Cover Image: The Kennedy Debutante

The Kennedy Debutante

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Berkley for a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. 

THE KENNEDY DEBUTANTE was a tragic, yet heartwarming tale of the 4th Kennedy child, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. 

Author gives a wonderfully vivid account of the life and love story surrounding Kathleen Kennedy. I’m sure many of us are familiar with the Kennedy sons. Presidents, lieutenants in the Navy, senators and Attorney Generals. Their stories are well known and easily traceable on the internet and historical books. The Kennedy women, on the other hand, are sometimes left in the shadows. Kathleen had a extremely short life but she made the most of the little bit of time she had. 

The details presented in this novel is remarkable. You can honestly feel her mental struggle of wanting to break away from the Kennedy name and carve a way for herself. Maher portrays the details effortlessly and allows the reader to view the tragic plight she faces daily. The love story that springs up is tasteful and makes the reader want to root for them despite what actually happens in real life. 

Im growing to really love historical fiction. Can’t wait to read my next one!
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I enjoyed the historical background of the book and the insights into the Kennedy family however, the story seemed to lag for me. I grew bored in the middle and started skimming the rest. I would have preferred more of a story and more interaction and depth to the characters.
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This is a great historical fiction of Kathleen, "Kick", Kennedy--focusing on her life in London beginning in 1938 as the Ambassador's daughter. While I am familiar with the black and white history of her life, I really enjoyed the details given this period of time. Kathleen is portrayed as the female counterpart of her older counterpart of her male brothers, Joe, Jr. and Jack in that she was not afraid to speak her mind, stand up for her convictions, and take risks. While history books note the facts, the author takes the reader into Kathleen heart and inner struggles as she forges her own path in life. I enjoyed it so much I read it in just a few settings. Highly recommend!!

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin/Random House for an advance digital copy of this book.  My review is voluntary,
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This was a slow burn book for me. It took some time for me to get invested and for the story to pick up for me. Once it got moving, I didn't want to put it down.

I admitted when I read The Summer I Met Jack that I know little to nothing about the Kennedy family. I found this book extremely interesting to read about Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy. She was devote to her faith and her family.
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Let me just say I'm so glad I have a month to let this book marinate in my mind for a while. I'm undecided as to whether to give this book 4 or 4.5 stars on my website. Here it will have to settle for 4 stars for now. 

I have always been a Kennedy aficionado, one of those people who could not get enough of them and I plan on definitely getting this for my boyfriend for Christmas, even. I think he'd love it. It is factual accurate even though it is a fictional story. It is written with dazzling style, although you could complain that the beginning is a little on the slow side. I would say that is an intentional choice on the author's part and all to necessary. 

There are way too many essential characters at work here for the author to set-up the foundation for the essential elements to come: romance (fulfilled and unfulfilled, religion, WWII, conflict, setting).  Knowing what many of my grandparents and great aunts went through and the stories they regaled of hardships and rations during these times, it was of stark contrast to what high-society didn't go through and didn't sacrifice in the same breath. 

Needless to say my review will be more thorough and pulled apart on, amazon (if you would like), posted on twitter, edelweiss (unofficiallly) , goodreads and dischords closer to its publishing date of October 2nd. However, I wanted to post this here to give a first impression review. Thank you for the opportunity to read such a fascinating historical fictional piece. It is rare that an author is so often able to get it THIS right. But she really nailed it on the head. Well done!
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Opening line:
"Presentation day."

THE KENNEDY DEBUTANTE opens with Kathleen, or Kick, Kennedy on the day she will be presented to the King and Queen of England. 

This was an interesting historical read of "who's who" in both English and American upper crust of people. Kick meets and makes friends, is loyal to her staunch Catholic family, and falls in love with the wrong man. If you want a quick peek the Kennedy family and their NINE children, this is the book for you. It's Kick's story, but there is a lot about her interaction with her family. I HAD to look up the family and read a bit more about them, so in that way, this book was good. But I had a hard time reading as it was more of a narrative  than a story to get emotionally invested in.
Her life may have been short, but she lived it fully.

Thank you to netgalley for the read!
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"The Kennedy Debutante" by Kerri Maher brings to light a lesser known Kennedy, JFK's younger sister Kick Kennedy.  The story begins in 1939 as John Sr is serving as Ambassador to England hoping to keep Hitler and his intended war far away from England.  Kick, a Catholic, soon meets and falls in love with Billy Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington and Protestant.  As the war nears, the Kennedy family departs to the US, and Kick tries to return to England in anyway she can to be with Billy.

