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The Kennedy Debutante

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,993 ratings  ·  747 reviews

A captivating novel following the exploits of Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy, the forgotten and rebellious daughter of one of America's greatest political dynasties.

London, 1938. The effervescent "It girl" of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy moves in rarified circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the 20th c

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Berkley Books
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D.S. The debs discussed it at one point and said it meant: "Not safe in a taxi." They used it to describe certain young men! …moreThe debs discussed it at one point and said it meant: "Not safe in a taxi." They used it to describe certain young men! (less)

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Miranda Reads
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it

"I can see I'm going to have my hands full with you," he said.
"I'll see to it, sir."
Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy has it all - the fame, the riches, the glory. Her life is so tied up in the Kennedy legacy, that she hardly knows where they end and she begins.

And now, as she's entering her debutante years, Kick finally has a chance to become her own person, find her own love and (above all) escape from under her mother's thumb.
It was the first time in ages she had felt carried away by something,
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 big stars to The Kennedy Debutante! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I recently listened to an audiobook about Rosemary Kennedy, and ever since, my interest has been piqued about Kick Kennedy’s short life. Why didn’t I know more about her?

The Kennedy Debutante is Kick’s story. In 1930s London, Kick’s father is an ambassador in England, and she is a big time society girl. She has a yearning for a life of adventure, and with all her might, she works her way out of her strict mother’s grasp and into the arms of Bill
Cindy Burnett
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5++ stars

I absolutely loved this book and plan to recommend it to everyone I know. The Kennedy Debutante tells the story of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. As I began reading the book, I realized how little I knew about her or any of the lesser known siblings of these two famous men. Maher masterfully unveils Kick’s complex story interweaving details of her staunch Catholic upbringing, her desire to please her strict mother, the effects of her father’s f
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
3 wished I had liked it more stars
My reviews can be seen here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy had it all. She was beautiful, the second daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy and a life that was privileged where she wanted for very little. When her father was made Ambassador to the Royal Court of St James, Kick went to London with her family where she met a man she was to love and her life took a sad but inevitable turn.

In the novel, The Kennedy Debutante, we take a

4.5 Stars

“Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you”

-- Old Friends / Bookends Theme, Simon & Garfunkel, Songwriters: Paul Simon

”It all seems like a beautiful dream. Thanks a lot, Daddy, for giving me one of the greatest experiences anyone could have had. I know it will have a great effect on everything I do from her in.”
--Kick Kennedy, 18 September 1939

A young Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy falls in love with London, the people and t
Katie B
3.5 stars

I was so excited to get my hands on an advance copy of this because Kathleen Kennedy led an interesting life not just because she was the second oldest daughter of Joe Sr. and Rose, but because she had to make some tough decisions in life. So I'll admit my expectations were high because I thought the author would have a lot of material to work with when writing this historical fiction novel. While story got better towards the end, I really struggled for a big portion of the book.

The Ken
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I inwardly cringe every time the Kennedy Family is portrayed as "American royalty.'' No, no, no. Wealthy? Yes. Privileged? Yes. Powerful? Without a doubt. But I hate seeing them put on a pedestal. Digging into the history and behavior of the Kennedy clan can be quite a disturbing experience. One daughter lobotomized to avoid scandal and hidden away for the rest of her life. Another dead in Europe before her time, separated from her family because she defied her father. Two sons shot to death. On ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I've long had an interest with the Kennedy family and this book about Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy was one that I had been looking forward to reading for a long time. Kick, the next oldest daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy is one of the lesser known Kennedys. Her life and death have been overshadowed by her famous brothers. Kick's life was cut short, but she managed much during her short life. However, much came at a great cost. In the 1930s, her father Joe was the ambassador in London and Kick loved ...more
Stephanie Anze
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kathleen has it all: money, a comfortable life, privilege, and a high status all due to her family name. Kathleen is a Kennedy. When her father, Joseph P. Kennedy, is appointed US ambassador, the Kennedy clan moves to London. Kick (as Kathleen is mostly called) is introduced as a debutante into British high society. Soon Kick is mingling in dances, attending races, doing charity work and meeting new friends in London. When she in introduced to Billy Hartington, Kick feels she has found more than ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

The Kennedy family makes for interesting story fodder, that's for sure. If nothing else, they provide a look into surviving multiple tragedies while maintaining a pretty charmed existence. Joe Sr. and Rose had nine children and tragedies befell five of them, six if you include Teddy's story that was mostly covered up. Then there was John Jr. and his wife, and I'm purposely leaving out the other grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But it makes me wonder and marvel at their history.

