Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Tiffany Girl by Deanne Gist

Book Cover and Synopsis:
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 source for book: Review Copy
My Thoughts:
I had previously never before heard of the "Tiffany Girls", but this book easily brings them and their unique--but often unknown--profession to life. Flossie (I love that name!) was an entertaining heroine; her spunky nature combined with her occasional cluelessness made for some very amusing moments.

The scenes involving the creation of the stained glass windows were interesting and gave a look at the unbelievable amount of time and work just one window required. Also, I previously never knew how Tiffany jewelers and Tiffany glass were related, but now I do! :)

I must admit that initially I didn't like Reeve at all due to his negativity and bad attitude towards Flossie and other girls with jobs outside the home. I couldn't imagine my opinion about him changing... until I found that it actually did! Suddenly I liked him, and upon looking back I could see that he had slowly changed, and it was handled so smoothly that I barely realized it was happening. I love when an author can pull off such a smooth transition, displaying a large amount of growth and development of the character.

Something that really stood out to me was how when Reeve took in a stray cat, it wasn't at all considered un-manly or anything like the stereotypes of men and cats today. This was extremely refreshing for me. You can tell a lot about someone by how they treat animals, and going by that standard Reeve is a winner! :)

While the conflict between Flossie and Reeve was extremely predictable, I still enjoyed the overall journey. The amount of time it took them to reconcile was a bit longer than I would have preferred, but I was ultimately still happy with the outcome. I actually generally like contemporary stories more than historical, however this one had the power and story to really pull me in. It's definitely a winner, and I'm sure established fans of the author (and also new-comers!) won't be disappointed.

My Rating: 5 stars

Thanks to the publisher (Howard Books) for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.

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