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(Debutantes #1)

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  568 ratings  ·  103 reviews
The first in a series of historical romances set in the roaring 1920s, perfect for Downton Abbey fans

It's 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing, and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy, and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Pan Macmillan Childrens (first published August 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.21  · 
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 ♥ Rebecca ♥
Mar 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Tweens who like dresses
The summary and title for this are rather misleading. The story revolves around 4 sisters, all named after flowers. The oldest is Violet at 18, Daisy and Poppy are twins at 16, and Rose is the youngest at 12. Each sister has a different hair colour; black, red, blonde, and brown, which is rather ridiculous and extremely unlikely. The MC is Daisy, 16, blonde, and an aspiring film director. Her and her sisters all have a hobby that keeps them extremely occupied. Daisy is constantly filming somethi ...more
Premeditating: I am incredibly wary of young adult historical fiction. I won't even look twice at those pretty dresses and flashy tales about young women in the hight of glamour any more. I have been disillusioned that a beautiful cover means it will be a beautiful book. ... But oh my god! This cover takes the cake. It. is. amazing. So yes, I will be reading this because of the cover, even if reviews start trickling in that call this another outright costume fiction flop. I am a proud cover junk ...more
Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page)
Debutantes is going to be quite a challenging book for me to review. This is another book where I was quite honestly blinded by the beauty of the cover - just look at it, isn't it gorgeous? I did of course read the blurb and whilst I don't read all that much historical fiction, what I have read I have enjoyed, so I was excited to give this one a go.

I will admit that I wasn't immediately taken with this book when I started with it. It's a bit of a slow burner and rather than having much action or
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: debutantes, poor, family, friends, secrets.

Fluff, but it just didn't do it for me.

A lot of aspects were really annoying, like how they were so poor they couldn't have a fire in winter but all had pocket money. It was frustrating to read and didn't make sense.

Violet reminded me a bit of Rose in I Capture the Castle, but despite this I intensely disliked her. She was just such a cow. In fact, I don't think I liked a single one of the characters. Not even Daisy, who was probably the most l
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Debutantes is a fun, light and enjoyable read. Set in 1920’s England, the Derrington sisters each have different personalities, and they do not blend together – they all are individual characters, with different aspirations. The first book focuses mainly on Daisy, who is interesting and hopes to become a film director. Violet, one of her sisters, hoped to be a debutante and come out for a season in London. Poppy loved jazz and had a band with locals in their town. Rose wanted to be a newspaper e ...more
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
By Cora Harrison. Grade B+
Debutantes was my first encounter with the genre of historical fiction, and I am glad that I read it. Had it not been for this review copy I got, I would probably not be planning to try as many books as I can in this genre in the near future.
It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresse
Nov 22, 2012 rated it liked it
By Cora Harrison. Grade B+
Debutantes was my first encounter with the genre of historical fiction, and I am glad that I read it. Had it not been for this review copy I got, I would probably not be planning to try as many books as I can in this genre in the near future.
It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresse
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed Debutantes and found it to be a fun, light hearted read that transports the reader back to the glamorous age of the 1920’s. Full of vivid descriptions it shares the magical sheen of new technologies, risky fashions and scandalous love affairs unique to the time period. It is a must read for any fans of YA historical fiction!

Although the book is about all four of the Derrington girls, this story mostly focuses on the younger twin Daisy. A future film director to be – she is neve
Originally reviewed at:

What caught my attention when I first heard about Debutantes was the fact that it’s supposed to be ‘the perfect read for Downton Abbey fans’. As a huge fan of this show I just knew I had to read this – and it blew me away.

At the risk of sounding terribly gushy, there was nothing I didn’t like about this book. The story centres around the four Derrington sisters who, a few chapters in, I became really fond of. I love the fact that th
An unsolicited Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

The Derrington sisters Violet, Daisy, Rose, and Poppy all live in London all longing to be part of the rich lifestyle they used to live in. A lot of their wealth has been depleted due to their father's business decisions. Their only hope is for the eldest sister Violet to marry, and to debut her place in society as a dutiful wife to a wealthy man. The plo
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Beth

Sweet and sugary, Debutantes is a novel which is filled with girly excitement and enjoyment. Told mainly from the point of view of Daisy, the budding film director, we’re led through a journey of 1920s England and the lives of the four Derrington sisters. Each sister has her own dreams and aspirations and is fearless and enjoyable in her own way. As the first of a series it’s clear to see how Harrison is setting up her readers to experience things from the point of view of each sis
Megan (The Book Babe)
The Book Babe

Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.

I'm a big fan of historical YA as a genre. That being said, I wasn't a big fan of this book. It was heartbreakingly slow-- to the point that nothing really happened. I may like historical, but I like a little mystery or intrigue. This didn't deliver on that front.

