Deeanne Gist. Tiffany Girl. New York, NY: Howard Books, 2015.
Do you ever find yourself anticipating a book to the point you find yourself talking about it months in advance? Since the cover announcement for Deeanne Gist’s Tiffany Girl, I have been raving about the cover design. As I’m sure my family can attest, I have mentioned repeatedly that a book about Tiffany glass can only be accompanied by a truly spectacular cover. :) After reading an advanced copy of Tiffany Girl thanks to NetGalley and Howard Books, I am thrilled to post a pre-release review here on the Books and Biscuits blog!
In Tiffany Girl, Florence “Flossie” Jayne decides to become an independent, working “New Woman” of the 1890s after she discovers that her father will no longer cover her tuition to the New York School of Applied Design. When Louis Comfort Tiffany himself visits her art class to choose women to become Tiffany Girls, Flossie realizes that she can become a professional artist in her own right! Through their work at the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, Flossie and the other members of the Women’s Department rapidly learn the fine art of making stained glass, in order to successfully complete the Tiffany chapel in time for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. After the effects of the economic depression cause a rift among the Tiffany workers and residents of Flossie’s boardinghouse, she must choose between her new independent life and returning to the home of her childhood.
Caught between the largess of the Gilded Age and the economic crisis of the Panic of 1893, Tiffany Girl will capture the imaginations of Ms. Gist’s readers, who have come to anticipate her superb characters and writing from each of her novels. Scenes of Flossie’s boardinghouse life are filled with intriguing and quirky characters who add depth and believability to the story, while scenes of the Tiffany Company will leave audiences crying out for more fiction and non-fiction books on this fascinating topic.
Overall, I would highly recommend Tiffany Girl and Ms. Gist’s other books related to the World’s Fair (It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play) and I am very excited to add them to my personal collection. Tiffany Girl serves as a well-developed, stand-alone novel, although I greatly enjoyed the scene that connected its characters with those found in the earlier books of the series. As promised by Ms. Gist, Tiffany Girl depicts a very different perspective on the World’s Fair and primarily takes place in New York City, away from the Fair’s main events. While I hesitated initially with the concept, Ms. Gist’s execution was refreshing and delightful. She managed to combine multiple serious themes and a diverse cast of characters into an inspired tale about love and personal growth that will challenge the direction of the genre for years to come.
Fans of Ms. Gist’s previous works, particularly the World’s Fair series, will definitely want to add Tiffany Girl to their must-read list. Additionally, those with an interest in historical art and stained glass will also find themselves fascinated by many aspects of the novel. For readers who greatly appreciate the illustrated pages found in the Ms. Gist’s World’s Fair series, I would highly recommend purchasing or reading a paper copy of Tiffany Girl and her other novels. In utilizing an e-book copy of the novel on a standard Kindle, I found these images and the affiliated text to be quite small for standard reading. However, with such an excellent novel, I found that to be an exceptionally minor critique. :)
Special thanks to NetGalley and Howard Books for the advanced copy of Tiffany Girl!