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The Debutante Hardcover – 1 Apr 2010
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Praise for The Debutante:
'It's an elegant and glamorous plot …which means lots of mouth-watering descriptions of decaying stately homes by the sea' Daily Mail
‘The latest from the author of bestseller Elegance. New Yorker Cate immerses herself in the mystery of the Mitford-esque 1920’s London debutante’ Red
‘A shoebox filled with momentos sets artist Cate on a hunt for the truth behind the disappearance of a dazzling 1920’s ‘it’ girl in Kathleen Tessaro’s The Debutante’ Good Housekeeping
‘Tessaro gets her story-weaving wand out with a gloriously rich story of past and present love’ InStyle
‘Reading The Debutante was the most delicious treat. Engrossing, romantic, wise and witty – the perfect read. I could not put it down’ Gillian Greenwood, author of Satisfaction and The Ghost Lover
Praise for Kathleen Tessaro:
‘Ultra-smart and classily edgy, this is the glitz novel brought up to date’ Sunday Times
‘This is a book all women will identify with’ Glamour
From the Back Cover
Can the secrets of one woman's past change another woman's future?
A gifted artist, Cate has come to London from New York to escape her recent past. Working for her aunt's auction house, she is sent down to Devon to value the contents of Endsleigh House, the once gracious but now crumbling estate of a former socialite. There, hidden in the back of a dusty bookshelf, Cate discovers an old shoebox. Inside is a strange assortment of objects: an exquisite pair of dancing shoes circa 1930; a diamond brooch; a photograph of a young sailor; a dance card; and a pearl and emerald Tiffanys bracelet.
Intrigued by her find, Cate sets out to solve the mystery of the box, becoming immersed in the story of its owner, Baby Blythe. Bright, beautiful, and reckless, Baby was the most famous debutante of her generation . . . and the most dangerous. As the clues begin to reveal a shocking tale of destructive, addictive love, Cate finds herself being drawn deeper into Baby's tragic life story--a story that will force Cate to face some dark truths about her own.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
The epistolatory format works well for the flashback sections; Tessaro establishes an idiosyncratic voice for the brittle character of Baby Blythe and the world she inhabits, with its bright certainties slowly darkened by war, contrasts with Cate's more smudged and compromised modern existence. Soon, however, we begin to realise that both women are trapped by the same things; guilt, lack of self-esteem and a paralysing emotional isolation. A subplot involving Cate and an eligible widower is less absorbing, and one of the most interesting parts of the book - an examination of the corrosive power of guilt and blame within relationships - is never fully realised, which is a shame.
The denouement is surprising, though Baby Blythe's story is vague and a little unsatisfying. Nevertheless, this is a well-written novel and an absorbing read.
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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