recklessPUBLISHING INFO: Mira, 12/2001
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1819
TIMESPAN: about 4-5 months

FROM PUBLISHER: Celia St. Remy Sinclair has harbored a dark obsession since the tender age of twelve: to bring about the downfall of Lord Northington, the man responsible for her mother’s death. Now an elegant and self-possessed beauty of twenty-two, she leaves America for London, determined to avenge the act of violence that shattered her life.

Celia is stunned when she comes face-to-face with her nemesis — for this rakishly charming gentleman called Colter is not what she expected. When she discovers he is the new Lord Northington, son of the man she’s vowed to destroy, she embarks upon a daring plot to take revenge on the father through the son. But even the best-laid plans can be thwarted by the powerful forces of the human heart…

MY THOUGHTS: This reminded me a lot of an older historical romance for a few reasons. Celia hated Colter because of what his father did to her mother. Colter knew nothing about his father’s past sins and didn’t know or care why she was so hostel towards him. She was kidnapped towards the end by the villain, which happens a whole lot in older historicals. For a lot of the book Celia hated Colter but he wasn’t deterred by it and he never let it stop him from trying to bed her. So there was a love/hate relationship between them for awhile, which is very common amongst older historicals. There was a nine year age gap between them and I liked that too. I hate when the hero is just a couple of years older than the heroine, which is very common with newer romances.

I liked Celia. She’s a green-eyed blond. She’s a bit of a spitfire when it comes to Colter and I really like heroines to be like that. I rarely find one like that in newer historicals, which is a shame. She was born in Virginia to a French-born mother and was living in Georgetown, D.C. when she left for England to get revenge on Colter’s father, who is a rapist and murderer. She stayed with her aunt Jacqueline, who is also her Godmother.

I liked Colter a whole lot too. He’s thirty-one, has dark hair and blue eyes though the stepback (the page directly behind the front cover of a book showing hero and heroine) has him with blond hair. His dialogue towards her when she’s being bitchy to him made me smile constantly.  Unfortunately there wasn’t any background information given on him.

There was also some drama involving something Celia unknowingly had in her possession, stuffed inside a directory that a ship passenger, James Carlisle, let her borrow, that she was unaware people were after. I got confused along the way with that whole mess. It’s still unclear to me about what happened with the item and who has it now.

I enjoyed the friction between Celia and Colter and I did feel their attraction for each other. They make a good pair.

THE HILLSIDE STRANGLER by Robin Moore and Neville Romain

thehillsidePUBLISHING INFO: Condor, 1978
GENRE: Fiction/Serial Killers
SETTING: California, USA

FROM PUBLISHER: Driven by animal desire, a psychotic killer springs from the mist-shrouded California hills, ravishing and murdering to sate his perverse sexual lusts. A hard worldly call girl… a fragile, beautiful, vulnerable, young musician – In the harsh light of morning the police found they had one thing in common… Their Last Terrifying Moments On Earth Were Spent With The… HILLSIDE STRANGLER.



MY THOUGHTS: This book is incredibly hard to find and wasn’t worth what I spent on it. I was so let down. The title and story was probably inspired by California’s real life Hillside Stranglers, active from 1977-early 1978. That’s why I was interested in this.

Though the book is relatively short, 240 pages, we got a tiny bit of background on the murderer and four female victims. Two of the girls were young call girls. There were a few more victims but no background info on them.  Early on we learned who the killer was. I didn’t want to know until the end. Most of the suspense was taken away by knowing too early. I guess the authors’ wanted us to know so that they could let us in on his background, childhood, home life and such so maybe we could understand him a bit. Like most serial killers, this one was physically abused and there was a bit of sexual abuse at the hands of his father. He was also frustrated at having erectile dysfunction for almost a year and was also having problems at work. The act of strangling the victims’ caused him to get an erection.

Aside from the murders, this book was boring as hell. I think the majority took place at Andy’s job. He’s some sort of manager for a real estate development firm. His age wasn’t given but I’m sure he was in his mid to late thirties. His co-worker, Sam, was annoying and took up many pages.

I don’t understand why two American authors use the slang word ‘bloody’, say ’round’ instead of ‘around’, and say ‘spelt’ instead of ‘spelled’. I didn’t like that at all.

There weren’t any interesting characters in the entire novel, including the killer. The only good thing about this book is its cover. They don’t make ’em like that anymore!



SERIES: House of Pleasure, #8
GENRE: Historical Erotic Romance
SETTING: England, 1826

FROM PUBLISHER: Lucinda Haymore is still reeling from the cruel betrayal of a vile seducer. Softly, irresistibly, his profession of love disguised his truer, baser intentions. With the knowledge that her reputation is at stake, she is happy to accept a proposal of marriage in name only from her best friend since childhood…

While Paul St. Clare has no interest in consummating his marriage with Lucinda, he has every intention of allowing her to enjoy true physical ecstasy in the hands of another. It’s no surprise that he finds an agent more than willing to accommodate his needs in the House of Pleasure. What he doesn’t expect is how perfectly the arrangement satisfies everyone’s desires…

MY THOUGHTS: Another bad novel with little to no background information on lead characters. I don’t know anything at all about Lucinda’s (aka Lucky) background/childhood, or how long she’s been good friends with Paul. I don’t even know how old Paul is. I was assuming he was around her age but since he fought in a ‘long, bloody war’, I’m guessing he’s a bit older than her twenty-one.

Something bad happened to Lucky so she was eager to marry Paul. She claimed she’s always loved him but I never felt any love between those two or for the love she and Con claim to feel for each other. I did feel love between Paul and ex-lover Constantine (aka Con) Delinsky and was sad that they couldn’t be together in the traditional sense. They say they’re still in love with each other.

Con is from Russia, and is thirty-four, tall, and has white hair and silver eyes. I wanted to know how long Con and Paul have known each other but never got any information on it.

Paul, well, all I know about him is that he’s blond and brown-eyed, has a slight frame, and was in the army. That’s it.

Lucky puzzles me. She knows Paul loves Con so she wants them to continue to see each other. She thinks Paul ‘gave up everything’ to be with her but what, exactly, has he given up besides lovers? If anything he’s gaining her fortune. She also wants to make Paul jealous so she flirts with Con. She thinks that Paul’s jealousy will make him want to take Con back as a lover. What?! That makes no sense at all. I don’t find her encouragement of Paul and Con’s relationship to be the slightest bit believable. Not at the beginning of their marriage, anyway. I can see her, at a much later date, wanting them to resume their sexual relationship and include her in it, but not at the beginning. I don’t even know if she knew Paul was bisexual and leaned more towards men.

Towards the end of the story there was a whole lot of uninteresting drama involving Con and whether or not his wife was still alive. I really didn’t care a thing about it.

There are ten sex scenes in the book. Four are just between Con and Paul, five are between Lucky and Paul, and one is a threesome between Paul, Lucky, and Con. All are very graphic so two thumbs up to them. Two thumbs down to the storyline.

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


shamelessPUBLISHING INFO: Aphrodisia, 2009
GENRE: Historical Erotic Romance
SETTING: England, 1819
SERIES: House of Pleasure, #3

FROM PUBLISHER: One forbidden weekend years ago, Helene Delornay found herself stranded with a total stranger. Bold, virile, and well-schooled in the erotic arts, Philip Ross opened Helene’s eyes to a world of sexual delight she never knew existed. Now proprietress of London’s most exclusive house of pleasure, Helene never forgot the carnal bliss she shared with Philip—and she never found another man who could satisfy the insatiable cravings he awakened within her…

When Philip suddenly returns to Helene’s life, the physical attraction they share is far too strong for either to deny. Now as they explore their fantasies and take them beyond the limit, Helene discovers that her feelings for Philip run far deeper than that of just a lover…

MY THOUGHTS: This was awful. Nothing at all made sense to me. Helene is French and blonde with blue eyes. When she was a teen her family was captured during the French Revolution. In order for her life to be spared, she had to become a prostitute and service the soldiers. She was not quite fourteen and had a daughter, Marguerite, the following year.

Eighteen years after the prologue she’s thirty-six and co-owns a ‘pleasure house’ with two male ex-prisoners of war that she helped escape when she was a teen. Members pay a yearly fee to have sex there with other members.

