Cover Image: The Kennedy Debutante

The Kennedy Debutante

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Member Reviews

In The Kennedy Debutante, author Kerri Maher writes a fictionalized account of the life of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy.  Beginning in 1938 when Joseph Kennedy Sr. was appointed ambassador to England, Kathleen’s life changed in ways she could never have imagined. It seemed like a fairytale beginning for Kick.

Kick’s experiences in London, and the friends she made there gave her an appreciation for the country she began to think of as home.  It was during this time that she met her soulmate, Billy Hartington, son of the Duke of Devonshire and heir to a large estate and an immense fortune. Hartington was smitten by Kick and their relationship grew stronger over time.   

Maher combines fact and fiction to write a love story that overcame formidable obstacles, but ended tragically.  It’s a novel based on a true story with a likable heroine, famous people, and a glimpse into the lives of America’s most intriguing family, set in wartime Europe and America. It’s hard to put down.  Adults interested in the Kennedy family would enjoy this historical novel. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Berkley Press, a division of Penguin Random House, and author Kerri Maher for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC of this fascinating novel.
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I'm not a fan of the Kennedys, but I found myself drawn into this story and enjoyed reading it. It was a warm perspective of the older children that didn't live long lives.
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A great historical fiction story  that I could not put down.  It made me feel  like i had a better understanding of the the social scene prior to and during WW11.  The story is well written and the characters very believable.  It did make me cry and thankful for the freedom that women have today.
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While not my regular type of genre, I truly enjoyed this book.  The characters were done in such a way, you could tell the author had done research or may have even known the Kennedy's.  The book gave me a lot of information about the way this young gal had grown up, what was expected of her and the way she fought against it or rebelled in a sense.  Excellent read that brings out a vast array of emotions.  
Will be reviewing in Chapter Chatter Pub, closer to time or publish date.
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5++ stars

I absolutely loved this book and plan to recommend it to everyone I know.  The Kennedy Debutante tells the story of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.  As I began reading the book, I realized how little I knew about her or any of the lesser known siblings of these two famous men. Maher masterfully unveils Kick’s complex story interweaving details of her staunch Catholic upbringing, her desire to please her strict mother, the effects of her father’s focus on his sons and his ineffectiveness as the U.S.’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, and her relationship with her close-in-age siblings.  Overarching a significant portion of the story is Kick’s relationship with Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire and a devout Protestant.  Her Catholicism and his Protestant background created a far greater issue for them with both families than I would have supposed would be the case. 

While Kick is the focus of The Kennedy Debutante, Maher interweaves tidbits about the other Kennedy siblings, particularly those she was close to - Joe Jr., Rosemary, Jack, and occasionally Eunice.  It was fascinating to learn about their time in London, Jack’s relationships with numerous women, Joe Jr.’s feelings of being overshadowed by his younger, charismatic brother Jack, and many other interesting tidbits.  I also liked learning more about the Mitfords through Kick’s close relationship with Deborah Mitford.

Fighting every inclination I had, I waited to Google Kick until I completed the book.  Usually when I start a historical fiction novel and encounter people with whom I am unfamiliar, I immediately look them up to learn more about them and put them in context.  However, in this instance, I loved The Kennedy Debutante so much that I did not want to spoil the story, and I was very thankful that I waited.  I laughed when I finished the book and immediately turned to the Author’s Note (frequently one of my favorite parts of reading historical fiction).  Maher’s first sentence started with “Allow me to save you the rush to Google….” as she then proceeded to provide more details on Kick’s life and how she came to write Kick’s story.

The Kennedy Debutante will certainly have a highlighted spot on my top ten list for 2018.  Maher hit it out of the park with her debut novel, and I look forward to reading her future endeavors.  I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story – it is a fascinating tale of a strong, independent woman and a glimpse into the lives of a famous American family who endured more heartbreak than one family should have to bear.  Grab some tissues before you start the book – you will need them!
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