Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: The Last Debutante

The Last Debutante (The Secrets of Hadley Green, #4)Author: Julia London
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series: The Secrets of Hadley Green # 4

Who is the captive and who is the captor? When a sexy laird holds a spirited English lady for ransom, she turns the tables and steals his heart. The lush Scottish Highlands are a tempting setting for seduction in New York Times bestselling author Julia London’s sparkling new novel.

The last person Daria Babcock expects to find in her grandmother’s home is a brawny, naked Highlander. She doesn’t buy Mamie’s explanation about finding the poor man shot in the woods. Nor does she trust the gorgeous laird, who insists his own memory fails him. But Daria came to Scotland looking for adventure and romance, and after the intriguing stranger kidnaps her, she gets her wish—and so much more. . .

“The announcement had made Daria quite cross, too. She desperately wanted a baby of her own, even a herd of them. Every time Daria held a baby she felt an uncomfortably deep tug in her chest. She would like to be married, to be a mother, a wife, to have some purpose other than to attend teas. Yet in spite of having spent the last three years endeavoring to put herself in every conceivable avenue of society, she had not even a whiff of a proper marriage prospect.” – Finished Copy pg. 7

“‘I don’t want biscuits. You are right that I have come a very long way. I made that journey in the anticipation of a lovely reunion with my grandmother and I imagined something vastly different – a house, a small village. A servant! But I find you in a crofter’s cottage without any help at all, with a wounded, naked man.” – Finished Copy pg. 31

“That drew a curious look from Daria, but Mamie said impatiently, ‘Daria, you do not understand how things are done here. Scotland is not the least bit like England. People here tend to take matters into their own hands. They don’t live by the strict rule of law as we do.’” – Finished Copy pg. 45

“‘Don’t you dare smile at me as if this is some sort of game,’ she said, her voice low and full of warning. She shifted closer, studiously avoiding his gaze as she gingerly worked the ends of the bandage free.” – Finished Copy pg. 59

Daria Babcock’s story starts like any other. She is the last debutante left, out of all her friends, with not even a possible prospect for marriage. She is lonely and saddened by the idea of not being a wife or a mother, and longs to find some purpose in her life. When an unexpected letter from her grandmother comes, all the way from Scotland, stating financial problems, Daria jumps at the idea of taking a break from her life at Hadley Green and searching for an adventure in Scotland. Little does she know, she has more surprises waiting for her in Scotland than she ever could have dreamed.

I loved the transfer from Hadley Green and England to Scotland. My mother’s side of the family is originally from Scotland, so this makes the setting all the more interesting for me. I also loved the character shift in Daria. Daria Babcock is used to a somewhat privileged lifestyle in England and is taken aback by the way her grandmother lives in Scotland. It was like taking a city girl and sticking her out in the middle of nowhere. I loved Daria’s adjustment and being able to see her grow and change as the plot thickened. I also greatly enjoyed Daria’s Mamie. She was the perfect grandmother and was full of humor and a knack for landing Daria and herself in some sticky situations.

There is a hostage situation in this story and I was quite surprised by the turn of events. The action rises appropriately and readers are left guessing what will happen next. Daria’s male counterpart, Jamie, was not my favorite at first. It was my fault for judging a book by its cover. I slowly learned Jamie’s situation and had to reconsider my first judgment. He is a smart, witty, and rather rough around the edges rogue. I loved his tough exterior and the way that he broke a sophisticated city girl down into a loveable and humble young woman. I hope it makes sense to say that Jamie simplified Daria’s character and took away the chip that she was so desperately carrying on her shoulder.

Loved this story and was pleased that even though it is part of a series, it can stand alone!

***Thank you to the publishers at Pocket Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***


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