She’s the mother of a twenty-one year old daughter and mother of eighteen-year old twins, Lisette and Christian. She’s a terrible mother. When the twins were one, all the children were sent away to school in Normandy. She lied to them about her occupation and never even gave them her address! I don’t think they ever visited her. She seems uncaring and doesn’t understand why the twins don’t seem to like her, especially Christian.

Philip is someone she’d met eighteen years before, right before she became involved with the pleasure house. They’d only known each other for one sex-filled weekend. He’s around forty now, has blond hair and brown-hazel eyes. He’s got a nasty attitude and is uptight. Coincidentally he came back into her life. They both said, at different times, that she ‘left him’ eighteen years before, as if they’d been in a relationship with each other. That comment is so puzzling to me.

There was an unbelievably outrageous sexual incident that happened between Philip, his wife, and her lover years before that had me rolling my eyes, is was that ridiculous. She died after years of declining health but we were never told what was ailing her. Their marriage was a sham and the story behind it was ridiculous and not at all believable.

One thing I didn’t understand and found annoying was when her oldest daughter got married without telling her, Helene hired people to track her down. I don’t know why the daughter was even brought into the story or why what went down with her husband happened at all. Both were useless characters that didn’t do anything for the story.

George, one of Helene’s business partners, is obsessed with marrying her, even though he’s already married. It was discovered by Philip, who now co-owns the place too, that George has been stealing money from the business. When Helene finds out about it she’s not mad and offers to help him out financially!

I really don’t have anything positive to say about this book other than the sex scenes were explicit, just how I like them, and there were at least six of them, two of which involved Philip and a man named Adam, which I liked best. The characters were emotionless, except for Christian, and the whole novel just didn’t make sense.


house of pleasure blue

PAUL BERNARDO AND KARLA HOMOLKA: The True Story of the Ken and Barbie Killers (Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked the Nation #3) by Peter Vronsky

paulPUBLISHING INFO: VP Publication, 5/2015
GENRE: Nonfiction/true crime/serial killers

FROM PUBLISHER: Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were so perfectly iconic as a newlywed couple that they were dubbed “Ken and Barbie”. But their marriage had a dark side involving sex, death, and videotape. The ‘perfect couple’ first raped and murdered Karla’s little sister and then kidnapped teenage schoolgirls whom they enslaved, raped, tortured and killed while gleefully recording themselves on video doing it. Vronsky will take you on the journey from the Scarborough Rapist (Bernardo) to Bordelais (Homolka’s current last name) and her return to Canada in October, 2014 from the island of Gaudeloupe where she lived for several years with her husband and three children.

MY THOUGHTS: Though this book is condensed, just 161 pages, I feel like all the pertinent information was given and I don’t really feel like I missed out on much. Though I know what Karla’s been up to since her release from prison in July 2005, I think a bit more information should have been given about it. It wasn’t even mentioned that she’d had an online children’s clothing line until 2012/13.

The author is very unprofessional in his language. He used the word ‘shit’ to describe something, called another female serial killer ‘stupid’, called three other female killers ‘trolls’ when talking about how he doesn’t think they’re as attractive as Karla. He said Karla was a Facebook ‘slut’ before there was a Facebook. He called something a ‘cluster-fuck’, talked about ‘blow jobs’, ‘licking ass’, and ‘sick, horrific shit’. Said Karla’s husband was ‘troll-like’ and called Karla a ‘homicidal bitch’.

He incorrectly stated that the three murdered girls would be ‘in their forties’. Wrong. Only Karla’s sister Tammy would be 40 this year, the other two, 39.

I’ve read many a nonfiction book, have since 1995, and have never seen an author sound so unprofessional. That would never have been allowed in a book being published by a major publisher. I’m embarrassed for him and don’t know why the publisher allowed it. That’s the type of language you read on blogs, forums, ect., not in professionally published books.

I think the book is well written, though lacking a bit in information in some areas. For someone who’s never read about this case before, I don’t recommend that you start with this. I think you need to start with one that has more information, such as Deadly Innocence (which has interviews with their friends), Invisible Darkness, or Lethal Marriage. I’d never read anything by this author again because of his lack of professionalism.

Other books about Paul and Karla:

Karla’s Web by Frank Davies (published before Paul’s trial in ’95, I bought this in 2002 but never finished it)
Deadly Innocence (My favorite. I’ve read it three times and even wrote to Alan Cairns in 2002.)
Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron (read once)
Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams (read twice)
Paul’s Case: The Kingston Letters by Lynn Crosbie (not interested in reading)
Karla: A Pact with the Devil by Stephen Williams (read once)
Finding Karla by Paula Todd (not interested in reading)
Behind Every Successful Psychopath by Patricia Pearson (not interested in reading)
The Masks of Karla Homolka: My Interviews with Karla Homolka – The Ken and Barbie Sex Killer! by Dr. Paul Dawson (I bought this the other day. It’s a gigantic paperback.)

Lori Homolka’s (now married and goes by Logan Valentini) Facebook page is here. Her father, Karel, is the man in the photo wearing the green shirt and holding a beer. Lori is married with three (?) children.

Anything you want to know about Paul, Karla, and the trial can be found on the Watching Karla Homolka forum.

I’ve been reading about Paul and Karla since February 2001 and have seen three or four documentaries on them. My favorite is MSNBC Investigates ‘To Have and to Kill’ episode from 2000.

I purchased this book myself.

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THE BUNDY MURDERS: A Comprehensive History by Kevin M. Sullivan

GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime

FROM PUBLISHER: Theodore Bundy was one of the most infamous, flamboyant American serial killers on record, and his story is a complex mix of psychopathology, criminal investigation, and the U.S. legal system. This in-depth examination of Bundy’s life and his killing spree that totaled dozens of victims is drawn from legal transcripts, correspondence and interviews with detectives and prosecutors. Using these sources, new information on several murders is unveiled. The biography follows Bundy from his broken family background to his execution in the electric chair.

MY THOUGHTS: This was pretty informative and would be a good book for someone to begin with if they’ve never read about Ted. For the most part the murders are in chronological order but the story does jump around a bit.

I wish the author had gone into Ted’s childhood/parentage a whole lot more and maybe discussed past interviews that his mother had given to the press. I wanted to know more about his wife, Carole Boone. He never mentioned Carol having Ted’s child or how she could have gotten pregnant by him while he was in prison, since they had no conjugal visits (that we know of). But this book is titled ‘The Bundy Murders’ so murders are the primary focus of the book.

I don’t like how, instead of using the word ‘rape’, the author says Ted either ‘made love’ or ‘had sex’ with the victim, during or after death. You can’t do either to a kidnapped victim.

Ted confessed to over thirty murders and I wish there had been a list of names and dates in the book.

Overall I found this to be pretty detailed in some ways, every interesting throughout, and totally lacking in details in some places.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. You can order a copy by calling them at 1-800-253-2187 or visiting their website, http://www.mcfarlandpub.com.


MY STORY by Marilyn Chambers

mystoryPUBLISHING INFO: BearManor Media 7/2014, updated
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/Pornography

FROM PUBLISHER: The intimate, uncensored reissued erotobiography that is pure-as-Ivory Snow. The sexy girl next door who turned on the world talks openly in detail about her fantasies and what turns her on. Twenty-six pages of personal photos of the star of Behind the Green Door and The Resurrection of Eve.

MY THOUGHTS: This autobiography started out good with all the stuff you’d expect in one. Where she grew up, what her childhood was like, how she got into the sex business, and so on but damn, it’s a nonstop sex fest and I got so sick of reading it, and it’s a short book…couldn’t wait for it to end. Literally almost every single page was just graphic sexual ramblings of how horny she is. We get it, Marilyn, you like sex, but your filthy language was too much.The page count for the original publication of this book was around 200 and nineteen of those was taken up by sexually graphic fan mail letters she received, which I didn’t care at all about. Another twelve pages was taken up by letters people wrote to her for her sex advise column in Genesis magazine in the 70’s. Total waste of space.

There’s a three-page forward by her daughter that was really pointless and unnecessary and just a two-page afterward/epilogue. Since this book was written thirty-nine years before the reissue in 2014, the epilogue should have been at least a chapter long and should have been written by someone who actually knows something about her and could have given some useful, interesting information on the woman, who is a legend in the porn world.

