Zebra, May 2002, 352 pp.
In 1893 Georgia Peach Rowena Belle Monroe realizes how poor her upper crust family has become. Having no choice, Rowena Belle becomes the first Monroe to leave Georgia except for those who fought for the South a few decades ago in the Civil War. She accepts employment as a nanny in New York City. When her employer George Richmond takes his wife and two children, to the Chicago World's Fair, Rowena accompanies them as befitting her job to care for the kids.
At the Fair, photographer Win Asher notices the beautiful Belle and tries to convince her to pose for his photographs, but she refuses feeling this is indecent behavior. As Belle and Win see one another while attending the Fair, they fall in love, but she feels he is the “paragon” of everything she believes is wrong with Yankees.
Alice Duncan's second Chicago Fair tale is an exciting historical romance that readers will enjoy as fans obtain a taste of a bygone era. The period is so well described that the audience will be surprised by Belle's authentic “puritanical” attitude towards items that we take for granted as normal. The characters are warm and amusing, but as with the previous novel, COMING UP ROSES, the history is as important if not more so than the romance, not that the latter is shortchanged, but the former is so picturesque.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner