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review 2018-01-21 03:00
Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist
Tiffany Girl: A Novel - Deeanne Gist

Tiffany Girl is set just prior to the 1893 World's Fair. Flossie wants nothing more than to become a painter, so it's a shock when her mother tells her she's going to need to stop attending the New York School of Applied Design, help out more with the sewing (her mother is a dressmaker), and start thinking about getting married. Her father has gambled away enough of the family's money that they can no longer afford her tuition. When Flossie hears about an opportunity to work for Louis Tiffany as one of his "Tiffany Girls" during a glassworkers' strike, she announces that she's moving out and will earn the money for her tuition herself.

Her new life isn't easy, but Flossie is determined to make the best of things. She deals with angry strikers and "bustle pinchers," tries to figure out how to make her finances work out, and deals with her loneliness by encouraging the people at her boarding house to all get to know each other better. One of her fellow boarders is Reeve, a handsome but emotionally closed off journalist who turns his nose up a "New Women" like Flossie.

I feel like I've been in a partial reading slump since coming back from vacation. I haven't been reading much, and I keep losing interest in the things I read. I was worried that the same thing would happen with Tiffany Girl. The book's length was a little daunting, but thankfully it turned out to be a really engaging read. I flew through it and could hardly put it down.

I don't read a lot of Christian romance, and there are only a couple authors I'll pick up without reading reviews first. Deeanne Gist is one of them. The religious aspects of her books are usually pretty light. Faith is important to her characters, but they don't think about it every few pages, and I don't recall ever feeling like Gist preaches at her readers.

The religious aspects of Tiffany Girl were particularly light, although important. One of the things Flossie dealt with was the belief of those around her that God's highest calling for women is bearing children. This was directly opposed to her desire to work for someone like Louis Tiffany, who only allowed women to work for him if they were unmarried. If Flossie wanted her independence, she needed to remain unmarried and childless, or so she believed. Religion also came up a bit while Flossie was looking at Louis Tiffany's finished stained glass windows. For the most part, though, that was it. I could imagine some Christian romance fans wanting more, but for me this worked out just fine.

Watching Flossie and Reeve interact was fun, even though both characters had aspects that annoyed me a little. Reeve's opinions about New Women got my back up, although I'd probably have been on his side where Flossie and her "get to know each other" activities were concerned. The lack of privacy in the boarding house was, in general, a bit horrifying, but Flossie's dinnertime question cards would particularly have made me cringe. There were, in fact, times when her questions touched on sensitive topics. I was a little surprised that Reeve answered some of the questions he was asked, considering how private he tended to be.

Flossie was a bit too in-your-face friendly for me at times. I'm an introvert, and I can clearly imagine myself going out of my way to avoid her for a while in order to avoid her icebreaker games. As far as she was concerned, everyone at the boarding house was like an extended family and, up until the competition for World's Fair tickets started, she probably felt at least a little the same about many of her coworkers.

Although Flossie and Reeve were attracted to each other fairly early on, they both had a bit of growing to do before they properly meshed as a couple. I really liked how things progressed with Reeve. He had to rethink his ideas about women and marriage. He also had to learn to open up more and allow other people into his life, even if only a little. I absolutely adored the scene with Mrs. Dinwiddie near the end. In some ways, it worked better for me than the romance between Reeve and Flossie.

Flossie's developments near the end of the book were pretty painful, and the attention Gist paid to Reeve's efforts to make more friends highlighted, for me, the fact that Flossie didn't seem to have any close female friends. Whereas I enjoyed the direction Reeve's story took, Flossie's "growth" seemed at least in part to involve breaking her down. She learned that not everyone around her was to be trusted, that she couldn't always count on her parents to act as her safety net (although Reeve stepped in and kept this from turning out worse than it might have), and that she'd never

be able to make a career out of the thing she most loved to do

(spoiler show)

. On the plus side, she learned that all of this could happen to her without breaking her.

