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It Happened at the Fair (It Happened at the Fair #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,127 Ratings  ·  353 Reviews
A transporting historical novel about a promising young inventor, his struggle with loss, and the attractive teacher who changes his life, all set against the razzle-dazzle of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Gambling everything, including the family farm, Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the Fair’s Mach
Paperback, 418 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Howard Books
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Christian Fiction Addiction
Jun 01, 2013 Christian Fiction Addiction rated it it was amazing
I picked up Deeanne Gist's latest book certain that my manly brain was about to be overwhelmed with romance, and I wasn't entirely sure how much I'd even enjoy the book. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself hooked within only a few scenes, and I kept having to sneak away to read just one more chapter to see what would develop next! Now don't get me wrong: though this book is entirely clean of any inappropriate scenes, Deanne Gist still manages to create some moments that seem somewhat ...more
SUMMARY: Gambling everything—including the family farm—Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the fair’s Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.

The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like
Becky ♡The Bookworm♡
This was a delightful story set against the history rich background of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Cullen's plight held my interest from cover to cover and I adored the way he treated Della. While he had so much to lose, she struggled with trust issues drilled into her by her overprotective father. Watching this couple overcome their obstacles turned out to be a trip back in time.

There is so much to like in this story that I could fill pages and pages with this review! Cullen's father and hi
Apr 06, 2014 Ronna rated it it was amazing
It's 1893, and the Chicago World's Fair is hugely popular. While much of the rest of the country is facing bank shutdowns and lost mortgages, everything new and extravagant is happening at the Fair.. North Carolina farmer, Cullen McNamara, is highly allergic to his cotton fields but he's also a talented inventor. He's created an automatic sprinkler system for putting out fires. His father gambles his farm on Cullen's ability to sell his product at the fair.

Della Wentworth is a teacher for deaf c
Tara Chevrestt
This is one of the best books I've read in some time, one that once you pick it up, you want to read it all the way through and have to force yourself to eat, sleep, and do anything not related to the book. And then when you are doing those things, you're thinking about the book or telling the husband all about it.

It's the Chicago World's Fair in the 1890s...and Cullen is there trying to sell his invention: an automatic sprinkler system. His family is about to lose his farm so he's under tremend
Cullen McNamara is a cotton farmer from North Carolina with an unusual – and potentially dangerous - problem. He is badly allergic to cotton and to plants in general. In his twenties, he lives with his father and step-mother on their farm and struggles, year after year, with the effect that the cotton has on his lungs and his body. But he accepts this as his lot, and is content for the most part.

But he has a knack for mechanics, and having lost his mother in a fire when he was a child, he has s
May 04, 2013 Casey rated it it was amazing
The Chicago World’s Fair came once and last six months. The novel, “It Happened at the Fair” has come once and I wish it would have lasted me those six months!

From first chuckle to last sigh, this novel made my five-star book shelves and my favorites for 2013. Sweetly romantic, sassy and charming, I couldn’t have loved spending time with these characters more.

I don’t think you could have a richer in culture and history setting than the World’s Fair. There aren’t many books out there set in thi
Cullen is a young inventor, his father wanting him to go for his dreams has purchased his tickets and applied for him to go to the World Fair in Chicago. Cullen's invention is the automatic fire sprinkler, it's the next step in fire safety and prevention. It could save the lives of many. But he's having a hard time selling any because he can't prove it works.

Della is a young attractive lady who is a teacher for deaf children, teaching them how to read lips rather then use sign language. The who
Jessica Wolf
Aug 01, 2015 Jessica Wolf rated it really liked it
Finished while babysitting. Conflicted thoughts.

The Good:
I loved this book. I really did. It was expertly researched. The added photographs were amazing. The characters were interesting and dynamic. Really, the book was all-around great. As my first Gist read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Will I be reading another one of her books? Maybe. There's other books I want to read first. And thanks to the ending, I'm not sure that next read will be any time soon.

The Bad:
The book was paced very well. It had
Feb 26, 2014 Kate rated it did not like it
I am, in general, a fan of Deeanne Gist. However, I feel some of her best works are her earlier ones, though, and this novel affirms that feeling.

