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The Reluctant Debutante

(Cotillion Ball Saga #1)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  41 reviews
In 1855 New York, Ginger Fitzpatrick has absolutely no interest in taking part in the newest rage in America-the Cotillion Ball. Instead, Ginger would rather be rallying for women's rights-at least until she meets her brother's best friend from St. Louis, a dark mysterious man named Joseph Lafontaine, who ignites her passion and makes her question if love and marriage is s ...more
ebook, 148 pages
Published July 2nd 2012 by Crimson Romance (first published July 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Sharon Lee
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Becky Lower is a talented and gifted writer who has taken bits and pieces of American history and created a lovely and adventurous tale filled with love, suspense, and romance that makes this reader fill as if I am present in "The Reluctant Debutante". The heroine, Ginger, is strong-willed and determined to be her own person. Yet, in order to attain her one true dream of leaving NYC and heading west to St. Louis, Missouri, she abides by her parents' wishes by attending the Cotillion Ball. From p ...more
Amanda Shalaby
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Becky Lower’s The Reluctant Debutante is a well-researched, richly drawn portrait of 1855 America that intertwines a number of historical events and persons with a very romantic and sensual tale. Vastly entertaining, with a fabulous tie-in to the famous Gasconade Bridge train disaster, Lower skillfully constructs a story full of challenges, betrayals, love and enduring friendships that has a way of pulling you into her character’s lives and wanting more. All in all, The Reluctant Debutante is a ...more
A.E. Jones
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Becky Lower's debut novel, The Reluctant Debutante, is a wonderful addition to American Historical Romance. With a market flooded with English Historicals (and don't get me wrong, I love them) it is refreshing to delve into American history in a unique way.

The heroine, Ginger Fitzpatrick, lives up to her flavorful name. She is a woman not willing to continue living in the same way as the women before her. She meets and works with Amelia Bloomer to help advance women's rights. In an ironic twist,
Miranda Liasson
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book--Lower's debut--takes you from high society of 1850's New York City to St. Louis and the burgeoning West. Feisty red-haired Ginger Fitzpatrick, the oldest of nine siblings, prefers to be friends with Elizabeth Blackwell and Amelia Bloomer than empty-headed debutantes, and would rather work in her father's bank than attend the Cotillion Ball. Joseph Lafontaine, her brother's friend, is half-French Canadian, half Ojibwa Indian. He is upstanding, brave, and understands that his Indian blo ...more
Rena Koontz
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The first time Ginger meets Joseph, the reader knows they belong together. But Author Becky Lower doesn't make it that easy.
The Reluctant Debutante takes a walk back to the 1800s, when women showed their breasts, not their brains, and introduces us to Ginger Fitzpatrick, a champion of women's rights. We also meet Joseph Lafontaine, a French-Canadian hunk who makes cooking over an open fire sound like foreplay.
Ms. Lower incorporates rich descriptions with colorful situations and takes us down a p
Alyssa Greatbanks
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I am totally at a loss of what to say about how much I LOVED this book. Normally I'm not super into books/movies set in this time period, but I thought I would give it a shot because the summary sounded interesting, and I am quite glad that I did!

The characters were all wonderfully written, VERY "fleshed-out". I loooved Ginger's personality. It is just so amazing for someone in this time period and social setting. I could very much relate with her.

Overall I thought it was extremely well written,
Micah Persell
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for any history buff. From the opening chapter, I knew I held something special in my hands. The heroine--strong, independent Ginger Fitzpatrick--is Bloomer-deep in developing women's rights. The hero, Joseph Lafontaine, is half French-Canadian, half Ojibwa Indian. The moment they meet, the sparks fly. This alone would be enough to get me hooked (when was the last time you read a well-written Western/Native American romance?), but then author Becky Lower took it even further ...more
Sheri Ferguson Edmondson
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. At first, I thought it seemed a bit "sweet" for my tastes, but as I read further, I found myself becoming quite attached to both the hero and heroine. I'm impressed that the author chose to confront racism against Native Americans. You don't usually find heavier issues addressed in romance novels, and this was a refreshing change of pace.
Also, the historical information regarding the Gasconade Bridge collapse really added to the novel and provided an
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rachel T
Combined review of the first three books of this series featured at THE READING CAFE

4.5 for this book!