The moment when Reeve and Flossie met again was nice, although I was a little sad about how long it took for it to happen. I missed getting to see the two of them together more, and Gist sped through their courtship period way too quickly for my tastes. I really liked how she resolved the issues hanging between Reeve and Flossie, although I raised an eyebrow at the fact that they apparently hadn't talked about any of it prior to getting married. I'd have thought Flossie would have wanted to know how Reeve felt about

the idea of her continuing to paint and occasionally make some money of her own

(spoiler show)

before they said their I dos.

All in all, this was a good book and a quicker read than I expected it to be. I need to hunt down more of Gist's stuff.

Extras:

Many of the chapters were accompanied by a one-page black-and-white illustration. Also, there was an author's note with information about Gist's historical research. Gist's author's notes tend to be fascinating, and this one was no exception.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-01-21 01:50
Grounding Griffin (Made Marian #4) by Lucy Lennox Review
Grounding Griffin: A Made Marian Novel (Volume 4) - Lucy Lennox

Griff: I learned early on that the easiest way to avoid a broken heart is to always be the first out the door. Caring about anyone or anything is asking to be disappointed, which is why I avoid relationships and chase freelance gigs — ghost writing restaurant reviews and penning articles about the efficacy of cheesy pick up lines — instead of chasing my dreams.

Besides, dreams don’t come true for people like me. And no one, not even the sexy-as-hell bartender at the club can convince me otherwise. Because I’m never risking my heart again.

Sam: As a bartender I’ve watched a million pick-up artists work their magic, but none as talented as Griffin Marian. He’s a flirt, a good time. Hooking up with him was supposed to be just a fling. I wasn’t supposed to care abut his fractured past or his buried dreams. I have my own future to worry about, especially after that stupid food critic scuttled my hopes of finally opening my own restaurant.

But, the more time I spend with Griff, the more I’m beginning to realize that my plans mean nothing without him. If only I can convince him to give us a chance to follow our dreams together.

 

Review

  I am pretty sold on this series. They aren't amazing but they are a good time and fairly light reads that make for happy reading.

Sam and Griff make a fun couple. The conflict is a bit meh as is the confusion in how they meet but the theme of encouraging each other to pursue their dreams is nice and they have great chemistry.

As always the rest of the cast is super fun and we get time with the whole family.

 

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review 2018-01-20 17:10
Should've Been You: A Man Enough Romance - Nicole Perkins McLaughlin

Sweet, small town romance centering around two people who have known each other all of their lives but have thought the other didn’t like them. Jase has always loved Becca but he has also always thought he knew that she didn’t like him at all. He is best friends with her twin sister and when he gets a glimpse of Becca after several years his attraction is as strong as ever. Becca has had a secret crush on Jase since they were kids but he has always been partial to her twin sister so she has kept her distance. Now Christmas brings them all back together and when her sister gets engaged Becca tries to make sure Jase is ok and they start telling truths to each other. But the problem is that Becca is  in a long term relationship and is hoping for her own engagement soon, so when they share a kiss, she feels totally guilty and rushes home. There is drama, strife, passion, secrets and lies all rolled up into a sweet romance about two people finally getting together and finding their true happily ever after. I enjoyed it. It was strong, tense at times, had highs and lows and a good steady pace in development.

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review 2018-01-20 15:32
slow realisation of love
The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel) - Sarah MacLean

Well that was interesting.  Sophie pushes the bratty husband of her sister in a pond when she finds him with another woman.  She flees the scene, hoping that she will get away. However she ends up in Kingscotte 'King' the Marquess of Eversley's coach as his footman who is heading to his father's estate, many miles from London.

 

She wants to escape the world of London and the strictures but she has no real way to do this without a cascade.

 

King has a problem with his father and the death of an early love he doesn't want love in his life again but she is tempting and he finds himself caring a lot about her and what happens into her. There's shennigans and misunderstanding and a lot of fun and sparkling banter and I really enjoyed it.

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text 2018-01-20 13:19
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
'Til Death Do Us Part - Amanda Quick

This was pretty bland. And there was way too much going on that didn't make a lot of sense to me. I usually like Amanda Quick, but this was not my fav.

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