Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist was a pleasure to review. From the beginning I was pulled into the time period and into the lives of the characters. I started the book while taking a train trip between Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. So that also helped set the mood nicely and gave me the time to really jump right in.
This book deals with some major social changes for women and the whole "New Women" movement. The author sets the scene by putting you right into the lives of her characters. You quickly feel like you know them and understand their motivations.
The story takes place around a World's Faire. Louis Tiffany has been given the opportunity to showcase his glass and his male workers see this as an opportunity to strike…putting him in a tight spot. They either get paid more or don’t work. Louis Tiffany sees another option…hire some female art students. Flossie, our female lead, happens to be one of those hired on.
Within the first few chapters we meet Flossie and Reeve. Both are great characters and are fully developed. Reeve's early life was really hard and later in life he becomes a reporter. He and Flossie both end up living in the same boarding house.
Reeve is covering the “New Women” in the newspaper from a very male perspective. He sees the "New Women" movement as a disaster because it's breaking up the social norms and changing the focus of family. Flossie on the other hand sees being a "New Woman" as taking control of her destiny. She no longer depends on her father to decide her schooling or even if she gets paid. But all is not roses when you move out of home and have to now pay for lodging, food and necessities on a very low wage. Being a “New Woman” comes with many disadvantages including being looked at as loose by many men. The author did a great job of showcasing what the women went through when it came to riding public transportation and the overall view of “New Women”.
I loved how the author was able to show both of their perspectives really well. She made me think about how the world has changed because of "New Women" and how that change has affected my life. I can easily see that the "New Women" movement had its benefits, but also has created problems in our overall society. The repercussions have been phenomenal in positive and negative ways. I’ll leave it up to readers to choose what those are and how the situations of this book affect their lives of today.
From this book I’m going away with the perspective that history really does have a domino effect on the lives of future generations. At the time it seems like change is happening, but the future is unclear. Only with a future perspective can you see the full ripple effect.
After reading this book and being pulled into the characters and time period, I must recommend Tiffany Girl. It’s a beautifully written book and one that historical fiction fans will cherish. So pick up this book and start making a new friend in Flossie.
From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.
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 Art Students League of New York. 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 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 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?