I really enjoyed the beginning of the story and learning more about Kick Kennedy and the family dynamics within the Kennedy family.  The relationship between Kick and her mother, as well as between JFK and her sister Rosemary was fascinating.  Towards the middle I started to lose interest.  I felt like it dragged on and I wish the story would've also included all that happened leading up to her own tragic death at a young age.  I think those interested and fascinated with the Kennedy family will really connect with this story and appreciate it's well researched details.
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I have always been fascinated with the Kennedy Family for years, especially the Kennedy women. This book provided an interesting mix of real life and backstory to bring Kick Kennedy's story to life. I like how the story presented her as a woman torn between the life she wants to live and the constraints of family life. I thought the story was well written, seemed to follow what has been documented about the family and told Kick's story!
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I really enjoyed this book. Not a lot of literature focuses on Kick Kennedy (when there is a lot about the rest of her family), and it was really interesting to learn more about her. Kick seems like she was a very vibrant person, and it is great to see her get the spotlight for a little bit within her famous family. 

One of the best parts about this book is that Kick becomes such a relatable character. Yes, she is wealthy and doing things that most of us will never have the chance to do. But she seems so human. She has human struggles, worries, and even triumphs. I was rooting for her relationship with Billy the whole story, and was so glad when they finally got together. 

I also loved how the author used actual quotes and telegrams that were found in Kick's diary and scrapbook. Though this was a fictional novel, that tethers it to reality.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

I enjoyed the fictionalization of Kathleen Kennedy's life in The Kennedy Debutante. I thought the portrayal of Kick's struggle with family dynamics and also with her faith was interesting and well done by the author. I wish the book had continued until Kick boarded the plane, but perhaps the book was getting too long. I appreciated the author's note at the end as well.
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I’m usually not a fan of fictional accounts of historical figures, but found this one charming and engrossing. The Kennedy Debutante focuses on Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy and her family during the London and World War II years. Although the story revolves around Kick, insight is also given into her parents and siblings.  

Maher conveys a good sense of the times both culturally and politically as well as the changes that war would bring. The emphasis on the dilemma of a mixed religion marriage became a bit tedious, but, given the social positions of Kick and her husband to be as well as family pressure and the era, one can see its importance and, knowing what happened to both of them, the futility of it in the scheme of life.  

Well researched, this is an excellent debut for Kerri Maher.
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Since I was young, I have always been fascinated by the Kennedy family. I have read about Kick and knew her story, but this was a 
lovely overture  to her legacy.  Nothing but praise for The Kennedy Debutante. Thank you NetGalley.
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This was an amazing book.  Camelot was before my time but I do know about Jack and Jackie.  It makes sense then that the whole Kennedy clan was before my time; however, I had read about Rosemary Kennedy but didn't even know about Kit.  I loved her spirit and fight and thought the author did a wonderful job of introducing her to us.  

I reserve 5 stars for books I plan on reading again and this is one of them!!
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The Kennedy Debutante has all the elements of a sweeping romantic novel:  a fiery heroine, a dashing young noble, and an almost impossible choice set among the backdrop of WWII.  What makes this book even more compelling is that it's based on a true story.  This is a truly enjoyable book of historical fiction.

What I Liked:


As an young, wealthy American, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy is the toast of London in 1939.  Through Kick we see glittering nightclubs, posh country parties, and behind the scenes politics.  

Later, when WWII break out, the action takes place in both America and England.  There were wonderful details of fashion, food, and strict etiquette throughout the story.  Plus other members of Kick's famous family show up, such as Jack, Bobby, and Teddy.  These little glimpses of Kennedy life are very telling of how those famous brother behaved later in life (lots of dad's secret/not so secret mistresses).


Kick is a compelling character.  She craves independence, but also the elusive approval of her mother.  With her strict Catholic upbringing, she is conflicted about her choices when it comes to romance.  I also liked that she was a fiercely loyal friend who went out of her way for others.

Kick's mother, Rose, is also complicated.  While she is a strong woman raising nine children, you would think she would be all loving and nurturing, right?  Not so!  Rose was a staunch Catholic rule follower, and any female who deviated from that was mercilessly cut off.  Of course, her husband and sons broke the rules all the time.  But perhaps her tough love approach is a way of protecting her daughters reputations, as women who got out of line were outcasts in their world.

