best books by browsing libraries and thrift stores. In April, I bought three books by Deeanne Gist, whose books I’d never read before, for $1.50, and read the one called A Bride Most Begrudging. I really liked it, and when I went to Goodreads to review it, I found this book that I’m about to review now.

I fell in love with the summary, as well as the cover! Isn’t it breathtaking? Although it’s about 400 pages long, I read it in six days. I’m telling you, it had me hooked from the beginning.

On to the review!


  • Cullen McNamara
  • Adelaide Wentworth


Cullen’s father spent a lot of money to reserve a spot at the 1893 Chicago World Fair for his son to exhibit the automatic sprinkler Cullen invented. Although Cullen doesn’t have half as much faith in the sprinkler as his father does, he takes a train to Chicago and works for the six-month period the fair is open, intent on earning back all the money and more. Because he’s losing his hearing and can hardly hear the people who are asking questions about the sprinkler, Cullen decides to take lip reading lessons from a teacher of deaf children…but he never expected the teacher to be his age, a beautiful woman, and to have the prettiest lips…


favorite parts:

(may contain spoilers)

  • When Cullen and Della visit Wooded Island. Gist’s descriptions of the gardens (as well as the rest of the fair) are so amazing!
  • When Della teaches Cullen a bit of sign language. The mood of the scene is romantic (they were at the Wooded Island at the time), and on top of that, I knew all the signs she taught him, which delighted me.
  • All of the lip reading lesson scenes. Not only did they help me to read lips better in real life, but Cullen and Della’s interactions in those scenes are a mix of romance and humor.

ithappenedatthefairWhat I Liked:

  • Every single description of the fair. Deeanne Gist knows how to do research right. She describes everything so well!
  • The pictures at the beginning of each chapter. They are of buildings and different attractions, whatever the chapter it’s at the beginning of revolves around. It makes the story seem so much more believable!
  • Nothing inappropriate goes on between any of the characters – aside from kissing, and one before-the-honeymoon-night scene, but nothing happens there, either.

What I Didn’t Like:

(may contain spoilers)

  • Cullen and Della’s physical attraction over emotional attachment. I believe that you can be drawn to someone physically, but only physically? I would’ve preferred for them to be more in love with the other’s personality traits, rather than just their body. He loves her lips, she loves his muscular build…which I find nothing wrong with, mind you.
  • Gist’s occasional mention of God. This novel is supposed to be Christian historical fiction. I’m pretty sure she was wanting Christians and non-Christians alike to enjoy this novel, but, c’mon. Let the characters talk about the Lord, or don’t. Throughout the 400 pages, only one character makes a mention of God. The other two times are the main characters briefly thinking about God. I don’t think it should be called “Christian fiction” because God is mentioned a few times here and there. The novel isn’t based on godly principles. (I still LOVED the book, by the way! This aspect of it disappointed me, that’s all.)

Do I Recommend It?

Do you…

  • love historical fiction? Yes! It’s one of the best historical books I’ve ever read 🙂
  • love romance? Yes, if you also enjoy learning about historical events.
  • love the 1893 Chicago World Fair? Yes!! It Happened at the Fair depicts it beautifully.
  • love Christian fiction? Yes, as long as you know going into it that God’s barely focused on at all.
  • love clean love stories? Yes! This one is one of my favorites so far.
  • love learning about the deaf/sign language? Yes!!! Gist studied extensively on the topic and did a beautiful job incorporating it into this fictional work of hers.

~-~ Maggie

Read: 5/19/16 – 5/24/16

Check this book out:



Author’s Website


4 thoughts on “It Happened At The Fair – Deeanne Gist | A Review

  1. Great format! I love the way you break it all down and especially the questions you ask relating to whether or not you’d recommend it to other readers. Well done. 🙂


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