Zebra, Feb 2002, 5.99, 352 pp.
In 1887, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody hires Rose Ellen Gilhooey as a trick rider in his Wild West show. Though not as famous as her pal Annie Oakley, six years later Rose still performs at Mr. Cody's show as The Wild West troupe works the Colombian Exposition of the Chicago World's Fair. Covering the World's Fair to include Buffalo Bill's Wild West show are local reporters Horatio Lambert “H.L.” May and Sam Trimble.
The two journalists look forward to seeing the two female stars of Buffalo Bill's extravaganta. After meeting Annie and Rose, H.L. decides to do a story on the less famous woman who rides as well as any Indian. As he follows her for his story, Rose and H.L. fall in love. He rejects his feelings so that the chances of sharing what Frank Butler and Annie have seem remote.
The first tale in Alice Duncan's “Meet Me at the Fair”, COMING UP ROSES, is a wonderful Americana romance that though placed in a different city echoes the delight of the movie Meet Me In St. Louis. The perspicacious story line is fun enabling the audience to acquire an impression of the American Gay Nineties while also providing a warm romance. Rose is an engaging character refusing to bury her country roots, but it is H.L. who steals the show by fleeing his small town Twain-like heritage for a Windy City persona. Ms. Duncan provides a delightful historical romance that will provide this rising star with a horde of new admirers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner