Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Review: The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher

Title: The Kennedy Debutante
Author: Kerri Maher
Published: October 2018, Berkley Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

A captivating novel following the exploits of Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy, the forgotten and rebellious daughter of one of America's greatest political dynasties.
London, 1938. The effervescent "It girl" of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy moves in rarified circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the 20th century's most powerful figures. Eager to escape the watchful eye of her strict mother, Rose, the antics of her older brothers, Jack and Joe, and the erratic behavior of her sister Rosemary, Kick is ready to strike out on her own and is soon swept off her feet by Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire. But their love is forbidden, as Kick's devout Catholic family and Billy's staunchly Protestant one would never approve their match. When war breaks like a tidal wave across her world, Billy is ripped from her arms as the Kennedys are forced to return to the States. Kick gets work as a journalist and joins the Red Cross to get back to England, where she will have to decide where her true loyalties lie--with family or with love . . .

My thoughts:  It's no secret that I am a huge Kennedy fan, but my knowledge lies primarily with JKF and I will admit it is limited to mostly pop culture references. But, I am on a mission to change that. I have a rather large collection of books on the Kennedys - a good mix of historical fiction and nonfiction and I am determined to read them all - once I get them out of storage. This book, which I was thrilled to have picked up at Book Expo this past Spring, has sparked that interest in all things Kennedy for me all over again!

I admit I did not know much about Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy prior to going into this book. But I loved the way the writing and the story pulled me in right from the beginning. Kick is a socialite, through and through, and while this book primarily focuses on her life, I loved that we get little details about all the siblings throughout the book, so much so that I am determined to read something about each and every one of them. This book showcases just how much Kick's family life - her staunch Catholic upbringing, her mother's strict upbringing and that complex relationship, her father's favoritism to her older brothers - how it all affected her and how she dealt with it in her own way. 

Kick is such a fascinating person. She is full of strength and independence. She was willing to take chances, despite her famous last name. She was willing to take a stand, stand up for herself, and stand up for what she believed in. And that is how she lived her life.

I loved this book. I loved all the rich details that Kerri Maher provided about the life and times in London both before the war as well as during the war. I felt that I was right there with the characters, so vivid were the descriptions. But I also loved the Author's Note, where Kerri detailed her research. She also provided a list of books she used, some of which I already own. And you can be sure I will be hunting down those I do not. This book was a delight to read and a much welcome addition to my Kennedy collection!!!



  1. This part of the Kennedy's was new to me. Thanks for the review.

  2. Like you I am fascinated by the Kennedy family but am always a little cautious about novels as they can take a kind of biased approach, but this one sounds like it doesn't. I just bought the Eunice Kennedy biography and I look forward to reading that. I'll watch for this one at the library.


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