Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Debutantes (Debutantes #1)

Debutantes (Debutantes #1) by Cora
Paperback, 532 pages

Published 2nd August 2012 by Pan Macmillan Childrens 

My shelves: arc-or-review, blog-tour, books-i-own, cover-appeal, currently-reading, historical, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, young-adult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away.

Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country.

But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans—ruin everything—forever.

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My thanks go to Pan Macmillan for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Debutantes is going to be quite a challenging book for me to review. This is another book where I was quite honestly blinded by the beauty of the cover - just look at it, isn't it gorgeous? I did of course read the blurb and whilst I don't read all that much historical fiction, what I have read I have enjoyed, so I was excited to give this one a go.

I will admit that I wasn't immediately taken with this book when I started with it. It's a bit of a slow burner and rather than having much action or twists and turns at the beginning, we're introduced to the Derrington sisters (Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose), their family and friends. I really liked getting to know the sisters, they were all different and equally intriguing. I thought that it was great that each sister was following their own, independent path. I especially loved reading about Daisy and her passion for movie making! I enjoyed watching the sister's interactions together and I am curious to see how their relationships will develop during this series. I took a real fondness to each of the girls and appreciated their differences.

 I also enjoyed learning about the housemaids, though at some points the amount of characters did feel a little overwhelming. It wasn't confusing as such, but because of the amount of characters, it was difficult for them all to be given real depth. Whilst I did enjoy the relationships that were developing in the book - both the familial love as well as the romance, I found some of the relationships to be a little too quickly progressed. The romance certainly wasn't instant love and it did seem 'right' and natural, but I would've liked to see some more depth. Of course, there is lots of room for exploration of this in the upcoming books.

This isn't a particularly deep book, though it does have some family issues interwoven into it to satisfy those who do like some real issues incorporated into their books. The story wasn't very unpredictable, though there was a little mystery, but I thought it was good to have a slightly grittier subplot against the actual debutante ball. This book isn't one that I was shocked at, there were no huge twists and turns, but rather it was consistently enjoyable throughout. It was relaxed and moved at a nice pace. Personally, I do like my twists and turns in novels, but I wasn't disappointed when I found that this one wasn't very eventful. This is definitely a book to simply get immersed in and to relax with.

Although this wasn't a perfect book for me, it was a pleasant enough read and I think that it will appeal to most people who are fans of historical fiction and fans of Downton Abbey as well as young adults who simply want an easy read. I am certainly still intrigued enough and found the 1920's atmosphere and setting absorbing enough to want to read more. It will be exciting to see what happens next!


  1. Yay! I'm glad you still enjoyed this one, despite its qualms. It doesn't really seem like the book for me though, so I think I'll skip this one. Wonderful review! :D

    Ivy Book Bindings

  2. What an interesting story :D I don't think I'll read this one though, and I must talk about that cover! It's airbrushed and false and I'm not really fond if it.


  3. Thanks for this review, I don't think I'm going to read this book.
    It sounds like it has way too many characters and I find that overwhelming.
    I do think the setting and cover is very appealing, but I've been disappointed by many books that sound like this.

  4. I'm glad you reviewed this! I've been really curious about it but I can tell now that it isn't my sort of read. Historical novels can be really hit and miss with me. Thanks for the helpful review! :)

  5. Thank you for your review! I just heard of it a few days ago in a "August 2012 Releases" slideshow and was in love with the LOVELY cover. This is the review I saw for it, so of course I had to read it!
    I'm not a fan of historical fiction, and I love my books action packed--so I dont think I will be reading it...but that cover! *o*
    And Rose has me curious with her novelist ambitions.
    I TOTALLY know what you mean when there are too many characters, forcing them to be under-developed! I had that problem with Wesley King's The Vindico a few days ago.

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  6. Im glad you enjoyed it at least a little! I love historical fiction but always forget that I love it until I start reading it so I definitely think I'll be trying to get my hands on this one soon!


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