New York City in 1892 is a place of hustle, bustle, and change. Women are beginning to strike out into the workforce, facing tough times and prejudice from men who expect them to stay in the kitchen. Flossie Jayne is one independent, strong character who believes in herself and what she can do. At her design school, Flossie gains the opportunity to work for the esteemed jewelry empire, Tiffany. Louis Tiffany is entering a stained glass mosaic chapel in the Chicago’s World Fair and, with Union men on strike, Tiffany turns to women to complete the monumental task. Flossie takes on a man’s job, moves into a boarding house, and deems herself a “New Woman.” Although naïve at first, reality teaches her many lessons about life, love, and trust.
I appreciated Gist’s ability to teach faith through Flossie’s many stumbles, yet all the while keeping the story lively. Flossie is a flawed character, but sweet and loving. The members of the boarding house also liven up the story, as do the real-life characters of Tiffany and Clara Driscoll.
While this is a delightful tale of love, faith, and finding one’s way, it is a bit long-winded. Nearly 500 pages of intricate detail and historical accounts, while intriguing, are also a bit daunting. The tone was also more serious than some of her earlier works. I missed the light-hearted tone in stories like Deep in the Heart of Trouble; there weren’t nearly as many laughs as I would have liked. Overall, however, this is a sweet story, and I continue to appreciate Gist’s storytelling mastery. Recommended.