I really appreciated the historical climate and situation of the 1893 Worlds Fair. The amount of detail poured into the book was done tastefully and I did not feel like it distracted from the story. The problem lies more with the fact that there is very little story. Punctuated by extremely short chapters that rudely segment any sense of flow - the plo
May 03, 2013 Renee rated it it was amazing
What can I say other than I love Deeanne Gist, one of the original edgy inspirational romance writers. It Happened at the Fair has everything I love in a book and so much more! The feels, all the feels, just about sums this book up! Usually Dee's books are all about fun and romance but THIS book was actually a bit of an "edge-of-your-seat" story. One scene in this book had me absolutely riveted and more teary-eyed than I think I've ever been when reading Christian romance. Grab the tissues! Ther ...more
May 03, 2013 TAMMY CUEVAS rated it really liked it
Cullen McNamara dreamed of exhibiting his invention at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, but never expected the dream to become reality. When his father pushed him to go, he agreed only because his father had already paid his way, and the fees were non-refundable. Once there, he realized that his secret hearing loss made conducting business almost impossible. His fears of his father losing his investment prompted him to ask Della, a teacher of hearing-impaired children, to teach him to lip-read. Th ...more
Reviewed for

Narrated by Amy Rubinate

The World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World Fair of 1893, is the backdrop for this wonderful story. The author’s research is evident in the writing. The book is so steeped in the time, place, and culture that the setting becomes another character. It Happened at the Fair is worth reading for the history and setting alone, but that isn’t the only reason to read. The characters are
Ruth Hill
Dec 29, 2013 Ruth Hill rated it it was amazing
When I first picked up this book, I wondered why on earth I was reading another "sappy historical romance." I am so glad that the author proved me wrong! I was absolutely enthralled by this book to the point that I did not want to put it down. The story was somewhat predictable at times, but it was different enough that I was intrigued. I fell in love with Della and Cullen, and I wanted to see how the author drew everything together at the end. And she did draw it together extremely well.

I reall
Rebekah Gyger
Mar 22, 2013 Rebekah Gyger rated it it was amazing
Deeanne's books are always amazing but this was one of her best. Mostly light-hearted, it still had moments of great emotion and pain. The characters had to overcome fears, prejudice, and lose. It Happened at the Fair made it clear that life is not always rosy but that we can live through the pain and find joy in the little things. The backdrop representation of all that man has achieved in history was beautifully juxtaposed with the thoughts and ideas that have held us back.

All this was accompl
Wendy S. Marcus
Mar 16, 2014 Wendy S. Marcus rated it really liked it
This book is not one I'd typically read, but I loved the author's voice and story telling. Her vivid descriptions made me feel a part of the story. Very interesting setting. Very enjoyable read.
Aug 26, 2013 Cookielover rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
It started off as something to throw in a recycle bin and then progressed to something you enjoy then stick it in your bookshelf to never be read again. I liked learning about the sad history of the fair. The storyline was truly unique. And this author is not afraid of anything, which is good. And this is definitely a book to read in front of a nice cozy fire in the winter. Because reading it in front of a nice cozy fire in summer is just insane.
Aug 12, 2014 Kristin rated it really liked it
This is my first "Christian Romance," not in my normal wheelhouse (though I do like Historical Fiction). This is classified as Historical Fiction, but I think it would better be classified as Historical Romance, as the romantic elements are the bulk of the plot. That said, the book was well written with interesting and endearing characters and a well paced plot that kept me turning pages. As far as my personal preferences I "liked it" (In GR terms = 3 stars) but as far as recommending it, if lig ...more
Jan 08, 2014 Gretchen rated it it was amazing
Confession: I don't typically love history because of how it was taught in school. So, I've learned to armchair travel through time and across the globe through my love of fiction. Admittedly, there are problems with taking this tack too far - fiction is fiction for a reason - artistic license. However, most stories I read are at least in a historically real time or place. And this author even tells us (after notes) where she took artistic license. How cool is that?

