Fair Play by Deeanne Gist ~ An Historical Romance Book Review

Historical Romance

Back of the book:

Saddled with a man's name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for pursuing a man's profession. As a lady doctor at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice--until she doctors an imposing man who threatens the fulfillment of her dream.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World's Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who aspire to walk in a man's shoes.

But the abandoned baby Hunter discovers at the Fair finds him teaming up with the good doctor to give the foundling a better future than the slums of Chicago, where the children play on flea-infested, garbage-strewn streets. As Billy and Hunter fight for the foundling's welfare, their hearts war to the precious child--and to each other. Soon their concern grows to encompass the Nineteenth Ward's burgeoning population of street children. In the interest of fair play, Billy and Hunter let nothing stand in their way as they labor to build a park for them, birthing Chicago's first playground and a national movement that will sweep the nation.

But the Fair is coming to an end, posing impossible decisions for Billy and the man who has won her heart. Will they become a footnote in the Fair's history books, or will what they discovered in Chicago be longer lasting than the World's Exhibition?

My thoughts:

If you are looking for an historical romance that will transport you to an interesting time period while making you laugh out loud and cause your heart to flutter then you've found it in Fair Play. 

Deeanne Gist has brought us back to the 1893 Chicago's World's Fair and introduced us to Dr. Billy Jack Tate. Despite the masculine name, Billy is very much a woman. Her first meeting with Hunter, the handsome Texas Ranger is quite revealing in all the wrong ways! But never fear Billy quickly evens the playing field when she has to treat Hunter for a very uncomfortable and embarrassing ailment. The two have an instant attraction but of course nothing can come of it because their goals in life are counter productive.

Little did the two know how much an orphaned baby would change their worlds. The plan was to leave him in the capable hands of the women of Hull House. But on the day they made their way to the West Side of Chicago their combined destinies were changed. 

Not only is this a charmingly witty love story, it is also a fictionalized peek into the darker side of Chicago during the infamous World's Fair. The juxtaposition of the opulence of the Fair and the slums of the West Side make for an intriguing story-line.  One of the many things that I liked about the book was the inclusion of the photos at the beginning of each chapter. They helped set the stage for what was happening during that portion of the story. 

Some of the other additions to the book are a discussion guide for reading groups and information from Deeanne on her research and reasoning behind the story. After reading the book it was very interesting to get a glimpse into the making of the story and the rhyme and reason behind why the author chose to stick to the facts on some points and stretch the truth on others. I really enjoyed the lengthy story and look forward to reading and discussing it with my reading group. I think it would make a great addition to your book club or your personal reading list.

Connect with the author:

You really should treat yourself and check out Deeanne's YouTube channel . . . especially 'How A Southern Girl Eats Crawfish'. Priceless!


  1. I love Gist's books! Can't wait to read this one - I love her humor!

    1. If you like her humor you're really going to like this one! So funny!!!


Blog Designed by: NW Designs