Thursday, February 18, 2016

Deeanne Gist - Tiffany Girl

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?

Comment: After reading some interesting and positive comments about this title I got very curious about it and decided to buy it, even more so because I've read the author's work previously and liked it. I think the author has a very clear and fluid writing style and I knew it would be a good read, so this month, after being in the pile for almost half a year, I finally started it.
This is the story of Florence "Flossie" Jayne, a young woman who helps her mother sewing business but in reality, she dreams of better things, and believing she is a talented artist, the doesn't think twice about moving to a boarding house so she can be free to work at Tiffany's when the men go on strike.
At Tiffany's she is to help with the glass work, usually done by men, along with other colleagues from the Arts Institute where mr Tiffany himself went to choose them. Flossie now has a new life, new ideas to develop and she can't help but impact everyone at the boarding house, including mr Wilder, a man often lonely, but someone who'll change the more by knowing Flossie.
But nothing everything is easy or simple or positive. Will Flossie be able to learn to deal with heartbreak as with all the good things?
Well, I enjoyed this story a lot and didn't read faster because I couldn't read anytime I wanted. But last night I stayed up until I finished and I was quite glad about the way things happened. I think the author inserted a very realistic feel to the story by not sugarcoating everything nor by making the characters have their way all the time.
The idea about this book was also very interesting, unlike many readers about there, I wasn't very aware of the Chicago Fair event and it was quite interesting to learn a bit more about the Tiffany girls and how in real life they were actually asked to help with the glass cutting  after the men's strike. I did like to learn new things in a very soft and easy way, without too much information that would make this too heavy or uninteresting.
As for the fiction part, of course that was what appealed me the most.
It was very god to read this story, I was immediately captivated by the characters and their lives, although, from a contemporary POV, certain rules of the society of those days, which the author obviously used properly, really made me glad I wasn't a woman living in those days, for their lives were extremely unfair and serviceable. But once the focus turned to Flossie and her experiences and personality, we got to savor the changes and the news in her life with a different attention.
I think the best details I liked about this story was the type of life one has in a boardinghouse and all the different types of people that could live there. The author includes some notes explaining it was normal for doors not to be locked in such places and how anyone could enter... in fact, many of situations in the book seem rather simplistic for me, but again, we see everything through contemporary eyes. Also unexpected was one twist related to Flossie's chance at exhibiting a painting which I didn't see coming. Maybe I'm too naïve.
The romance was very subtle and sweet and slow paced. But I liked how their relationship seem more realistic because the time since they met until they get their HEA, because each one had to learn things and grow up emotionally for happiness to be achieved.
I liked how good and not so good things happened, which allowed each one of them to realize certain things but I also had to notice that not all is perfect for me, personally. I felt this was a very long book, maybe a few pages less wouldn't harm the overall plot and in some situations too much time spent on one or two things would detract from the intensity of the story. Perhaps this is intentional, but the process of going from a very strong scene to a very basic or less important would be too obvious and it felt like the plot lost the pace here and there. But well, this is just an impression.
Another issue is the sexual content (actually non existent) in this novel. Mrs Gist apparently is migrating towards more mainstream romance, rather than the inspirational or clean stories from the beginning of her career. But there has been talk about this and Wendy, the SuperLibrarian says it all here, basically this isn't sexual at all, it's definitely not pornographic, unlike so many people say in certain platforms. personally I prefer this style, but I can understand how some readers might feel if they got to this book by the labels and it's not what they thought they would get. But one thing is to express an opinion, another to be as aggressive and unfair as the issues they claim they hate. Anyway...
All in all this was a great story, a sweet romance, I liked the plot, the details, the majority of the scenes and development and I think it's a good read with which one can spent some enjoyable time.
I think this is a good book to recommend and I do.
Grade: 8/10


  1. This is one I've got waiting for me. I've enjoyed this author's books. I expect I'll like this one too.

    1. I liked it too. I actually like the path the author is on right now. I also liked her more inspirational stories, but the recent ones, more towards mainstream historical are even better, apparently!

  2. I'm so glad you liked this one! I positively wallowed in the boardinghouse scenes. I wanted all boardinghouse scenes all the time :)

    What I like best about Gist's historicals is how she includes these fascinating moments of "every day life" in a historical context. I always get a strong sense of "this is how people REALLY lived back then" when I read her books.

    1. Yes, I'm a fan of the author's writing too. I plan on reading more books by her.
      Yes, she does her research well. I really felt sorry for Flossie but was so focused on her character I missed the scam! LOL. I also think she's getting better with time, moving more towards mainstream historical romance....