Monday, June 15, 2015

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

"Reeve remembered everything about that morning. He remembered the scratchy wool of his short pants. His stiff collar and bow tie making it hard to swallow. The branches of the willow tree whipping against the window. The women sitting in the parlor, the air around them saturated with their homemade herbal fragrances." Opening Paragraph

Synopsis: From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all. As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen. But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the Art Students League of New York. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.” Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world. As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Review by Mirella Patzer

Author Deeanne Gist takes readers back to the early 1900's when the world is preparing for the World's Fair and Louis Comfort Tiffany is earning a reputation for his brilliant glass works. Flossie Jayne is a young woman who leaves her family and home to forge her own way in the world. She ends up working for him as a "Tiffany girl" during the frantic preparations for the fair. The tale takes through troubles, love, and all the fascinating details of the time. 
Placed within the novel's pages were numerous historical photographs which definitely added to the story, giving me the opportunity to see the fashion, the characters, the items described in the novel. Poignant, funny, heart-warming, and emotion, this is a nice story with a good pace that held my interest from start to finish. Excellent writing!

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