Setting her latest novel in the 1893 World’s Colombian
Exposition or the Chicago World Fair was irresistible
to historical romance author Deeanne Gist.
A pivotal event for a young America, Dee wonders
why it is left out of school history classes.

“It set the standard for architecture in the upcoming
century,” she explains. “Introduced
foreign cultures; wowed the world with our
scientific innovations; and it gave women their
first official board position recognized and approved
by an Act of Congress.”

In It Happened at the Fair (Howard Books),
Cayden McNamara takes his most recent
invention—an automatic fire extinguisher—to
Chicago, but the noise in the Fair’s Machinery
Palace 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 lipreading.

“I found two huge, oversized albums filled
with pictures and descriptions
of the Fair. In one was
a picture of a woman teaching
children. It turned out she
and the children were part of
an exhibit and she was teaching
them to lip-read. I immediately
thought of all kinds of
fun scenarios that could take
place with a heroine that could
lip read. I didn’t find out about
the noise in Machinery Palace
until later. So that certainly
worked out!”

Through the eyes of her
heroine, Della, Dee describes
the wonders that amazed the
more than 27 million visitors:
“Colossal white buildings;
Edison’s 40-foot tower of electric
lights; Venetian gondolas
gliding through man-made
canals; and the first-ever Ferris
Wheel, which took 2,000 people
at a time to dizzying heights.”
However, it is a Holland windmill
that Della visits most often,
says Dee. “Instead of grinding
meal, the giant blades power a
chocolate grater and serve the
best hot cocoa ever.”

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2013 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!

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About The Author

Deeanne Gist -- known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee -- has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very original, very fun historical & contemporary love stories. Add to this four RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you've got one recipe for success.