Billy is the dashing young noble who captures Kick's heart.  He is shy when we first meet him.  But as the war progresses, Billy begins to understand his duty to his family and his country.  Can he marry a Catholic? 


The main personal conflict for Kick is whether or not she should marry Billy who is a Protestant.  This may not seem like a big deal, but for a Kennedy, the world's most famous Catholics, it is earth-shattering.  Will she turn her back on her family for love?  Can she compromise her beliefs?  As a Catholic myself, I understand this problem only too well.  


Kick's faith is beautifully represented.  Prayer, church attendance, and seeking the advice of priests are integral aspects of her life.  Billy's family is also shown to be solid Protestants.  I love books where people are living their faith, whatever it may be.


The romance is sweeping in this book.  Just as Kick and Billy become serious, WWII breaks out and she is forced to move back to America.  Even though it seems impossible, both Kick and Billy yearn for each other over the years.  Without giving spoilers, I will say that there is some major heartbreak in this book.  I was crying by the end of this book.    

What I Was Mixed About:


The story was very slow at the beginning, focusing on the many parties attended by Kick  and the social connections she formed.  Maybe, I didn't respond to this because I didn't know who these people were.  But reading this left me with a feeling that Kick was a very superficial person as a teenager.  

Kick does mature and start to see the bigger picture as the story progresses.  Perhaps this was the goal of the first part of the story?


Even though I knew that Kick and her society friends were wealthy, I was surprised that the characters didn't seem to feel any of the pains of food shortages and the Blitz.  These were alluded to only briefly in the book, but I wish there would have been more on the civilian impact of the war.
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Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy is not the first Kennedy that comes to mind but she will be after you finish this informative and touching gem. 
Brought up to put family and religion first, Kick had the misfortune to fall in love with the one person who could drive a wedge between herself and her very important strict Catholic family - a Protestant from a titled British family.  Billy's religion and sense of duty and family were just as strong so there was no easy compromise.  Kerri Maher paints a very readable picture of the Kennedy clan as well as how the British aristocracy dealt with the early days of World War II.  Kick gave the British a very American "kick in the pants" when it came to doing her part for the country she came to love.  My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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I enjoyed the historical fiction of this book tracing the influences of Kathleen Kennedy from her father’s experiences in England pre-WWII to her religious questions, pursuits of marriage and career and relationships with her famous parents and siblings. I liked the pre-WWII History of how England viewed the US political climate prior to participating in WWII. Overall I enjoyed it but the parts in Billy (her husband’s ) pov were very stilted and not well done. I was hoping it would have more complete portraits of historical figures. I did find it compelling and wanted to finish it. Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy.
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I found this an intriguing book with information about a little known Kennedy daughter. It covers a 6 year span from 1938-1944 in the life of Kathleen Kennedy who was sister to Joe Kennedy Jr.  It is a well written historical novel with actual quotes and historical people except for 2. I was thankful for the end notes by the author.
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I was thrilled to receive this book because I love all things Kennedy. I was that teenager buying a subscription to George even though I didn't know anything about Politics because I loved the Kennedy's so much. I like most people have heard about the Kennedy men; along with Rosemary and Eunice but I hadn't heard about Kick. 

Kerri Maher lets us into the world of the 4th Kennedy child Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy as she is being introduced into society in 1938. The book is a vivid history lesson and romance all rolled into one. It is also a testament to faith and family. The Kennedy's are definitely a loyal and faithful bunch. Kerri Maher did her research and brought this family and their friends to life for me. I felt like I was reading a biography on Kick and not a piece of fiction. 

You will find yourself rooting for Kick the entire novel. You know in your heart her life and the events of her life have already happened but you will catch yourself pulling for all the good things to fall into place for her, her family and her friends. Do yourself a favor and wait till after you read the book to google Kick. 

I think this book will be a hit. If you have any interest in the Kennedy's or you just like reading about strong women in history you should pick up this book. 

I received this book as an advance copy from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing/Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.
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The Kennedy Debutante is a captivating read about one of the rebellious daughter of one of America's greatest political dynasties, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy. An inside look at the life that the family wanted to be hidden from the public but a woman who wanted to live her life to the fullest. I absolutely loved this book and plan to recommend it to everyone I know.
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Always enjoy books that deal with Historical fiction.  Did not know that much about Kick Kennedy, truly fascinating.  Will definitely recommend..
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