Kirkus Discoveries has published the following review:
A compelling tale of the Chicago World’s Fair, complete with history, mystery and a likable heroine.
Against the backdrop of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, McNamara deftly weaves themes of Southern honor, Northern political graft, post-Civil War abolitionist concerns, nascent women’s suffrage and tangled familial relationships. Emily Cabot, a graduate student of solciology at the University of Chicago, and her Boston-based family visit the Fair accompanied by her professor, Dr. Chapman. A chance meeting with Emily’s classmate Clara, and her family and friends from Kentucky, reveals Dr. Chapman’s past romantic involvement with a Mrs. Larrimer, now the wife of a powerful Southern cotton dealer. When Mr. Larrimer is killed, all evidence points to Dr. Chapman–or does it? Emily’s conviction in his innocence leads to detective work ranging from high tea in frills to finagling audiences with members of the powerful Chicago political machine and finally to donning boy’s clothing and spying on a covert gambling session on the Midway. In addition to solid pacing and engaging storytelling, teh polot incorporates historical figures like Frederick Douglass, Mayor Carter Harrison and Eugene Prendergast, nicely balancing historical exposition with narrative drive. Racial relations under Reconstruction come alive as Emily discovers the secret in Larrimer’s past and requests the help of Ida B. Wells and her editor husband F.L. Barnett. Emily’s own precarious position as a female graduate student involved in a scandal results in an examination of social mores and gender double standards…With and eye to her readership, McNamara includes a historical epilogue, bibliography and reding group discussion questions, as well as the first ten pages of the next Emily Cabot book DEATH AT HULL HOUSE
An energetic story of politics, racism and murder set against the whilr of the White City