Possible Pick: The Debutante

In Kathleen Tessaro’s fourth novel, The Debutante, artist Cate leaves New York after a disastrous affair to work in her aunt Rachel’s London auction house.  When she is paired with handsome Jack (on the run from his own demons),  sparks fly but their baggage doesn’t seem to be a matched set.  As they work together valuing an old estate, Cate becomes obsessed with the former owners – the Blythe sisters, known as the most beautiful debutantes of the 1920s.  When Cate discovers a hidden shoebox filled with seemingly random items, she goes on a quest to uncover the box’s secrets and find out more about the Blythe sisters and their glamorous, tragic lives.

Tessaro alternates the contemporary story with letters from socialite “Baby” Blythe, painting a picture of the historical time period and adding an interesting counterpoint – we see the Blythe sister’s world crumble around them while Cate, Rachel, and Jack struggle with their own demons.
This would be an excellent choice for groups interested in British fiction, historical fiction, or for contemporary groups looking for something a little more literary (but not overwhelmingly so).  As a side note, I was fascinated by the author’s note at the end where she explains that looking for inspiration to weave her tale, a friend gave her a shoebox filled with random, seemingly unconnected objects -and Tessaro had to write the story around them.





About the Author:

Rebecca Vnuk is the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist. She is also the author of 3 reader’s-advisory nonfiction books: Read On…Women’s Fiction (2009), Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2014), and Women’s Fiction Authors: A Research Guide (2009). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_RVnuk.

1 Comment on "Possible Pick: The Debutante"

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  1. shavers@crc.losrios.edu' Shelley says:

    It’s hard to imagine times like ours being an “era” in the way the twenties, or the time period of my my writing, the thirties were….Other than economic disaster, our time doesn’t seem to have a “face”….

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