I wanted to read this for the fresh setting and time--New York, 1902. Joyce does a fantastic job of making me see the surroundings, furnishings, sounds and smells. However, halfway through the book something hit me: The [...]the heroine embarrasses herself by continually throwing herself at him. He's told her at least five times in no uncertain terms there can be nothing between them. To my mind, that leaves romance out of the picture.
The dialogue is distracting. Nobody speaks in contractions. It's always "I do not think. I will be going. I hope you are not intending. You do not mean that!" Some other irritating character quirks, such as Francesca constantly "gasping" and in one 3-page scene she wet her lips four times. Why even once, I don't know.
I appreciate the picture she paints of that period in NY history. It's colorful and glamorous to read about. But I agree with other readers that Calder Hart would've made a better "hero" instead of that surly, nasty stiff, Bragg.