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

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  944 ratings  ·  222 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...more
Paperback, 418 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Howard Books
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Christian Fiction Addiction
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
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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...more
Rebekah Gyger
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...more
Wendy S. Marcus
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.
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...more
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...more
Read my full review:

My rating: 3.5 Stars

My opinion: DeeAnne Gist's works simply make my heart smile. I am slowly making my way through all of her works and have yet not simply had a smile on my face while reading them. The same thing happened with It Happened at the Fair, but not as much as some of her previous works. I found that I didn't connect to the story as much as I have in the past. On that note, I must admit that the first day I read it, I read half the book in one...more
Maureen Timerman
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...more
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
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Ruth Hill
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Lydia (Overweight Bookshelf)
Full review here:

In her newest novel, Deeanne Gist takes readers on a sensorial tour of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and all of its many wonders. No building was left unexplored or corridor investigated. Such a rich landscape requires characters that are complex and equally intriguing, and on this Deeanne does not disappoint. Cullen and Della are delightfully entertaining with their quirky idiosyncrasies and earnest attempts to resist the mounting attrac...more
Stop what you are doing (well finish reading the review first) and go out and buy this book! I am in love with the characters, the setting, and the storyline! I must admit that this is the first book I have read by Deeanne Gist, please don’t shoot, and now I am on a mission to own all of her books. Her writing style and character voices are so alluring and drew me in immediately. She has the ability to make you feel right at home. This novel is set at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and follows th...more
Samantha Jo
I was simply delighted by Deeanne Gist’s tale of Cullen and Della. From sipping hot cocoa in the quiet corner of a chocolatier to soaring through twists and turns on an automated toboggan ride, they saw it all. Ms. Gist’s knack for brilliantly weaving the historical nuggets of the actual fair in with that of her book is truly wonderful. Never have I felt so completely connected with the setting of an historical novel.

As for Cullen and Della, their characters fit so perfectly together – so compl...more
Judith (Judith'sChoiceReads)

My Thoughts

I enjoyed reading It Happened At the Fair, but it isn't my best book by this author. Deeanne Gist gave me A Bride Most Begrudging, Maid to Match and A Bride in the Bargain, all of which are Historical Christian Fiction guilty pleasures of mine. I love her books because Gist knows how to write Christian romance provocatively without losing that faith aspect. At the Fair leaves me conflicted because it didn't hold as strong a faith value as her previous works.

Both Cullen and Della pray...more
Rating: 4.5

Pros: I’ve underestimated Deeanne Gist. There I’ve gone and said it. Way back when, I read her debut novel and my younger self liked it, however ever since then, the pull or allure of that novel was never enough to visit one of her subsequent works of fiction. How delighted I was to be a part of a tour promoting her latest. Gosh, golly, this book was interesting. The story is actually a unique one forcing the reader to feel more “at home” in the historical trivia of the fair than bein...more

From start to finish this book is amazing!!! DeeAnne has a talent to put something absolutely hilarious in otherwise serious situations (The parade incident still makes me laugh).
Cullen is so conscientious and humble. Della is out of line cautious and good hearted. Wanda doesn't give up without a fight and Tomas just wants to win her. A father, that believes in his son and is ready to lose all just to see him succeed; and the Fair that is absolutely beautiful. DeeAnne’s vivid description of the...more
Cullen McNamara is frustrated as all get-out with his father for securing him a place at the Chicago World's Fair. Always a clever boy, Cullen invented an automatic sprinkler system for houses and barns. The Fair is everything he ever imagined it would be, but it turns out that his location in the Machinery Building is nearly deafening. And Cullen already struggles with his hearing at the best of times. He's nearly resigned himself to returning home since he can't even hear the few customers who...more
It Happened at the Fair was a good book whose setting made it memorable for me. I liked the main characters, and got caught up in the storyline, but the setting was magical. I loved the vivid descriptions of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which alternated between enchanting and tragic.

Cullen McNamara is not cut out to be a farmer, so his father risks everything to send him to Chicago to demonstrate his automatic fire sprinkler system at the 1893 World's Fair. Cullen can't believe that his fathe...more
Unfortunately not one of Dee's best, in my opinion. The pace and deep POV were very uneven, I never felt connected to Della as a heroine, and the vowel-less dialogue got REALLY old REALLY fast. There were points in the middle where I thought, "Finally! This feels like a good Dee Gist novel!" But then something would happen (say, four pages of internal dialogue, or an entire chapter filled with nothing but Cullen taking off his shirt and Della ogling him) that would pull me right out the story wi...more
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Deeanne Gist—known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee—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 A Bride Most Begrudging, A Bride in the Bargain, and Maid to Match. Her latest book, It Happened at the Fair, is her ninth published novel.

More about Deeanne Gist...
The Measure of a Lady A Bride Most Begrudging Maid to Match A Bride in the Bargain Love on the Line

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