Wikipedia has more info on her, like her drug addition that wasn’t even mentioned in the epilogue, and her death in 2009.

You can read her adult fimography here.

You can read my review for her 1980 porn Insatiable here.

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

DEATH OF INNOCENCE: The True Story of an Unspeakable Teenage Crime by Peter Meyer

deathofinnocencePUBLISHING INFO: Berkley, 7/1986
ORIGINAL PUB: Putnam, 4/1985
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime/Rape/Murder
SETTING: Vermont, 1981

FROM PUBLISHER: One early spring day, two young girls took a short-cut home from school through the woods. Then in a few horrifying moments, the tranquility of the day was shattered by rape, torture and murder. A small Vermont town and the entire nation was stunned – these gruesome crimes had been committed not by hardened criminals but by two young boys, fifteen and sixteen years old.

One of America’s finest investigative journalists, Peter Meyer, recounts this provocative true story of terror in the small Vermont town of Essex Junction. He powerfully recreates this tragic case and its complex emotional aftermath – the statewide manhunt, the trial, and the chilling results that sent one teenage killer to prison for life and set the other free after two and a half years. Here is the shocking story.

BOOK SUMMARY: On Friday May 15, 1981, twelve-year old friends Melissa Walbridge and Meghan O’Rourke, almost nine months apart in age, were raped, and one was murdered, by teenage friends, fifteen-year old Jamie Savage, and sixteen-year old Louis ‘Louie’ Hamlin. Both girls were very thin and under 5′ tall.

Both girls were raped, sodomized, shot multiple times with a BB gun (Melissa was shot through the eye), strangled, and stabbed multiple times. A stab through the heart is what killed Melissa, the older of the two, born 7/17/68. Meghan survived because she’s passed out and Jamie and Louie though she was dead, so they left her and put an old mattress over her and Melissa’s bodies. Meghan came to, and walked out of the woods, naked and bleeding badly. A flagman working a few yards away at the railroad tracks, Alton Bruso, saw her, ran over to her, she asked for help, and he and a few coworkers, Howard Constantine and Alfred Laidman, called the police. From a distance Alton thought Meghan was wearing a red bathing suit, she was that bloody.

It took just over a week to find Jamie and Louie. Neither showed any remorse and neither seems to have a conscience.

After they were arrested and Louie’s house was searched, officers found in the basement a lot of pornographic photos of Louie’s fifteen-year old sister, Lisa, that her father had taken. She said he’d been molesting her since she was four and told her she’d only have to ‘do it’ until she was eighteen. Louie and his older brother said they’d been molested by their father too. The father, Butch, got a prison sentence of only 6-15 years for molesting Lisa, so he’s been out a really long time. I don’t know if he was questioned about molesting his other children.

Louis- Born 10/29/64. He’s 5’7″, stocky, very dark hair with thick eyebrows and a unibrow. He’s been violent his whole life. He didn’t say how long he’d been molested by his father. He came from a poor family. There was no mention of what his IQ was. He’s the second oldest of five children, and was born to teenage parents. At the time of his arrest he was on probation for assaulting a college girl, Candy Hackett, four months before. She was walking along one day when Louie showed up beside her. She got scared so engaged him in conversation in hopes he wouldn’t hurt her and it worked for awhile. He later confessed to the author via telephone from prison that he’d intended to rape Candy.

Almost two years before killing Melissa, days before his fifteenth birthday, he’d been arrested for attempting to rape his thirteen-year old sister, Lisa. One day at home he forced her to get naked, he got naked too and laid on top of her but didn’t penetrate her. She told their mother and the mother called the police. I don’t understand why Lisa told on him yet didn’t tell on her father for molesting her for years.

He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 45 years, which was the maximum sentence he could have been given. He was imprisoned in Missouri, then Wisconsin though I don’t know where he’s currently incarcerated nor can I find an inmate photo. He’ll be 51 this October.

