Friday, May 8, 2015
Tiffany Girl- Deeanne Gist
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Description: 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 New York Art Institute. 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 Girls 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?
My Thoughts: To begin with, I flew through this book pretty fast. While it is over 500 pages, a good number of those are illustrations or else the first half page of every chapter (a lot of the chapters are only four or five pages). So don't be intimidated by its sheer size.
When I first started reading, I liked Flossie and hated Reeve. However, by the time the book was finished, I had come to respect Reeve as I recognized his character arc to be much like my own life. Towards the end, I appreciated his complete 360.
The title, Tiffany Girl, lead me to believe that her being a Tiffany Girl played heavily into their romance (such as him being another worker or else a costumer). Instead, it felt as though Flossie and Reeve had two completely different plot lines, which only met at certain times, and then were separate from each other again. This made for great personal growth, but very little relational growth.
As to some other reviews comments on the intimacy in Tiffany Girl, I actually would say that this is one of Deeanne's more tame novels when it comes to such. There is a kissing scene (compared to the usual two or three), and a wedding night scene where they take off their outer garments (but nothing else). I have never had an issue with this as, while they might say they are in their undergarments, to me, they are wearing more than I do in the summer.
As a historical, this novel is well researched and entertaining. I loved the details of old games, the beginnings of basketball, and boarding houses. However, I would not have categorized this as a romance novel. More time seemed to be spent on the historical aspect (her being a New Woman and such) than on their relationship. If I had been aware of this from the beginning, I am sure I would have absolutely loved reading Tiffany Girl. As it was, I was disappointed that it was not like Deeanne's past novels.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy as part of the Deeanne Street Team in exchange for an honest review.