Friday, September 18, 2020

Fiction/Nonfiction Mini-Reviews: The Debutante Edition

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2018)

Eighteen-year-old Sawyer Taft and her mom have been estranged from their family her whole life - until her grandmother approaches her with an offer.  She'll pay for Sawyer's education, if Sawyer joins her high-society life and completes debutante season.  Sawyer becomes friends with some of the other debutantes, but also becomes involved in more than one scandal.

For some reason I thought this was going to be kind of a fluffy read set in the world of debutantes, with pretty dresses and good manners.  It definitely was not, but I still enjoyed it!  Our main character Sawyer is a reluctant deb - she's gritty and sarcastic.  Her main motivation for accepting her grandmother's offer is to find her biological dad, thinking it might be someone in the society set.  Although we see the girls attend a few deb events, it's more about what happens between those scenes and the trouble the girls (and their elders) get into.  So many scandals, so many secrets!  I loved the snappy writing, the quick pace, and all the banter.   There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and how they're all related to each other, but it was a fun ride!  4 stars

The Season by Kristen Richardson (2019)

In The Season, Kristen Richardson explores the history of the debutante ritual, from its beginnings in England to its spread to the American colonies and beyond.

Although rather short, I thought this was an interesting social history and look into a world that most people will never experience.  Richardson looks at how initially the debutante ritual was a way for young women to find husbands as they were introduced into society and later began to include a charitable element.  I enjoyed the exploration of the ways the tradition differed between the American north and south in the antebellum period and late 19th century.  I also enjoyed her look at current trends in a couple American cities.  I did think she got a little snarky when describing her experience attending a debutante ball; she herself refused the opportunity, and I kind of felt like she was judging others for choosing to do it.  3.5 stars

18 comments:

  1. I am really interested in learning more about the world of the debutante. It sounds like a good glimpse into their world despite the author's judgements.

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  2. I enjoyed the Debutantes duology. I sort of wished they had more adventures.

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  3. Ohh! These sound fun! I'll have to check out Little White Lies.

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  4. I’ve always been curious about why debutants and similar events exist. We don’t have them here. They’ve always seemed like southern things to me. It sounds like an interesting book.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I always associated it with the south, too, but there always was (and is) a wealthy population in the northeast, so it makes sense there, too. And all over the world! It was very interesting.

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  5. The history of the debutante tradition definitely sounds interesting!

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  6. These sounds so interesting, I remember seeing the London debs in posh magazines when I was younger.

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  7. Ok, Little White Lies sounds so good! And with much potential for some delicious secrets!

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  8. Oooh, Little White Lies sounds fantastic. I'm like you and was totally expecting something light and fluffy, but all of that drama sounds too good to pass up.

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  9. I think I may already have commented on this post, so apologies if this is a duplicate! I'm really interested in The Season, although I was surprised from your description to see that it was about the US. For some reason, I associate the idea of debutante balls with Europe. Seems like a fascinating read!

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    1. I did, too, and then I thought about the American South and that made sense to me!

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