There was a mystery, but I found it trivial. The hints weren't very well done, because I figured out the mystery long before it was time. I'm not a huge fan of that, but in a world whe
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own
I really wanted to love this book. I mean, who wouldn't with such a gorgeous cover? I just.. Couldn't get into the book at all. The life-changing surprise wasn't actually much of a surprise, and it could easily be guessed about 1/4 of the way through the book, and I didn't particularly like any of the sisters. I didn't DISLIKE them exactly, but I wouldn't have cared much if something happened to one of them. Basically, the thing that annoyed me most was Violet. Violet is incredibly focused on ma ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
The blurb and cover of this book made it look much better than it was, especially due to the tagline: "The season of parties, romance and secrets is about to begin..." First of all, we are only told that the parties were attended by Violet, although are given very little detail about what happened at them. There is literally NO romance throughout the novel, and there's one secret, which I guessed right at the beginning, before Elaine was even introduced. Also, the blurb says that "Daisy is about ...more
Oct 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: owned
Such a beautiful cover; such a waste of time! I was not planning on buying a book that day, but I loved how pretty the cover was, and the story seemed interesting. Instead of the interesting story however, all I got was predictable plot, extremely bad writing, and zero connection. This story is told in such a dispassionate way that not only could I never like the characters, most of them left a bad taste in my mouth as well. I couldn't even keep up with which sister was which; they're all named ...more
Debutantes is a really interesting read which I enjoyed.

The story revolves around 4 sisters who come from a formerly wealthy family who have fallen on hard times but trying to keep up appearances within a society bound by strict class divisions. I loved getting to know the girls and their different personalities and views on the world.

The one thing I really enjoyed about this book was the insight it gave you into the historical setting. You get a real feeling for the glitz and glamour of the 192
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I bought this book from one of the books on offer. Basically I got it for a very got price.
The setting of the novel is beautiful I generally love that time the novel was set in. Everything about royalty as well as the clothing and girly-ness of everything.

So let's get to the point ! The back of the book cover saying there was a secret and such ...
I expected more mystery in the story.
How Daisy easily found out who her mother is and such. I expected more of a difficulty and guessing it's someone
Aug 04, 2012 marked it as to-read
oh WOW the cover is so lovely!
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally posted here:

I discovered Cora Harrison a couple of years ago when I picked up I was Jane Austen's Best Friend (review) after choosing it as 'the other book' in one of the classic Waterstone's 3 for 2 and found myself pleasantly surprised by the depth of knowledge on Jane Austen, the subtle parodies and hints of Austen's own novels and just the lovely simplistic writing that made it perfect for a summer read on holiday.
I also bought the sequel,
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the cover may be beautiful and the blurb compelling, this book didn't quite resonate with me. I read it as a fourteen-year-old, as I have an affinity for beautiful dresses and suspense (as the blurb hinted towards) but it didn't entertain me as much as I wanted to.

The plot was quite bland, in my opinion, so it was a long read for me. That being said, at fourteen years old, not many people were into historical fiction- I wasn't an exception. It is quite a light read and it would most likel
Lea Randall
Mar 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Downton Abbey, young readers
This book is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey.


- I felt very immersed in the time period. Loved the vibes of Beech Grove Manor
- I like the relationships between the sisters
- Learned more about how films were made back in the 1920s


- The romance was lacking and what was included was quite innocent. This would be great for younger readers, but I'm in my mid-twenties and just wanted more
- I guessed the twisted pretty early on and spent most of the novel just waiting for the mystery to res
isabelle x
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved all the characters APART from Violet. I just found her a unpredictable character she could be nice , but she could also be nasty. However I found the other girls likeable and easy to relate to.

Nothing really seemed to happen to happen until the very end but i quite liked it as I needed a bit of a break from action-packed books.
Brittany Morrison
Not much of a mystery.

I really like YA and I really like time pieces, so I wanted to like this, but really couldn’t. The descriptions of the clothes and houses and parties gave a good feel, but the “mystery” wasn’t much of a mystery at all and it was easily figured out about a quarter way through the book.
This was exceptionally bland and needed a ton of editing. The "romance" between (view spoiler). And not much of anything even happened? Over the course of the book I don't feel i Know these characters any better than before I read it. ...more
Nancy  Drew
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Is there a way to do 4 1/2 stars? Cause that's what I'd rate it. It was good but not quite 5 stars. But I did love it and want to read the next one. ...more
Faranis Osman
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars because this book will take you to somewhere else
Apr 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
Not for me, didn’t like the style or story - not a lot happened
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
1920's, Two ambitious young sisters out to find a wealthy husband each. Light and Lovely! ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it

Debutantes really made me feel like I’d been transported back to the 1920s! I loved the dynamic between the four sisters and all the great descriptions – if you like historical fiction, then this book is for you.

Daisy, Poppy, Violet and Rose were all likeable girls (though Violet could get on my nerves at times) but I think my favourite was Daisy. She wanted to be a famous filmmaker and really didn’t care too much about dances and marriage – though she did worry about her eldest sister Viol
Heidi Davis
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is such a sweet book about 4 sisters and the eldest sister’s season in London. The relationships between the sisters are just darling and I particularly loved how each sister had a different hobbie that they so enjoyed and that the reader got to share in. It has elements of romance, humour and mystery and is just such a sweet story. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading stories of first love and historical fiction.
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The Young Adult H...: Debutantes - January's Read 1 1 Jan 01, 2015 02:26PM  

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Cora Harrison worked as a headteacher before she decided to write her first novel. She has since published twenty-six children's novels. My Lady Judge was her first book in a Celtic historical crime series for adults that introduces Mara, Brehon of the Burren. Cora lives on a farm near the Burren in the west of Ireland.


Other books in the series

Debutantes (2 books)
  • Debutantes in Love (Debutantes, #2)

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