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.
The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro is a beautiful book about lives interwoven decades apart in Devon, England, in Endsleigh House to be precise. Rachel, asks for her niece Katie, now calling herself Cate Albion, to work with her assistant Jack, a self professes loner, cataloguing the contents of Endsleigh House after the death of Lady Avalon in preparation for an auction when she stumbles upon a box most intriguing and begins to try and unravel the mystery of the Blythe sisters, especially the 1941 disappearance of Diana Blythe. Tessaro exquisitely weaves together the modern day lives of Jack and Cate, two people trying to come to terms with their lives alternating back to the lives of debutantes Irene and Diana Blythe through letters, the first one dated 1926. The Debutante is a beautiful and insightful look at society and how people relate to each other and with themselves, secrets, and scandals. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Irene’s and Diana’s experiences being debutantes and seeing London society, and the world, for that matter, through their eyes. The stories of Cate’s life as well as Jack’s were also quite compelling and while I enjoyed learning more about each of them and their respective troubled paths, my favourite parts were the letters and then of course the mystery. The Debutante is the first book of Kathleen Tessaro’s that I have read and if this novel is any indication of the depth and breadth of her writing ability, then I shall be reading her previous books. I would not hesitate to recommend The Debutante to any reader and think this would make an excellent discussion group pick.
Born in Pittsburgh, Kathleen Tessaro emigrated to London where she worked as an actress in films, television, and theater, while training to be a drama teacher and voice coach. She is the author of the novels Elegance, Innocence, and The Flirt. Kathleen currently lives in Pennsylvania.
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I received a complimentary copy of The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.