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3.36  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  48 reviews
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
Paperback, 512 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Kensington
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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  159 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for this read!

This was really a tedious novel for me. I'd say I enjoyed about 1/6 of the book, but kept going because at each point I was about to set it aside, something would happen to spark my interest. Then, just as quickly, that spark was extinguished by a pail of disappointment. I enjoy the setting of this novel very much and even liked the characters well enough. I found the plot to be so lacking though and the language so inconsistent that it felt like a
Annemarie Macken
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fantastically engaging book with everything you need for a really good read, probably best summed up as the American Downton Abbey meets Jane Austen. It starts a little slowly, but when it gets going, it really is difficult to put down.
The plot and the various subplots are fascinating, with so many twists and turns, it never stops weaving a new thread. You constantly feel that the story will be coming to an end, but then there is more... and more... and more.
The characters are well-developed,
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
After the first few pages, I was thinking about putting this one bag in the bag for the library. But I had heard it was good, so I read on. I sensed something about the main character. One of the things I love to read about are women who look at their current society and see if as not enough. Back in 1888, I am sure quite a few women say it this way. At least in the US, by this time a wealthy woman had the right to hold onto her own wealth rather than basically leave it to the menfolk so they di ...more
Jan 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Yet another historical fiction in which the characters act like entirely modern people and not a person who lived in the states time period. For example, for a book about the rules of decorum, there is very clearly zero of the morality behind it. And morality was very important to the Victorian society. Also, aside from the chapter headings, there was virtually no decorum exercised by the characters. I begin to despair of finding a properly written historical fiction novel.

I will also add that
I'm biased--I know and like the author.

As the coordinator for adult events at my library, I had Kaaren (pronounced KARN) give an author talk and book signing plus lead a book discussion of her novel. Kaaren is a native of my town and offered to do these events at her hometown library. How could I refuse? So I listened to her book and was quite glad it was as good as it is!

This is in the vein of Edith Wharton and other novels of the Gilded Age of New York, as the blurbs contend.

I found it fascina
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bluh
I didn't connect with these characters at all and the Victorians were more God fearing than this cast of people. At a few points I was going to give up. But my friend begged me continue for a "Fabulous ending". Nope. Greatly disappointed. Drull.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Three and a half stars. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
Jeanne Beaudet
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Average historical fiction, very predictable.
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elspeth G. Perkin
A debut of matters for better or for worse in 19th-century New York society

Decorum is an evocative portrait of late 19th-century New York City society, complete with all the glitz, privilege and of course the delicate balance of etiquette that one would expect of a novel set in this marvelous setting. With only a few pages this novel sweeps the reader into the alluring world of golden society circles of Old New York in the 1890’s and introduces us to a set of characters that range from those bor
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Story that tells about how you were supposed to conduct yourself but how it was on the seamy underside of high society. Loved it.
Haley Keller
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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 t ...more
Megan Joice
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
New York society positively glitters. But behind that gloss is a wealth of empty pockets and ruthless characters.

I really wanted to like this book. But the slow pacing of the story had me struggling to slog through the story. I also found the order of the story to be very odd, with what seemed the pivotal moment occurring a bit to soon to make sense. As well, I really wasn't drawn to the main heroine. She had no 'edge' to her, which made it hard to identify with her as she just really didn't see
Kayla D
A free digital copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Decorum follows wealthy New York socialite, Francesca Lund, and new money Irish immigrant, Connor O’Casey as they navigate the difficult waters of late 19th century society. Against this backdrop, a relationship between Francesca and Connor blooms but this is compromised by their different circumstances and society’s high expectations.

From the get-go, Decorum reminded me of Edith Wharton
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The scene is New York, 1890, and the glitz and glamor of the time and setting, are the backdrop for this novel about Frankie, who is a young heiress, who tragically finds herself alone in the world. Frankie is a complex woman who thinks she knows what she wants and who she wants, but circumstances end up making her access what she really knows, and she can really trust.

Within a few chapters, this novel captivates the reader into the alluring world of golden society circles of Old New York in th
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Decorum is a beautifully written book of love, revenge and acceptance. Kaaren Christopherson has given us a story that is not easily forgotten and want to keep reading. Her characters were engaging and interesting. Her representation of high society was right on the mark. The obvious hypocrisy blazed through the book.

At the central of Decorum is Francesca Lund. In the beginning, she is completely broken for a family disaster. She tries to climb out of her black hole of depression and despair. Th
Karen Christopherson is a new author to me, this always excites me. Taking place in the 1890's it is a time period that I recently started to enjoy, reading of social classes and the struggles women had to face.

