Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: Debutantes

Author: Cora Harrison
Publication Date: August 2, 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Children’s

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

The perfect pink hues on the cover of the book captured the elegant and classical feel of the 1920’s. Her face looks almost like a porcelain china doll. I love stories about sisters and this book talks about four of them, and their names are all flowers! How cute is that? When I think of a debutante I think of someone is a beautiful flowing ball gown and a tiara atop her hand waving to the people like Julie Andrews taught Anne Hathaway to in The Princess Diaries. I knew that this book was likely to be filled with laughter, surprise, and mischief because I mean with four girls how much of that can you really avoid?!

This book is the best book that I have read based off of family dynamics this year. These Derrington girls knew the true meaning of sisterhood. They shared everything together and even got along quite remarkably for four sisters who are all relatively around the same age. They all genuinely looked out for one another and never broke the bonds of family. I love reading a good book where siblings really have each other’s back. The bond between siblings is something that should be unbreakable; these girls relied on each other and that’s what family should be.

I loved reading about each of the four girls: Violet, Daisy, Poppy, and Rose. I also love how Cora Harrison was able to bond them over something as pivotal as an anonymous love letter and then turn right around and write each of their characters so differently. They each had their own individualistic likes, dislikes, qualities, and characteristics. I love when siblings are night and day different from one another. This keeps the story more interesting and then you, as the reader, can decide whom you are most relatable with. They all have desires and goals as well. Rose wants to be a novelist and Poppy wants to be a famous jazz musician, and it is instances like these that really help to define a character and really made the family dynamics all the more exciting. When everyone is going down a different path that only equals one thing. Adventure.

Daisy seemed to narrate and be in control of most of the story, as to the reason why, I am not going into detail because you all need to pick up a copy for yourselves!! However, I will say that Daisy is an interesting character and would have been my pick out of the four sisters as well to narrate the story. The Derrington estate has reached the doors of poverty and has slowly slumped down the doorstep. Daisy is a very influential character because even though her family is facing hard times she is still able to entertain, strengthen, and heighten the thoughts and emotions of her sisters. Daisy is the most grounded and cares the most for the well-being and happiness of her sisters. I was so shocked and completely awed at the sacrifices that Daisy was willing to make just to help the dreams of her sisters come true.

This was such a breezy read and truly captured the 1920’s as I have always envisioned them. I am all about a good setting too and I loved Cora’s, Beech Grove Manor, where the girls grew up. Harrison takes readers on an inside look at the servants and groundskeepers of the manor as well, and I find it very important that as reader I am introduced to even the smallest of characters. She instilled each of the Derrington girls with a desire, want, or a need to bring her family out of poverty and each girl would not lay to rest until she had secured the fate of her sisters. It was such a touching story highlighting one family of dreamers and their plans to get rich quick!! Such a romantic novel with totally inspiring and charming characters!

**A copy of this book was provided to me by Pan Macmillan Children’s Books in exchange for my honest review**


  1. I could buy it only for this amazing cover. : o

  2. Oooh I love books about sisters! (Hence, our blog!) and I love historical fiction. This sounds perfect! Great review!


  3. Oh this sounds so cute - it sounds like it builds on the legacy of Georgette Heyer and "I Capture the Castle".

  4. This reminds me a bit of Little Women with the four sisters & poverty parts, though of course a different time period & setting. :) Sounds interesting! I can't believe I totally missed its release date! Great review.

    Randi @ Cardigans, Coffee and Bookmarks