The Cotillion Ball series begins by introducing us to the Fitzpatrick family. Dad, Mom and many young and older siblings that are named after herbs and spices. In this book, our focus is on Ginger Fitzpatrick. Ginger is a bit of a rebel in her own way. She is all about woman’s rights and is q
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Reluctant Debutante by Becky Lower – overall: 4/5; tension: 3.5/5; flames: 2/5

This is Becky Lower’s break out story set in 1855 New York and takes us on a journey to the newly found Hampton’s and blazing iron trail to St. Louis. The story is stocked full of interesting characters and situations that have a promise of more stories to come. This is one summer read you won’t want to put down until you hit the end. A great beach read.

Ginger Fitzpatrick is a spitfire in more ways than one and is
Katherine Bone
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Reluctant Debutante, set in 1855, encompasses a time when expansion led eager souls westward. (Love the first meet in this book!) Ginger Fitzpatrick, determined to get to St. Louis to improve her father's banking business, pacifies her parents by first agreeing to take part in the social season. Joseph Lafontaine has come from St. Louis to New York to sell horses. Every inch the son of a French/Canadian, his arrival takes debutantes in the social whirl by storm, to include Ginger. But Joseph ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suze by: Won from author on TRRannic party
I won this book from the author in the TRR anniv party.
This book is right up my street - historical with humour, I do like a feisty heroine too, dealing with issues, merging fact and fiction (I do like to find out facts!) and a happy ending (though if I had to say anything, I thought Ginger went a bit too soppy at the end).
Overall, a great read and the start of a series, so I'll be following to see which historical events are covered in future.
Lily M Knight
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never been interested in historical romance until I picked up one of Becky's books. Her easy way of telling stories had me hooked. I love the way Ginger sees the world and wants to change it. Her sweet romance is one I'll never forget. ...more
Deborah Cordes
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A magnificent read! I guarantee you'll love journeying to 1855 New York to meet the beautiful and fiercely bright Ginger, the reluctant debutante who would rather wear bloomers and protest for women's rights than dance and flirt at the Cotillion Ball. Becky Lower writes with a wonderful voice and she has a masterful grasp of the history of the era. As a historian, I fully appreciate her marvelous research skills and how deftly she weaves both rich and subtle details into her story. This novel go ...more
Peggy Bird
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not that I don't enjoy a good story about dukes and earls but it was so refreshing to read an historical romance set in the United States instead of England. This first book in Becky Lower's Cotillion Ball series takes place in New York just before the Civil War. The heroine, Ginger Fitzpatrick, has been pressured into making her debut in the new cotillion, putting herself on the marriage market. Ginger is more interested in working in her father's bank and in the efforts of Amelia Bloomer to fu ...more
Janet C-B
This is a historical fiction / romance story set in New York City and St. Louis, MO in the 1850's. The protagonist, Ginger, is a very strong-willed young woman who is more interested in campaigning for Women's Rights than following traditional social norms for her time. Ginger, meets up with her brother's friend from St. Louis, MO in NYC. She is quite attracted to this young man, who is not considered an appropriate suitor because of his mixed Canadian and Native American heritage. Ginger takes ...more
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fun little story. Lots of anachronism, but I didn't really hold it against the story, which was meant to be lighthearted anyway. I did find the setting of 1855 to be an odd choice; the story felt like it belonged in the Gilded Age (younger sons of English nobility showed up among other characters dotting the New York social set's life).

