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 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 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 the newly invented Ferris Wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?
©2013 Deeanne Gist (P)2013 Tantor
Carrie Fancett Pagels
Lovely narrator although she mispronounced a couple of words. It wasn't distracting. She had the perfect voice for the herione.
He's losing his hearing and she's a teacher for the deaf.
Loved, loved, loved all the historical tidbits and that Deeanne included them in Editorial notes at the end of the book. I totally get what she is talking about--it is hard to leave a story world that you love. She takes the reader there beautifully.
Great voice as usual, fascinating characterization, unique storyline, bibliotherapy elements, and on audio--what more could I ask for?
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 children. The whole school has been transported to the Fair for exhibiting the children learning to lip read. When Cullen's increasing hearing loss gets in the way of speaking to customers, he hires Della to teach him to lip read. Though they both see this as only a business relationship, they find each other to be increasingly great company.
The relationship between the characters is wonderfully portrayed, but the descriptions of the Fair and specific events from real history, puts this book over for top for an excellent read. The exhibits are fascinating and descriptions of an actual fire from the Fair, is expertly portrayed. I really grew attached to the characters. The discussion about signing versus lip reading, and the actual school for these children evoked great emotions. Lovely book. First I've read by this author but it definitely won't be the last one.
This book opened to my eyes to an event I had never heard of and described it as if the author had actually been there. I really enjoyed it!
The scene in the ferris wheel.
Great overall book. Really shows how judgemental people can be.
I'm not sure how to rate or review this book. I admit to being a sucker for a good love story, but I felt the circumstances here were too contrived and the naivete of Della was unbelievable. I was thinking that the book was getting a bit tedious when the situation arose where Cullen had to "prove he was who he said he was." With that, I almost stopped listening to the book because it was beginning to feel like a not-well-done romance novel. Nevertheless, I kept listening, just for the sake of resolution, I guess.
Having been to Chicago a couple of times and having read Devil in the White City, I was initially hoping to learn a little more about Chicago or the world's fair. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to glean much information about either from this book. The author readily admits to taking historical license (and I do appreciate her telling us where she took liberties), but I felt "gypped."
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