Fair Play by Deanne Gist
Publication Date: May 2014
ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Howard Books
“Her mother had spent every last minute cooking for Papa cleaning for Papa, looking nice for Papa, producing babies for Papa. The measuring stick she used to judge herself was based on how pleased or displeased Papa was with her, their home, and her ability to raise their children properly. The very thought of being measured by that same stick horrified Billy.”
The quote above helps explain why Billy Jack Tate, a spunky young female doctor named after her two grandfathers, works hard to promote equality for women during the early 1890’s. Billy struggled to put herself through medical school and graduated cum laude. Sent to work guard duty at the Fair, Hunter Scott is a tall, good looking man with a reputation for being one of the best of the best of the Texas Rangers. He takes being a Ranger very serious. These two totally opposite personalities find common ground when Hunter finds an abandoned baby at the Fair.
Thus begins the love story between Hunter and Billy. The story is so much more than just a romance. The novel’s themes deal with women’s rights and their place in society, children’s rights, and immigrant’s rights as well as many other controversial subjects of the time. The book contains a great deal of very interesting historical data dealing with not only the fair, but the city of Chicago as well.
The characters grow and evolve throughout the book, finding strength in each other and their opposing viewpoints. They present a good character study in relationships as they figure out how to put aside their differences and focus on what is really important in their lives and future.
I have read a few of Deanne Gist’s other books and always enjoyed them. This novel is no exception. It is a great read for historical fans interested in the city of Chicago. In spite of the name and the setting being the World’s Fair, the fair actually plays a minor role in the novel. The themes of prejudice, rights, and compromise play predominant roles. The book is a nice clean read, but does not fall under the category of Christian fiction. Very entertaining read!
4 out of 5
This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.