Jamie- Born 9/20/65. He’s blond, 6′ tall, lanky with acne pitting on his face. He has a low IQ of only 78, which is ‘borderline impaired to delayed’. He reads at the first grade level. There was no mention of physical or sexual abuse in his past. He’s violent too, at least with his siblings, but there was never any attempted rape. I don’t think he actually raped Meghan though he tried but said his penis wouldn’t fit. I wish who did what had been made a bit more clear.

He was released from a juvenile facility when he turned eighteen in 1983. He has no prison record and his crimes have been erased from the records since he was under the age of sixteen when the crimes were commited.

An Arizona newspaper headline from May 1984 read ‘You can rape, and you can kill, and then you can move to Arizona and change your name’. That’s the first time anyone knew where Jamie was located since he was arrested. It was rumored that after his arrest he was sent to Pennsylvania to serve his measly two year sentence. Maricopa County Superior Courts (Arizona) records showed that in December 1983, shortly after his release, he’d applied to have his name legally changed and his wish was granted the following month. His name was changed to John W. Barber. He’d lived with someone for a short time in an apartment in Arizona and after moving, left a forwarding address in Vermont. He’ll be 50 this September.

In 1984 Jamie’s twenty-year old brother was murdered. You can read about that here.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a really well written book. I learned of it by searching older true crime books at Amazon very recently. Jamie and Louis’s backgrounds were explored, as were the backgrounds of the parents.

Unfortunately there aren’t any photos of Jamie, Louie, or Melissa in it but there are online newspaper articles with Jamie and Louie in them, but they’re hard to make out. I wish the author had interviewed the parents of Jamie and Louie.

You can see Melissa’s grave here. This story was done on Killer Kids in 2011. It’s season 1, episode 3. 7:30 into the episode this story starts. You can watch it here. The author is interviewed for it.

You can read the case summary at Valley News. In 2007 Melissa’s younger brother, Judd, was arrested for sexual assault. You can see his photo here. I found a Vermont television station’s post on Facebook from 2012 advertising a ‘where are they now’ update on the case but couldn’t find the actual update video so I have no idea what’s going on with anyone involved with the case.

EDIT: I did find a story from 2013 that the station did. It says that Meghan is living a ‘full rich life’. It says too that Louie has been in a Colorado prison since 2000 but I can’t find him listed on the Colorado Department of Corrections site.



buriedPUBLISHING INFO: Beaufort Books, 4/2015
ORIGINALLY PUB: Titletown Publishing, 2/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
SETTING: New York & Pennsylvania

FROM PUBLISHER: In 1992, nine-year-old Katie Beers was kidnapped by a family friend and locked in an underground box for 17 days. Katie has now come forward to tell the story that created a national media storm as reporters uncovered the truth about her pre-kidnapping life of neglect and sexual abuse and the details of her rescue. She shares how this experience and the recent death of her kidnapper, John Esposito, has affected her life. Despite the horrible reality of Katie’s days of being chained in darkness, the kidnapping was, in fact, the climactic end of a tragic childhood and the beginning of a new life. Katie breaks her silence and reveals her inspiring healing process to the journalist who covered the story of the disappearance more than twenty years ago. “Buried Memories” is the only source that includes the complete details of her traumatic childhood, transcriptions of recordings from Esposito, a first-hand account of how Katie felt after Esposito’s death in 2013, and Katie’s hopeful view of the future as she looks back into her dark past.

MY THOUGHTS: What a disturbing read. I like that the narration shifts from Katie to Carolyn Gusoff, who was a television reporter who actually covered Katie’s case. We get more than one person’s perspective on the story. One chapter will be written by Carolyn and will be about her experiences with reporting on this case at the time it was happening, and the next chapter will be written by Katie, and so on throughout the entire book. The revised edition has a few extra chapters with both authors. I thought it was very well written and informative, honest and very sad. There were many black and white photos of most of the people talked about in the book, peppered throughout the book.

The only thing that could have made this book better is if Katie’s mother, brother, and piece of sh!t godmother had been interviewed for this. I really would have liked to hear what her brother had to say about his own childhood. A pretty brief summary on this case can be found at Wikipedia. You can see interviews with Katie on Youtube.

This case is similar to one from the 1970’s involving a fourteen-year old boy named Paul Martin Andrews.

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

DECORUM by Kaaren Christopherson

decorumPUBLISHING INFO: 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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