by Kyle Taylor
Meet Benjamin Wyatt, a handsome young architect helping create the magnificent 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. While immersed in work at the famous architectural firm of Burnham and Root, Benjamin’s pugnacious, social climbing father, Walter Wyatt, pushes him to marry the stunningly beautiful debutante, Evelyn Van Buren—thus securing the family’s position in Chicago society. Yet, when Benjamin meets the cocky young electrical engineer, Spencer Bowles, who is also working on the fair, his world and its ambitions are forever shattered.
Set amidst the opulent splendor of Chicago in the late Victorian Age, Benjamin Wyatt must confront the perils of accepting his own true love and risk destroying everything he worked so hard to achieve. Meticulously researched and filled with lush images of the Gilded Age, Exposition, tells the epic story of a love that dare not speak its name…
“Where is Evelyn?” Genevieve Wyatt looked about.
At that instant, Evelyn descended the grand staircase, wearing a sumptuous, pink silk gown accentuating her full bosom and tiny waist. A diamond choker adorned her neck and matched her teardrop, diamond earrings. Her auburn hair was now upswept like the other ladies in the room, an indication she was no longer a girl, but a woman, an eligible one at that.
Benjamin watched the heavenly, young creature glide down the staircase, like a cherry blossom softy floating to the ground from a springtime tree. The closer she moved towards the party, the lovelier she appeared. He marveled at the perfection before him: her figure, her hair, the construction of her face, lips, cheeks, nose, and brilliant blue eyes.
“Good evening,” Evelyn said.
“Evelyn,” Benjamin stepped forward, “you are looking lovelier than ever.” He kissed her gloved hand.
“Why, thank you, Benjamin,” she replied. “I see time has been good to you as well.”
Jamison also took in the ravenous beauty Evelyn Van Buren had become. It was impossible to advert his eyes from her.
Winston reentered the grand foyer and announced, “Dinner is served.” His footmen slid back ornately carved, pocket doors revealing a grand gallery hung with oil paintings in golden frames of long lost scions of Van Buren heritage. To the other end of the gallery, another set of carved pocket doors were opened revealing a sumptuous dining room with a table brilliantly set.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kyle Taylor is the author of both Exposition and Billion Dollar Dreamer. The Kyle Taylor character debuted in Billion Dollar Dreamer as a journalist who was assigned to write a story about high school history teacher cum overnight billionaire John Driskil. Kyle has begun his next book, tentatively titled Wildflower. He resides in New York -- and of course he is a work of fiction!
Author Web Page: www.billiondollardreamer.com
Hey Chris – I love your blog! Thanks for letting me share Exposition with your readers!
Exposition came to me in a kind of round about sort of way. A few years ago, I was hanging out with a former apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright’s. The apprentice is very well known in the architectural world, but as a journalist, I would prefer not to name him here. We were sitting out at Taliesin West talking about Wright and different aspects of living and working with Wright as an apprentice. He began to reveal to me the gay culture of the apprentice life, in a gentlemanly sort of way. It got us off on talking about the gay culture within architecture historically. It was really quite fascinating talking with him because he pulled back a curtain on a world, which for so long wasn’t discussed.
After that, I was writing my first book, Billion Dollar Dreamer, and I wanted to incorporate bits and pieces of different world’s fairs. I came back to The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 in my research, which was an interest of mine many years ago. I again was struck not just by the sheer enormity of the project, but also the characters – the first ‘starchitects’ if you will – who were involved in the project.
These were brash, bombastic personalities, some of who had some pretty scandalous private lives. Stanford White, and his appetite for indulging nubile showgirls on the velvet swing affixed to the rafters of his private apartment over the old Madison Square Garden for one. Louis Sullivan and his rumored homosexuality would be another. Frank Lloyd Wright and his very public affair – ditching his wife and kids and running off to Europe with the wife of a friend and client were all reference points for sure.
So the research got me to wondering about gay life in the Gilded Age of the late 1890’s in this world of architects. What was it like? How did they live? What were the pressures of leading these double lives? What sorts of deceptions – public and personal, must they have gone through in that era?
The final ingredients started to fall into place. I had this incredible desire to write an opulent gay novel in the vein of Edith Wharton’s epic, The Age of Innocence. I wanted to go back into this era of unbridled ambitions and wealth and explore what might a gay relationship have been like in that moment – as the fabulous World’s Columbian Exposition is being raised up from the muck along the shores of Lake Michigan? Exposition is very cinematic – incredible lush images of decadence and flamboyance contrasted with the gritty, clandestine realities of gay life.
If you want to know more about Kyle Taylor novels, feel free to check out: www.billiondollardreamer.com. Thanks! Kyle
Kyle will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and as a special prize, Kyle's previous book, Billion Dollar Dreamer , will be given away free on Amazon the last day of the tour.
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