Confession: Though I am a Chri
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This book was pretty decent. The accents got a bit old after a while. I definitely did believe I was taken back to that point in time.
Feb 05, 2016 Lyssa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, must-own
Excellent book. Not only was this another 1893 World Fair novel jam packed with history (which I LOVE), but it featured two exceptional main characters: a woman who had good reason to be filled with mistrust, suspicion, and secrecy, who second guessed herself when appropriate, protected herself, apologized when she should, and was capable of changing her mind. And a man who was sincere in both word and deed, and respected himself and others (particularly women). A man who stays faithful to the o ...more
Apr 30, 2015 Sophia rated it really liked it
It's not a common thing, but every once in a while, I will choose a book based on its setting. I read the second book in this series, enjoyed it thoroughly, and was determined to pick up any other book set as a Chicago World's Fair romance by the author. This was just as moving with its story and fascinating with its backdrop as the other book. The fair is like the main character.

The story is a poignant one and opens when Cullen MacNamara's father shows his pride and trust in Cullen by gambling
Apr 22, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Howard Books
April 2013
ISBN: 978-1451692372
Genre: Historical

Gambling everything—including the family farm—Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the fair’s Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.

The young teacher is reluctan
Maureen Timerman
Apr 16, 2013 Maureen Timerman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
What do the 1893 Chicago's World Fair and Deeanne Gist have in common, they make for an amazing great read.
First we have a North Carolina Cotton farmer, highly allergic to all parts of the seed and plants, and a Pennsylvania young Woman who teaches lip reading to children. What could they possibly have in common?
The young man Cullin McNamara has an invention that can save lives. His Dad has sent him to the fair to let the world know of it, and hopefully to save their farm.
Fate and God have put
Sep 20, 2014 Leah rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed all of Deeanne Gist’s books and It Happened at the Fair was no different. It Happened at the Fair transports us back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Before traveling to the fair, we meet Cullen McNamara, a farmer from North Carolina, who has dreams of being an inventor. His father pays his way for him to go to the Fair to try and sell his invention of the automatic fire sprinkler. Before leaving, Cullen gets engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Wanda. Cullen is swept away in the ...more
Jan 16, 2013 Ashley rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
"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 wa
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
Loved it, loved it, loved it! Really what else do you need to know? ;) Okay, maybe a little bit more so you can decide if you would love it too.

Deeanne is one of my all-time favorite authors. She puts a lot of research into her books and it shows. I loved the historical background: the old pictures, the actual world fair setting, the descriptions of the buildings, rides, clothing, basically all of it. I felt like I was really pulled back to that time. It wasn't super descriptive, or what I mean
Catherine Stickann
It Happened at the Fair, by Deeanne Gist is a delightful read. Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair as an exhibitor that hopes to launch an automatic sprinkler system he has invented. The fate of his family farm is at state and Cullen finds the noisy Machinery Hall coupled with his own hearing loss is making communication with potential customers next to impossible. He seeks out a lip reading teacher, Della Wentworth, also working at the fair, to teach him to read lips. He is ...more
Anne Osterlund
Sep 18, 2013 Anne Osterlund rated it really liked it
Cullen is a young cotton farmer who is allergic to cotton. His eyes swell up. He struggles to breathe. And, by the way, he is losing his hearing as well. If he survives all of these challenges, he is destined to run his father’s farm and marry his childhood friend, Wanda. Probably.

But Cullen is also the inventor of an automatic sprinkler system. When his father risks everything so that his son can share his new invention at the Chicago World’s Fair, Cullen has no choice but to go. And he MUST se
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Deeanne Gist has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captivated readers everywhere with her original historical and contemporary romances. A favorite among readers and reviewers alike, her popular titles include It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play. Her latest book, Tiffany Girl, is available May 5, 2015.

A popular speaker, Gist’s presentations have been featured on the front page of the Wall St
More about Deeanne Gist...

Other Books in the Series

It Happened at the Fair (2 books)
  • Fair Play (It Happened at the Fair, #2)

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