Fair Play (It Happened at the Fair #2)

Fair Play - Deeanne Gist

I expected to like this book a lot more than I did. This novel elaborates on the story between Dr. Billy Jack Tate and Columbian Guard Hunter Scott, who we first met in the novella Tempest in the White City. I really enjoyed the novella, but unfortunately, it seems their story would have been better off if it had just been left at the events of the novella.

The characters were a bit like I had remembered them from the novella, but they were also much changed as well. They were both rather arrogant, and for some reason, they not only thought their respective sex was superior to the other, but thought themselves superior to most people. They did compromise a bit, however circumstances kind of didn't give them much choice in that regard. Everything wrapped up rather too conveniently as well.

The story was interesting for the most part, however I did have to force myself through several slow parts. I thought some of the events, while interesting, were kind of randomly included. I felt like the author just threw things together because she wanted a particular scene or line in a particular place, but the sequence of events or the thought process of the characters didn't always seem logical or realistic. I enjoyed most of the historical information in the novel, although some of it seemed rather forced into the plot unnaturally just for shock value. I was appalled to read the historical note at the back of the book and find how much information the author had altered or rearranged for her own purposes. It made me feel like I wasn't getting a true look at the Fair.  However, I did like that the couple from the previous book made a very brief appearance in this book!

There was also a good bit of a fixation on sex in this book, which was a departure from most Christian fiction I've read. The way that it was written and the way the characters thought about and talked about sex was what I found slightly annoying. I don't know how to explain why, because it wasn't explicit, there was just a certain ick factor about it. It just seemed that sexual thoughts or comments would be peppered in randomly. They didn't flow with the narrative at all. There was also way WAY too much fixation on Billy's underwear. Paragraphs going on and on about it throughout the whole book. I get that it was new and modern, for the time, but we didn't need to know that much detail about it! I also had a really hard time believing characters would be talking and acting the way these two did, especially in public, in the 1890s. It just didn't gel for me in the long run.

This is one of those series where it is worth reading once, but not worth the effort of re-reading at a later time.