DECORUM by Kaaren Christopherson

decorumPUBLISHER: Kensington, 3/2015
GENRE: Historical Fiction
SETTING: America/New York, 1890-91

FROM PUBLISHER: 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.


Francesca is pretty ordinary. Of the three main females, Fran, Nell, and Blanche, she was my least favorite. She's twenty-eight, blonde, and lives with a slightly older married couple in New York. She's still grieving the loss of her parents and brother, who died in a boating accident.

Edmund Tracey is an auburn-haired, blue-eyed man in his early thirties who's been after Fran's money for five years. They plan to marry. He's a very violent man and his dark secrets come out.

Nell Ryder is a married woman in her early thirties who he's having an affair with. She supports him financially. Unfortunately she gets to see firsthand his violent temper, as does Francesca.

Blanche Alvarado is a black-haired, brown-eyed widow. Not only does she have a sexual relationship with Edmund, but she has one with Connor O'Casey as well.

Connor O'Casey is an Irish immigrant in his early forties who's made his fortune in mining. He takes a liking to Francesca and peruses her.


Those are the five main characters. I like bad, evil characters who are up to no good so I really liked Edmund, Nell, and Blanche too, to an extent. I think the Edmund/Nell storyline could have gone on much longer than it did, possibly till the very end of the story. It was the most interesting part of the entire novel but it ended too abruptly for my liking.

Francesca was terribly dull to read about and I didn't care much at all about Connor. I don't see where his attraction to Francesca came from nor do I understand why he wants to marry her so badly and laid out all the reasons she should marry him. I never felt she was attracted to him. They're an odd paring, in my opinion.

Once things with Edmund came to an end two-thirds into the story, I'm sad to say I lost interest. I didn't like anything at all about the last third of the story. Francesca and a few others traveling to Canada near the end did nothing at all for the story. Bringing Blanche back during that time was just strange and her occupation just didn't seem plausible.

There wasn't any sex or bad language in this.

There was hardly any background info on anyone at all and that's just not acceptable. On the author's website you can see the characters and learn about their backgrounds by reading the fictional The O'Casey Chronicle. Very cool idea!

Now for the aesthetics- The book cover is slightly textured and very pretty. You can read about the cover's painting here. The pages of this paperback have uneven edges, which I've just learned are called 'deckled edges' and are meant to make the book look old, as deckled edges were how most books were in the 19th century. I don't like how they look and it was very difficult to turn each page by thumb.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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