Decorum starts with a bang (literally). Francesca does not conform to the wishes of others but takes control of her own life. It's the late 1800's when women were still governed by fathers and husbands. I liked the way she was portrayed here, she is strong and determined though venerable
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I like to read period novels and this one is definitely a period (1890s) book. One thing that I really liked about this book were the rules of etiquette quotes in the beginning of each chapter. Of course a lot of them were quite outdated and a little funny sounding now but there were a few that could still be applied today. The plot in my opinion almost has two main characters, Francesca and Connor since a lot is mentioned about both. However the book beg ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
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 c
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't know why I love the 1800's so much, but I do. There's also something so stifling about that time period as well. Way too many rules for me. Particularly if you're a woman. In Decorum, the characters of the novel are under the thumb of society. Some are trying to find their way. Others are trying to make it the best they can in the circumstances they are dealt.

Francesca is an heiress with an independent spirit; Conner is a wealthy up and coming hotel tycoon; Edmund is a handsome, charmin
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Thank you NetGalley and Kaaren Christopherson for the opportunity to read and review this novel. I always like to give credit to an author, taking an idea and creating a piece of art is a spectacular accomplishment.

Some books are loved, some not so much. Decorum was a long difficult novel for me to read. I had a tough time following the story. This in itself is not a bad thing, so much happens during this novel. The characters were well developed, especially Connor, and I truly enjoyed Francesc
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
New York, 1890, and the glitz and glamor of the time and setting, are the backdrop for this novel about a young heiress who suddenly finds herself alone in the world. I loved how each chapter began with a rule of etiquette based upon the societal norms of the time. The story gave me a glimpse of what it would have been like to live among the wealthiest and most prominent citizens. Of course, all is not perfect, for the heroine must maneuver her way through treachery, greed, and scandal to find w ...more
Cathy Geha
Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Decorum is a long complex novel set in early 1890’s New York that literally begins with a bang. That explosion leaves Francesca wealthy but on her own. A woman living in that time period was considered unable to take care of herself and how Francesca manages to eventually take control of her finances, her property, and her life within the rules and guidelines of society is the underlying theme of the book. The descriptions of clothing, décor, etiquette, transportation and personal interactions a ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, historical
This novel is a wonderful romp through Belle Epoch New York City with its emerging social set of old guard families and a sprinkling of Robber Barons.

Christopherson provides the reader with a fully-realized world of brazen and aspiring women, ambitious men and strict expectations regarding how to conduct one's private and/or social life. The characters are so beautifully drawn that I felt like I could start casting the mini-series the minute I put the book down. And, this book would make a wonde
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting and very long novel. I did enjoy most of it. The protagonist, Francesca Lund, was a little weird to me...mainly because I have no idea what good she saw in her boyfriend of five years, Edmund Tracey. He didn't ever seem to treat her kindly or have any redeeming qualities in the chapters where they interact. I also thought it was ridiculous, even for the time frame being written about, that Francesca had never spoken to Edmund about much of his life at all, present or past. The little ...more
A Holland Reads
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Although this book started out a little slow for me I did enjoy reading it. There were many twists and turns that it kept me reading so I could get just a little more of the story. I thought the author did a good job on developing the characters. I enjoy this time period and liked how the author gave me a glimpse into another part of this era and the lifestyle of the glamourous. One thing the author did that was neat was to put a rule of etiquette at the beginning of each chapter. I liked France ...more
Sarah Wagner
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reminiscent of Edith Wharton novels, this novel captures the spirit of high society in the 1890s New York. Filled with wealthy heiresses, fortune hunters, fallen women, and newly made millionaires, this novel chronicles the trials of Francesca Lund, an orphan and an heiress, as her engagement to Edmund Tracey begins to falter as new revelations emerge about her fiance. Definitely fun reading, with a few character transformations (especially with Blanche Wilson) that were unexpected and certainly ...more
Polly Krize
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The setting of 1890s New York offers a look at the scandalous glitz of this time period in America. As a privileged heiress, Francesca Lund is expected by society to find a husband. Settling on Edmund Tracy seems to fit the bill, but falling for Connor O'Casey changes her life. I found the main character to be a little vapid and unsympathetic, but on the whole this book is a fine one.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really like historical fiction. The links to a "decorum" guideline were wonderful. The way things change, yet stay the same is great. I really liked the power the women in the story were given and took. Other than the dress and manners of the time, this story would have taken place today. Great read. Have already recommended to others.
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-reads
Enjoyable book overall, although some parts did not ring true to me. Fairly easy read, and the characters were engaging. Unfortunately I'd have to say it wasn't terribly memorable as I'm having a hard time remembering a lot about the details and I only finished it about a week and a half ago, hence the slim review.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Kaaren Christopherson is the author of Decorum—a novel about Gilded Age New York—that began taking form in 1999 during a course on writing historical fiction. From that moment, Connor O’Casey (who had been rattling around in her brain for months) finally appeared one night and said, “All right, woman. Here I am. What are you going to do about my story?” So she began to put his words on paper, and ...more
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