The Kennedy Debutante
By Kerri Maher
Author Website: www(.)kerrimaher(.)com
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 . . . . (Goodreads)
Even as time passes, the Kennedy family continues to fascinate Americans, and I was excited to have the opportunity to read about Joe Sr. and Rose’s second-oldest daughter Kathleen “Kick”. I knew virtually nothing about her going into the book, and The Kennedy Debutante provides a glimpse at her personal life and her love story set against World War II.
I think where the book excels is also somewhat my problem with it. A good portion of the book takes place shortly after Kick is presented at court while her father is the US Ambassador. She is finding her feet as an adult but still very young. Maher includes a great deal of name dropping and party scenes that are quite detailed, interesting but tedious after a while. This made the first half of the book drag for me. Once the war becomes the focus, the pace picks up, and I enjoyed Kick’s story, heartbreaking as it is. I wish the author had continued beyond 1944; I wanted to spend more time with Kick in the few short years she had left.
The book is, above all else, a love story. Two young people who, on the surface, seem a perfect match, but their religious convictions, disapproving families, and the outbreak of war really take their toll. I admire Kick, a woman ahead of her time. The privileged life she was born into could have left her spoiled and shallow. However, I think Kick was more rebellious and independent, braver than we give her credit. I appreciate Maher’s depiction of Kick’s struggle with her faith and what her heart wants.
I liked The Kennedy Debutante; I just didn’t love it like I thought I would. I recommend it to readers interested in the Kennedy family.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*