I think the only thing that slightly irritated me about the book was the strident feminism (of a 21st century stripe) of the main character; if it had only been t
InD'tale Magazine

Ms. Lower's novel has everything one would need for an epic historical romance - love, secrets, society and tragedy, all set against a well-researched backdrop of the Gasconade Bridge Train Disaster.

Read full review in the 2012 September issue of InD’tale Magazine.
Tammy Walton Grant
Reviewed for, September issue, 2.5 stars ...more
Suzi Love
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great insight into the history of New York and St.Louis and the expansion of the railway there.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Too many convenient coincidences.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great historical romance

I very much enjoyed this book, - devoured it in one sitting. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series.
Lucy Oliver
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a surprise this book was! I was expecting a simple historical romance and found an gem of a book, superbly researched with a real sense of history. The heroine, Ginger, is a campaigner for woman's rights (I loved the history of the bloomers), who falls for the half Native American, Joseph. Both the main characters were interesting and empathetic with their own goals to achieve. It was fascinating to read a different time period, which contained real historical references. Definitely recomme ...more
C.D. Hersh
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ginger Fitzpatrick is a modern woman. After all it is 1855 and she should not have to bend to the rules of society and a woman’s place in it. She wants nothing more than to continue working in her father’s bank and skip the plans her mother has for her for the coming season. Ultimately she surrenders because of the threat of her younger sisters being social outcasts because of her actions. Had she known how the season would turn out she might not have fought so much.

Joseph Lafontaine has come to
Ellen Parker
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Culture conflict.
Ginger Fitzpatrick, darling daughter of a New York banker, is unable to avoid entering society at the Cotillion ball. The only bit of hope she sees at the end of a long, boring summer is the promise from her father. If she completes the season scandal free, he will send her to St. Louis to join her brother in their newly established bank.
When Joseph Lafontaine accompanies his good friend from St. Louis to New York to sell horses and meet his family he expects trouble. But he doe
R.C. Matthews
This story held a lot of promise. I loved how the author developed a strong-willed heroine who embraced the temperance movement and an equally strong hero who embraced his half-Indian heritage. It made a lot of sense to me that such a woman would snub her nose at society and be with the man she loved. I would have liked to see more interaction between the H/h before they were declaring their love to each other. And the middle part of the book, while interesting because of the rich history with t ...more
Cary Morgan
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
At first glance, The Reluctant Debutante is a bright, colorful dance through the upper crust society of pre-Civil War New York. However, Becky Lower also shows us a world beyond the crinolines and lace, a world of racism, and the repression and the ‘socially acceptable’ marketing of young women. Despite these darker subjects, the cheerful determination of the heroine, Ginger, to overcome them and make her own way in the world brings a smile at every turn. Very much a woman of her own era, her bo ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's my review: I intended on reading only the first book in the series and then reading something else before coming back for book two. Instead, I read through all three that I had in three days. Then I found myself searching Amazon for the rest of the series before I even wrote my review. Apparently, I liked them a lot. Now back to Amazon. ...more
Jeanne Werth
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Definitely in my genre wheelhouse and so good that I couldn't wait to start the second book. A little trashy and definitely one that requires a lot of thinking but sometimes it's good to just get wrapped up in that kind of thing. ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 19, 2015 07:12AM  
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Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the United States in search of great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it in America on a covered wagon headed west or in Regency England. Her Cotillion Ball Series features the nine children from an upscale New York family prior to and duri ...more

Other books in the series

Cotillion Ball Saga (9 books)
  • The Abolitionist's Secret (Cotillion Ball Saga, #2)
  • Banking on Temperance (Cotillion Ball Saga, #3)
  • The Tempestuous Debutante (Cotillion Ball Saga, #4)
  • Blinded by Grace (Cotillion Ball Saga, #5)
  • The Duplicitous Debutante (Cotillion Ball Saga, #6)
  • Expressly Yours, Samantha (Cotillion Ball Saga, #7)
  • A Widow's Salvation (Cotillion Ball Saga, #8)
  • The Forgotten Debutante (Cotillion Ball Saga, #9)

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