Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Debutantes - Book Review

Debutantes – Book Review
Cora Harrison
YA Historical
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.
I really enjoyed Debutantes and found it to be a fun, light hearted read that transports the reader back to the glamorous age of the 1920’s. Full of vivid descriptions it shares the magical sheen of new technologies, risky fashions and scandalous love affairs unique to the time period. It is a must read for any fans of YA historical fiction!
Although the book is about all four of the Derrington girls, this story mostly focuses on the younger twin Daisy. A future film director to be – she is never far from her trusted camera and unlike her sisters, she cares little for the thought of marriage and fancy dances. However when the girls are offered the chance to go to London Daisy is excited by the prospect of the big city – even if she is only there to support her eldest sister Violet in finding a husband. But when Daisy uncovers a mysterious love letter dated from sixteen years ago, she opens the box to a world of best-forgotten family secrets that could change the lives of the Derrington girls forever…
I really enjoyed this book. Placed in a beautiful setting the descriptions were vivid and detailed and I felt completely immersed in the era of the 1920’s. The drastic changes in fashion and technology were very interesting to read – as were the reactions and difference in opinions between the younger and older generations.
The plot, however, I thought was a little predictable and I guessed most of the twists straight away – yet the story was still fun and held my attention throughout. Both well paced and expressively written, I think Cora Harrison has done a fantastic job in capturing the feel and vibes of the 1920’s.
 Also I liked how each character was unique, with the sisters all having distinct personalities and individual dreams. For instance, Violet secretly aspires to be an actress yet as the eldest of the four sisters, she sees it as her duty to marry well and provide for her family. The youngest sister Rose is quite melodramatic and romanticises everything to put into her stories (she wants to be a writer) and Poppy, Daisy’s twin sister wants nothing more than to own a jazz club and play music all day.
The secondary characters such as Daisy’s Godfather and Justin also contributed greatly to the book. Their scenes were often humorous, witty and in the game of ‘murder in the dark’ just downright fun!
 So overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read that I would recommend to younger teens and anyone who enjoyed books by Anna Godbersen such Bright Young Things or the Luxe series. Sassy, vibrant and scandalous, Debutantes brings together all the life and energy of the 1920’s.  3 ½ stars!

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  1. I love the cover and the setting, I have a fascination for the flapper era. I want to be swept away though so I think I'm going to hold off on this one.

  2. The cover is pretty and this sounds like a fun, light read. I am always fascinated by the 1920s- so I am curious about this one. Glad the setting is done well. :)