20 November 2015

Review: A Fair to Remember by Suzie Johnson

Excellent Historical Suspense!

Amazon Description

Clara Lambert attended the Pan-American Exposition as a Kodak girl, never dreaming that she would end up photographing the attempted assassination of President McKinley.

James Brinton, a disgraced police officer now working security at the Expo, wants only to redeem his good name…and perhaps earn a new position with the president’s security.

When Clara is accused of being involved in the assassination attempt, James has to put aside his own ambitions to try to prove the innocence of the young woman who has captured his heart as surely as her camera captures the world before its lens.

But in the face of investigations, arrests, and mounting danger, they must do the hardest thing that could be asked: forgive.

My Review

At first I thought A Fair to Remember was going to be about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, but it was actually about the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Clara, our heroine, was a Kodak Girl recruited by Mr Eastman to take snapshots of visitors to the fair. Eastman apparently hired young women to show people how easy it was to use a Kodak cameras—so easy, even a woman could use it (yes, more than a little sexist in hindsight, but an accurate reflection of attitudes towards women in the 20th century).

A Fair to Remember starts with the shooting of President McKinley. I’m not American, so I didn't know whether McKinley would live or die, and this added suspense for me (but I hope all Americans know the answer!). Clara is present, and takes several photos before and after the shooting, and the police want to take the camera and the film into evidence. Unfortunately, it appears not only the police think Clara might have captured something important on film, as Clara soon finds herself and her camera targeted by unknown assailants. Fortunately, police officer James Brinton is there to protect her.

I think the romance moved a little too fast. The whole story took place over only a few days, and it seemed a little unlikely that James and Clara would declare their undying love for each other in such a short space of time, and there were times when I got frustrated with James for hiding things that need not have been hidden. These small deficiencies were more than made up for by the strength of the suspense plot, which was a full-on chase, more reminiscent of a James Bond movie than historical fiction, and made even more fast-paced and suspenseful by the fact someone seems to know James and Clara’s every move, and be one step ahead . . .

The writing was excellent, the cover is beautiful, and I look forward to whatever Suzie Johnson writes next! Recommended.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

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