"It Happened at the Fair" almost seems like an unworthy title to portray the story behind this cover! This book was so lively, so full of action and twists and turns.
Della Wentworth is an advocate for deaf children, teaching them at a school in the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. She teaches her students to lip-read, instead of sign language, because she doesn't want her students to feel so 'different' from everyone else.
Cullen McNamara is a farmer allergic to cotton. Ever since his mother died in a fire, he has been determined to invent something to put out fires. He came up with an automatic sprinkler system, which his dad insists he show at the World's Fair. Cullen is against the idea, knowing his family doesn't have enough money for it, but his dad insists. Cullen tells his almost-lifelong friend, Wanda, whom everyone thinks he will get married to, about going to the World's Fair. She doesn't see the same reasoning and potential that Cullen's dad sees in him and begs him not to go, to set a wedding date for them, anything.
Cullen makes it to the World's Fair, but because of a partial loss of hearing in one of his ears, plus the intense noise surrounding his booth, he realizes that he needs help. He can't hear his clients, causing most of them to walk on to his neighboring booth, which sells a manual sprinkler system. Cullen isn't selling any sprinklers, and he knows his family needs the money, so out of desperation and a recommendation of a friend, he goes to take lip-reading classes from a teacher at the fairgrounds. Even with the lessons though, things are hard for Cullen. Mainly so because he can't concentrate; he's keeps getting distracted staring at his teacher, Della's, lips.
I thought this book was excellent; the chemistry from the characters, the heat of the plot, and the historical aspect of the setting kept me hooked for the entire ride!
Thank you so much to Net Galley and Howard books for letting me read and review this book.