Tuesday, November 9, 2010

'The Debutante' by Kathleen Tessaro (TLC Tour Stop)

Genre: Fiction

About The Debutante (from TLC) A gifted artist, Cate has come to London from New York to escape her recent past. Working for her aunt’s auction house, she is sent down to Devon to value the contents of Endsleigh House, the once gracious but now crumbling estate of a former socialite. There, hidden in the back of a dusty bookshelf, Cate discovers an old shoebox. Inside is a strange assortment of objects: an exquisite pair of dancing shoes circa 1930; a diamond brooch; a photograph of a young sailor; a dance card; and a pearl and emerald Tiffanys bracelet. Intrigued by her find, Cate sets out to solve the mystery of the box, becoming immersed in the story of its owner, Baby Blythe. Bright, beautiful, and reckless, Baby was the most famous debutante of her generation . . . and the most dangerous. As the clues begin to reveal a shocking tale of destructive, addictive love, Cate finds herself being drawn deeper into Baby’s tragic life story—a story that will force Cate to face some dark truths about her own.

Why I wanted to read this book: I've never heard of this author but after reading the premise of the story I thought it would make for an interesting read. I was intrigued with the idea of finding a box with various items in it and then setting out to explore the story behind them.
What worked for me:

  • Of course, if you've read my blog long enough you'll know that I fall in love easily with all things England. So of course, I fell in love with London and the grand Georgian home tucked away by the water.
  • The vulnerability of both Cate and Henry. Each had been hurt in different ways, but they both allowed it to interfere with their ability to move on with their lives and to entertain the idea of finding real love.
  • I really liked how the author wrote the story in such a manner that Cate and Baby's life were very parallel to each other even though they were separated by sixty years.
  • I loved the letters that Baby wrote to her sister. They helped shape your impression of Baby and allowed the reader to get a personal glimpse into her world.
  • I felt like I was watching the movie, "Possession" where two people find clues tucked into the letters exchanged between two poets and therefore, find out a deep, dark secret. This is the same idea here, but Cate finds a box filled with trinkets that she believes belonged to the elusive Baby. She follows the clues in the box and finally solves the mystery of what happened to Baby.
Recommend?  Most certainly! I found this book to be extremely entertaining and I actually finished it in one day!!! If you enjoy your books a bit on the dark side of human nature, with a dash of mystery and romance mixed in, then I think you will like this one.

My Rating: 4/5

Thank you to TLC Book Tours. for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review.
My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.
They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.

About Kathleen

Born in Pittsburgh, Kathleen Tessaro emigrated to London where she worked as an actress in films, television, and theater, while training to be a drama teacher and voice coach. She is the author of the novels Elegance, Innocence, and The Flirt. Kathleen currently lives in Pennsylvania.

Please visit the other tour stops HERE.

© 2010, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Like you I was immediately drawn to the book by the premise. I think it is fun exploring old objects and looking into past lives that once owned those objects.

    This sounds like a amazing read, and one that I would certainly enjoy too.

    Fantastic review.

  2. Wowwwwwww! This sounds GOOD Staci! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  3. This reminds me of how fascinated I was with looking in shoeboxes in my mother's closet! (she stored all kinds of stuff in there also). And I have to say, wow, this author has great hair! :--)

  4. I'm intrigued by the mystery of that box! This sounds delightful!

  5. I have heard lots of good things about this author, but haven't read her yet. One of these days!

  6. Had my eye on this one, glad you liked it. Almost watched Possession, but chose another movie instead.

  7. Sounds like a good one, Staci. Love the cover, too!

  8. Staci, I've been following you a bit now, but I didn't 'clue in' that we both enjoy a love for all things England. Yahhhh.

    This books looks great.... my pile of wanna reads grows.

  9. wow, sounds like a really good one.

  10. I have been wanting to try a Tessaro book, why I haven't ..well perhaps I have not seen a glowing review before now :)

  11. Great premise for a book. I think we've all found treasures in boxes but to take it and build a whole story from that - great idea.

  12. This is on my wish list! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

  13. Great review, thanks
    Have this on my wishlist


  14. I must echo everyone else and say that this book sounds fantastic! So fantastic that I'm off to request it on my library's website...thanks Staci! Great review :)

  15. I was wondering about this one Staci, and yours is the first review I've read --glad u enjoyed it.

  16. Wow! You finished this book in one day - it must be good!

    Your review reminds me of another book (I can't recall the name!) that is set in France. I believe it's coming out in January and is a Reagan Arthur book. I have to find that book now! Nice review, Staci!

  17. You're really on a roll with great books lately!

  18. The dark side of human nature with a dash of mystery and romance? Definitely sounds like a winning combination to me!

    I can't wait to read this one for myself - it sounds SO GOOD.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  19. pretty cover. and it sounds interesting too. :)

  20. Sounds like another great book, you have been reading really good books recently.

  21. Oh I am so adding this one to the list. I like all things English also. We'll have to have teas together some day.

  22. The premise is quite interesting on this one from your description, Staci. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review!

  23. I like most things England too, but this is the first I've seen of this one. Looks good.


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