Published: March 31st, 2015
Read from November 12th to 26th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kaaren Christopherson's brilliantly observed novel captures the glamour and grit of one of the world's most dazzling cities during one of its most tumultuous eras--as seen through the eyes of a singularly captivating heroine...
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.
I was really torn over how I felt about this book. I still am a bit to be honest. There were parts of it I really liked, but there were also parts of it that I strongly disliked. While it feels like there were more parts of it that I disliked than liked, that could also just be because I'm remembering the negatives more than the positives. Either way, I didn't enjoy this book that much. I would start to finally get into it again, and then something would happen that either made me annoyed with the book (not in a good way) or it just got boring and difficult to pay attention to.
There were many times where the story felt long winded to me, and I think the story would have benefited from trimming out some bits that felt unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. I think the book tries to follow a lot of people at once too, and some of the stories seem to fall off as loose ends. I think some of those stories would have been better off having had a lesser focus in the beginning.
The books is, overall, I think, supposed to be an historical romance, but it didn't feel much like a romance to me. If I was to peg it as anything, it was historical fiction that felt like a slice of the life of the characters. There wasn't anything overtly romantic. I despised Tracey from the moment he was on the page, and there was certainly nothing about his and Francesca's relationship that could be determined as romantic.
I didn't like Connor much either truthfully, but setting that aside, his "romance" with Francesca felt very abrupt and out of nowhere. It really doesn't come in until close to the end of the book really, and I'm still not sure if I was supposed to find it romantic or not. I think they could have a nice marriage. There was nothing horribly wrong with their relationship as a relationship. It just didn't feel like I was reading a romance. They were far too practical and logical for that. Neither of those things are unable to be in a typical romance novel relationship, but there didn't seem to be much romance between Connor and Francesca either.
That isn't something I would count against the book. I enjoy reading stories that aren't romances after all. It just left me a bit unsure about what I was reading. What made me dislike the book was all the parts where I got bored with the story and began zoning out. That happened far more than it should have.
It was still a nice book. I enjoyed some of it at least, but I can't say it's a book that I would recommend.
I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for a review.