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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, recommended
This book is about two people, Cate and Jack, struggling to put their unhappy pasts behind them, and immersing themselves in the task of sorting all the antiques etc for auction from an old mansion by the sea after its elderly owner dies. Whilst there they discover that the house was once home to two famous sisters, Irene and Baby Blythe who were debutantes in the 1920s,...
Published on 11 May 2010 by JM

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear.
The reviews from newspapers promised an unforgettable read. I found it boring and patchy with underdeveloped characters, a lack of chemistry between the modern-day love interests and a complete absence of character development of Baby's possible suitors.While the ending is poignant and the description of the old house evocative I wish Tessaro had spent more time on the...
Published on 1 April 2012 by Juice


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, recommended, 11 May 2010
By 
JM (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Debutante (Hardcover)
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This book is about two people, Cate and Jack, struggling to put their unhappy pasts behind them, and immersing themselves in the task of sorting all the antiques etc for auction from an old mansion by the sea after its elderly owner dies. Whilst there they discover that the house was once home to two famous sisters, Irene and Baby Blythe who were debutantes in the 1920s, and Cate finds an old shoebox full of memories. She is fascinated by their story, especially when she discovers that Baby, the wilder of the two, went missing and was never found, and she sets out to discover all she can.
It was a little slow in the beginning but turns into a nice story with a gentle mystery, it's not an exciting thriller but it is a pleasant read and I enjoyed it, and was eager to turn the pages as I got further into it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely read, 6 Jun 2010
By 
Nicola "nicola_in_southyorks" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Debutante (Hardcover)
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I wasn't at all sure about reading this book. I'd loved Kathleen Tessaro's first book, Elegance, but didn't think her second book was up to much at all. I'm glad to say that The Debutante is a return to form for this author.

It has all the aspects I love in a novel: two linked stories, set in two different times, a mystery and a love story. Cate, a troubled woman who has returned from a turbulent stay in New York, and Jack, a man who is trying to cope with his grief, are sent to make an inventory of items in a grand house in Devon. Cate discovers a shoebox containing some random objects which she sets out to find out more about. Interlinked with this story is the story from the past of the Blythe sisters, debutantes from the 1930s.

I loved how both stories (the Blythe one is only told in letter form) intertwined and how the stories unfolded. And near the end there was a moment when a key part of the story dawned on me and I had to stop reading for a minute to take stock of what it meant for the characters.

This is a really lovely read and I enjoyed every second I spent reading it. Kathleen Tessaro would do well to stick to this kind of book, as she really does it well. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear., 1 April 2012
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This review is from: The Debutante (Paperback)
The reviews from newspapers promised an unforgettable read. I found it boring and patchy with underdeveloped characters, a lack of chemistry between the modern-day love interests and a complete absence of character development of Baby's possible suitors.While the ending is poignant and the description of the old house evocative I wish Tessaro had spent more time on the book: It felt as if she wrote it because her publisher was bugging her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 28 May 2011
By 
K. Alembick (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Debutante (Paperback)
Quite disappointed with this book. It was more of a character study, and very lacking in an actual plot. I guess this could be classified as contemporary literature. I couldn't see where it was going, and kept reading to find out. It seemed to go nowhere, though I suppose it was interesting. It involved 2 separate story lines, one set in modern times, and one historical. I felt in the end, that the historical part was used more as a padding to make this into book length. If it was intended for anything else, it didn't end up going there. There was no actual joining up of the parts, it would have been better if there had been. There was some clever convenience at the end, where you are convinced that you may have just met the historical character - but nothing is conclusive.
I think she was trying to make a point about injustices, and heart-breaks with this story - which I suppose that came across. However, I found it amusing that having wanted to set the original story in the V&A, she found that too big a canvas. An author friend gave her a shoebox with random objects inside to inspire her story. She literally used that... To be fair, it was very readable, she's a good writer - but I was left at the end wondering the point of it all? This was the first book of hers that I've read. I won't be looking at any more... Sorry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Debutante, 16 May 2010
By 
Candi Says (Aberdeen, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Debutante (Hardcover)
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Cate/Katie is trying to escape her past by moving to London and starts working alongside her aunt in her business of valuing antiques. She is sent to value the contents of Endsleigh House, home of the famous debutantes Irene and Baby Blythe, along with her aunt's colleague, the handsome Jack.

Whilst valuing the antiques, Cate finds a shoebox of treasures hidden in a locked room and is determined to find out what happened to Baby Blythe, the prettiest and most popular rebel of the Blythe sisters. Jack and Cate are drawn to each other but their pasts drive them apart. For them to be together, they need to put aside their pasts.

The story is divided up and features the letters of correspondence between the Blythe sisters and Baby's lover, Nicholas Warburton.

The story is enjoyable along with Kathleen Tessaro's previous books which I have also enjoyed. The ending does feel a bit of an anti-climax though. Who is the old lady at the home as she has implications? And I would hope that Jack would fill Cate in with his discovery of the letters? I would recommend this book to others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pictures and Words reveal the past, 27 Dec 2012
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Debutante (Paperback)
Big houses invariably have their secrets and Endsleigh is one of them. Everything is now being sold as there is no longer anyone who is alive to inherit. Enter Cate and Jack who are tasked to catalogue all the items for auction.

Cate has her secrets as she arrives back from New York and goes to help her aunt, the owner of an auctioneers and valuers. Retreating into work and another world, the world of Endsleigh to escape her thoughts. They are suddenly all exposed for everyone to see and the glimmer of happiness may be lost forever.

Jack, faithful employee of Cate's aunt is also using work to escape his thoughts. That the woman he loved was not being honest even down to the day she was tragically killed. Can Jack let his barriers down and think about loving someone else, even if they have a past which is too close to home for him to deal with?

As Cate and Jack set about their work, a discovery by Cate means that the mystery of the house is carried on a lot longer. It belonged to Irene Blythe, debutante of the nineteen thirties who had an even more famous sister - Diana `Baby' Blythe who made a mark on society and whose mysterious disappearance has never been solved. Will Cate discover the truth and perhaps find her true self? Or will past secrets never be buried and remain a problem for all those left?

This is an excellent book which built slowly on the story of both the Blythe sisters, (very much in the ilk of the Mitfords) and also the friendship between Cate and Jack. It deals with some rather raw subjects, death, bereavement, unrequited love, forbidden love and forced love in both the present story and the past. The past is told through the form of letters which gave an interesting angle and made a change from the flashback or alternate chapters in telling the story. This combined with the story being divided into three parts and there being no chapter definition meant we were flowing through the tale. It did not ever become fast paced but remained a page turner for me.

This is not some fluffy escapist novel it has much richer layers that need to be peeled away for the reader to enjoy it. Some may find it too slow, and at times I can see how. For me it could have had a stronger ending, but it did have one which left you thinking - what was going to happen to those that were left now that Endsleigh was out of their lives, no matter how it touched them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a really nice read...perfect for relaxation!!, 18 Jun 2011
By 
Petra "I love to read" "book addict!!!" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Debutante (Paperback)
The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro, is a book which I enjoyed. It was a lovely relaxing read with the perfect ending for all the romantics in this world. It was mainly the story of Cate Albion and Jack Coates, both people have been hurt very badly and are finding it hard to get back to living again after their individual heartaches. They have been brought together by Cate's Aunt Rachel Deveraux who also has a sad story to tell.
Through Cate and Jack going to Endsleigh House to value and catalogue all what was left inside the house before the new owners took over, we meet Irene Blythe and her sister Diana.
I enjoyed the way the author Kathleen Tessaro introduces Irene and Diana through a series of letters throughout the book where each girl's personalty clearly shone through. Irene was the serious one and Diana who was better known as 'Baby', was the girl who was out for fun!! and she clearly had a good time but was being constantly always being controlled by her stepfather.
Through the letters the reader will come to know the personalty of each of the girls. We find out the real history of the girls when Cate finds a shoebox with a few items inside. As Cate researches each of the items we find out the main history of Irene and Diana.
Her mother was married to their father first of all in Dublin who was a bit of a waster but had a lot of plans. After her first husband's death their mother decided she was tired of being poor and goes to England to look for a rich husband which she found and not just an ordinary rich man this man came with a title. The girls are then brought to England from Dublin and introduced to a world they could only dream about in Dublin. They were turned into ladies, and therefore introduced to this new world of money and class and were made proper Debutantes.
The reason to be introduced to the public as a debutante was mainly to find a rich husband and an even bigger prize was a husband with a title. Both girls enjoyed the social life, especially Baby but Irene was like her mother she knew this life had to be lived properly and a certain standard must be kept up. Therefore if they wanted to be treated like ladies they must live like ladies. This was fine for Irene but Baby who was more like her father just lived for the moment, and just wanted to have fun. While Irene found a rich husband who was a politician, was concerned how Diana lived her life would look bad for her husband's career. Of course Diana met and fell in love with a very handsome man, this love could not be blessed with marriage.
The story of Diana I found to be heartbreaking but very interesting and the author used actual true stories to base the actual reason why Diana disappeared. This was eye opening for me and helped me understand how those that had money and titles could hide their loved ones so that they could keep up their own outlook on life and what their friends thought of them. A certain standard must be kept up. It was always how they looked to the public was more important rather than the happiness of their own loved ones.
The author brings together everything very nicely at the end. This I enjoyed as with some books I have read they have left me looking more and being disappointed with the ending. With this book, I found the ending just right for everyone, even Diana but with a hint of sadness for her.
The author not only told the background of the main characters, she told the background for those that were all involved in the story even those characters that had small parts to play which I found good to know. As all my questions were answered why things turned out the way they did.
In some ways I did find the book a bit Mills And Boon, but I enjoyed reading this book and found the contents very interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great characters and story but lacked excitement!, 24 May 2011
This review is from: The Debutante (Paperback)
When i first started reading the book i had high hopes - especially after reading the first letter to her sister from baby blythe (i enjoyed these letters throughout the book). But i honestly felt there were no real surprises or excitement created by the author when there were so many great opportunities to do so!

Although there are two main characters (Jack and Cate) the author introduces other characters (Rachael for example), starts to develop their character and then stops short of anything satisfying - perhaps this was a case of too many characters for one book!

I did however enjoy the back and forth from the 1930/40's to present day - this was done rather well in my opinion. The author also writes very clearly and it was always easy to follow how the story progressed.

To sum up i would say i was indifferent about this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Parallel lives past and present., 7 Sep 2010
By 
RM/TM (UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Debutante (Hardcover)
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Cate and Jack, both overcoming failed relationships, are thrown together when they're sent to catalogue items for auction at an old country estate. In addition to the ensuing romance, Cate turns detective when she discovers a hidden room containing jazz-age relics relating to glamorous debutante sisters, Irene and Diana Blythe. Can she solve the mystery of Diana's disappearance more than half a century earlier?

This is a very well written book, which interweaves four tales - three 'pasts' (Cate, Jack and Diana) and one 'present' (Cate and Jack together). You begin to realise that Cate and Diana have more than a little in common when the details of their tawdry romantic lives start to emerge. Diana's tale is told through letters, charmingly littered with 20's vernacular - everything is 'ripping', 'ghastly', or 'too, too' wonderful. Cate's shady past is revealed through her own guilty and remorseful recollections. However, the feel is definitely more 'mystery' than 'romance' or 'chick-lit', which pleasantly surprised me. A really good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Debutante, 26 May 2010
By 
Basement Cat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Debutante (Hardcover)
This was a very enjoyable read, and although you probably get a good idea of the outcome fairly on in the book, it is an enjoyable, pleasant journey to get there. In the present, Jack and Cate are working together to clear a grand old house, whilst trying hard to resist each other. There is another story too, woven in amongst the main one, of two Mitford type sister's troubled lives after the first world war. This a lovely relaxing read, not too taxing, and would be perfect to take on holiday with you. Good, grown-up chic-lit.
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The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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