Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review #94: The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro (BLOG TOUR)

The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Avon
Price/Pages: $13.99/379

My thoughts:

Crumbling estate: check
Tortured sisters: check
Secretive protaganist: check
Secrets items hidden in old bookshelf: check
London setting: check

Okay, so you got me. It doesn't take much more to convince me to read a book if you have the above items involved. Thank you to TLC Book Tours for introducing this book and this author to me.

Cate is a young woman artist running from a horrible past. She flees to London to work for her aunt. Her assignment is to help her aunt's assistant, Jack, inventory all of the items going to auction at an old estate called Endsleigh House. The house was owned by the Blythe sisters; Diana (also called Baby) and Irene. Though they were born poor their mother married a very rich man in her second marriage and the Blythe sisters were thrown into the fashionable debutante society of London in the 1930s. Irene was the reserved, mature one; Baby was the wild card whom everyone loved.

Sound like a familiar plot line? Well, yes but I enjoyed it anyway. Cate eventually finds some interesting items hidden away in a locked room. She steals them and becomes a bit obsessed with tracking down the owners and the mystery behind these sisters. Turns out, Baby disappeared and no one knows what happened to her.

On top of this story, you also get Cate's drama and the past she is running from or I should say, the man she is running from. She begins a friendship with Jack and they go back and forth with their fondness for one another. Both have pain from their past and both are unsure of what to do with the other but they have a delicious dialogue that I really enjoyed reading. Witty, charming, sweet and full of promise.

Nothing gets wrapped up quickly with this mystery or with their budding relationship. Tessaro weaves back and forth in time, sprinkles letters from Baby to Irene in the mix and by the end the mystery is solved and see for yourself about the relationship. (no spoilers)

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
This was a enjoyable, fast read. It had the potential to be a stellar, meaty novel but it wasn't. It did have the darkness throughout with the mystery of the sisters and the definite pain Cate was feeling throughout but it was written in a simple enough style that you didn't feel like you were reading an enormous character sketch.
I thought I would be a bit more harsh on this one because it sounds familiar to the story lines of Kate Morton but I wasn't. I enjoyed it. It had the drama but the humor and lightness of the relationship between Cate and Jack gave it a sweeter feel.
Recommended for fans of Adriana Triginai or Anita Shreve

Book Club Note:
It has a little fluff feel to it so I don't know how much discussion could come of it.
Still fun, though.

Author Info:
Kathleen Tessaro is the author of the novels Elegance, Innocence and The Flirt. She lives in Pennsylvania. She has worked in as an actress in films, television, and theater.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, October 26th: Write Meg

Wednesday, October 27th: Daydream Believer

Tuesday, November 2nd: Hospitable Pursuits

Wednesday, November 3rd: Confessions of a Bookaholic

Monday, November 8th: Bookstack

Tuesday, November 9th: Life in the Thumb

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Lori Johnston said...

Fantastic review, Michelle! I have not heard of this book but it sounds like something right up my alley. Like you, I like moody, atmospheric books with mystery and taking place in London is an added bonus. Definitely adding this one to my TBR list.

Can't wait for your Christmas/holiday readathon - - will definitely sign up!

Happy Thursday!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great honest review. Sorry it fell sorta short.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Your having a readathon?

Carol said...

The subject matter of this one appeals to me...
have this on my wishlist.

thanks for the review


Gina said...

Great review! Your checklist at the top already had be interested and by reviews end...yep, will certainly keep my eye out for it. Sometimes a familiar story revisited, when its done right, is like meeting an old friend. You catch up on the what's changed, but still enjoy the original favorite too. Happy reading!

And the musical number of the day goes to...

"THE sun'll come out, your bottom dollar that tomorROW.
They'll be sunnnn....."

--ala Annie ^_^

trish said...

Witty, charming, and sweet?! Sometimes that's all I'm looking for! Sounds fantastic! Thanks for being on this tour!

Heather J. @ TLC Books said...

Ooh that checklist is the PERFECT way to get my attention! I'm already looking forward to this book but you've definitely made me push this up higher on my TBR list.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by!!!!