Wednesday, September 2, 2015

HFVBT Review: Decorum by Kaaren Christopherson

Title: Decorum
Author: Kaaren Christopherson
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publish Date: March 31, 2015
Source: HFVBT

What's the Story?:

From "In 1890s New York, beautiful, wealthy Francesca Lund is an intriguing prospect for worthy suitors and fortune hunters alike. Recently orphaned, she copes by working with the poor in the city's settlement movement. But a young woman of means can't shun society for long, and Francesca's long-standing acquaintance with dashing Edmund Tracey eventually leads to engagement. Yet her sheltered upbringing doesn't blind her to the indiscretions of the well-to-do...

Among the fashionable circle that gathers around her there are mistresses, scandals, and gentlemen of ruthless ambition. And there is Connor O'Casey--an entirely new kind of New Yorker. A self-made millionaire of Irish stock, Connor wants more than riches. He wants to create a legacy in the form of a luxury Madison Avenue hotel--and he wants Francesca by his side as he does it. In a quest that will take her from impeccable Manhattan salons to the wild Canadian Rockies, Francesca must choose not only between two vastly different men, but between convention and her own emerging self-reliance."

My Two Cents: 

In "Decorum," Francesca is suddenly orphaned as a young adult and this leaves her with a whole bunch of money. Since it's the late 1800s, as a woman she is not seen as being able to take care of herself and mind her money so she has a couple suitors vying for her hand in marriage but not for necessarily altruistic reasons.

I was interested in reading this book because I haven't read a whole lot set in the late 1800s and New York City is always an interesting setting to me, particularly when it comes to historical fiction. This novel is intricate and complex and standing at about 420 pages, it's quite long as well. Long books are fine but I did find myself wishing that some parts of this book had been slimmed down a little bit in order to keep the story moving as it seemed to bogged down in detail a little bit.

As I mentioned, women during this time did not have a whole lot of power and a lot of the underlying story revolves around Francesca simply having to bow to society and the unspoken rules that society of the time demanded. Each book or each chapter is introduced with a section of a book entitled "Decorum" which tells how those and high society are supposed to act during that time. It was very eye-opening to me! I also must mention that I had a hard time warming up to either of the love interests in the book as their motives didn't always seem to stand up for me.

Overall, I thought this was a interesting take on what it was like to be a woman at the time.  


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