Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist is a sweet romance set at the end of the nineteenth century in the lead-up to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Flossie Jane has aspirations of becoming an artist. Her parents have supported her painting endeavors until her father’s gambling drains the family income beyond their ability to keep up with her art lessons. It now seems more important to them that she help her mother with the in-home sewing business that provides the bulk of the family’s support. Flossie rebels, thinking it unfair that her mother’s hard work goes to pay for her father’s gambling. This is a time of change for women– a time for "the New Woman." Young women have been taking chances, taking jobs on their own, supporting themselves. Flossie yearns for a chance to do just that.

Fortunately, Mr. Tiffany (of the famous Tiffany glassworks) has need of talented, artistic young women. He has commissioned a stained-glass chapel for the World’s Fair to showcase the work of his corporation. He is in a terrible bind because of a glass-workers’ strike. One of his managers, a woman, has convinced him to give female workers a try. Women are not allowed to join unions so. . .

Flossie is one of the women chosen for the job. She moves into a boarding house, expressly against her parents’ wishes. There she meets a varied cast of characters who enliven her life. More so, however, she brightens theirs. Her true talent lies in her ability to bring people together. One of these people is the aloof reporter, Reeve, who has an abhorrence for "New Women" in general and whose initial impression of Flossie is that she is a chatterbox and a busybody, but a very beautiful one.

The story provides an interesting look into Tiffany’s stained glass making process and the excitement of the World Fair. It brings up some of the issues that these women in transition had to face (not all of which are resolved, such as harassment on public transportation). The love story progresses at a realistic pace. It’s a long book and Howard Books is the Christian publishing imprint of Simon & Schuster so adjust romance expectations appropriately. The goal for this New Woman, for all her initial insistence on independence and her desire to pursue her painting, is always first and foremost marriage and family. And Gist steers the storyline into a position where love is the happy-ever-after Flossie is looking for all along. I found myself drawn along with Flossie’s journey even if I didn’t find her the most inspiring of heroines. (I think I would have been more interested in the story of her manager! But that would not likely have been a romance.)

So, Tiffany Girl is recommended for its peek into the historical events, particularly if you like sweet, clean romance.

1 comment:

  1. This is the type of story I enjoy. I'll add it to my list.