Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist ~ Historical Fiction Review

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Book review disclosure.

Historical Fiction

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 a 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 glass-workers' strike months before the fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the New York School of Applied Design. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boardinghouses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the "Tiffany Girls."

Tiffany Girl 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 be an independent New Woman at a time when most of the fair sex stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than she 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. What or who will claim victory? Her drams or the captivating boarder next door?

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My Thoughts

Deeanne Gist is taking us back to the World's Fair in Chicago! Louis Tiffany (yes those Tiffanys) has a giant ambition to show off his love for stained glass at the fair. His dream is to do a stained glass chapel that will be inspiring and beautiful. Unfortunately in the midst of creating this marvel there is a glass-workers strike and the men walk out. 

In a very forward-thinking move Mr. Tiffany seeks out some talented women to fill their shoes. Flossie Jayne is one of the women that he chooses to come and finish the windows. Flossie is a total delight to read about. She's fiesty and brave and daring, while at the same time caring and concerned about those around her. She's determined to be an independent New Woman in an era of change.

The story that unfolds about the Tiffany chapel and the women that create it is fascinating. But I have to admit my favorite part is the story that takes place between Flossie and her boarding house neighbor Reeve. As the tapestry that unfolds and becomes their story is revealed I found myself experiencing a myriad of emotions. I wanted the two of them to live happily ever after but wasn't sure it could be accomplished because of their diverse makeups. But we all know opposites attract!

Tiffany Girl is a delight on so many levels. The history and author's notes behind the story are fascinating. We modern women have a lot to be thankful for of those women who paved the way. Gist's stories are a real treat because they are long and detailed without being tedious. Even at 527 pages I still felt like I was galloping through the novel. I'm not sure exactly how she manages to pack so much in and keep the story racing along, but she is definitely a master at it. The pictures and illustrations add such a wonderful setting to the novel. This would be a great choice for your reading group or as a wonderful treat for yourself.

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Deeanne Gist

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