I d
Chanel Cleeton
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Kennedy Debutante is a vivid and engrossing portrayal of the fascinating life of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. Maher offers a dazzling glimpse of London society filled with a rich, nuanced, and infamous cast of characters alongside a poignant depiction of the emotional cost of war. A stunning debut!
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
The Kennedy family lives in London now thanks to Joe Kennedy's job as ambassador. After being presented to the Queen, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy is now in the same social circles as some of London's elite. That night she is celebrating her debut and she meets Billy Harrington, the future Duke of Devonshire. He is certainly smitten with her and as she starts to develop feelings for him, she realizes that things are more than a bit complicated. The Kennedys are very serious Catholics and his family i ...more
✨Bean's Books✨
Sep 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
"London, 1938. The effervescent "It girl" of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy moves in rarified circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the 20th century's most powerful figures. Eager to escape the watchful eye of her strict mother, Rose, the antics of her older brothers, Jack and Joe, and the erratic behavior of her sister Rosemary, Kick is ready to strike out on her own and is soon swept off her feet by Billy Hartington, the future Du ...more
Novel received courtesy of publisher for review

As a child of the 60's, I've been in love with the Kennedy family my entire life. However, I didn't know about Kathleen (Kick) Kennedy at all. Kerri Maher did a great job of bringing this "forgotten" Kennedy girl to life. The story begins in 1939 with the Kennedy family ensconced in London. Joe Sr. is the Ambassador trying valiantly to keep England from war with Germany. Under this cloud, Kick makes her debut into society. Kick loves English society
In The Kennedy Debutante, author Kerri Maher writes a fictionalized account of the life of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. Beginning in 1938 when Joseph Kennedy Sr. was appointed ambassador to England, Kathleen’s life changed in ways she could never have imagined. It seemed like a fairytale beginning for Kick.

Kick’s experiences in London, and the friends she made there gave her an appreciation for the country she began to think of as home. It was during this time that she met her soulmate, Billy Hartin
I have always had a fascination with the Kennedy family and have read quite a few books on the men in the family but not a lot about the women. I was instantly pulled into Kathleen (Kick's) story. Kick lived a short life and although there was a lot of family pressure, she tended to follow her heart. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and all things Kennedy. The Kennedy Debutante is a mesmerizing debut! ...more
Nov 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful book focusing on Kick Kennedy and her coming of age story. I loved the mix of historical references with Kerri's take on what could have happened to Kick, her friends and her family. This is a must read for all Historical Fiction fans! ...more
Jun 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Kick Kennedy is someone I had heard about, but didn't know her story. It's a fascinating one if you are interested in London, Chatsworth, the Kennedy and Cavendish families, I recommend the book. I enjoyed learning this piece of history.... ...more
Elizabeth Lapp
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: goodreads_wins
I feel bad for not liking this book as much as I hoped. I found it to be anticlimactic and I felt like the book dragged on. Maybe it just was not my cup of tea since many others seem to have loved the book.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Kerri Maher’s historical fiction debut, she seamlessly combines the real and imagined details of Kick Kennedy’s brief life in England.

Kick Kennedy has largely been forgotten by history due to her short life and separation from her relatives. This glimpse into her young life was thoughtful and entertaining. The author adds her own imaginings to the public knowledge of Kick’s life events and relationships. I personally found her interactions with her older brothers and father to be some of the
Historical Fiction
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

As with Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman, my experience of Kerri Maher’s The Kennedy Debutante was undermined by my familiarity with the subject matter and a very defined expectation regarding its fictionalization. My reading was also impacted by my admiration for Marius Gabriel’s interpretation of both Rose and Rosemary in The Ocean Liner.

Fair or not, I can only comment on my experiences and perspective so please
Gill Paul
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm fascinated by the Kennedy clan, and Kathleen ('Kick') was one of the most lively and likeable of Rose and Joe's kids, so I had to grab this novel – and I'm very glad I did. Kerri Maher does a magnificent job of capturing the atmosphere of aristocratic London society in the years just before and during the Second World War. The dialogue is witty and sparky, full of contemporary catchphrases, such as N-SIT (applied to a man who was 'not safe in taxis'). She has written some memorable lines for ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

To begin with, I was fairly familiar already with Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, as I read 2 biographies about her last year. (I am so intrigued by her life and choices, that I am anxious to read anything about her). I was very excited for this book to come out and was so happy to finally get my hands on a copy!
I was a bit disappointed initially that it jumped into her life while she was already in England, though. I had hoped for a bit earlier start (and a later finish at th
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 rounded down. I didn't know anything about Kick Kennedy so I give credit for that. Very interesting to read about Rose and Rosemary Kennedy. What a different world where such roadblocks stop a couple from marrying!

So sad--when I googled Rosemary Kennedy, it said that when she died in 2005, she was the first child in that family to die of natural causes. Also sad that it mentioned that she stumbled at her debutante...the things people remember about you after you die.

As others have said, th
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-to-review, 2018
I would not say I am a Kennedy aficionado but I thought this book sounded interesting.  It combines history, a forbidden romance due to differences in religion, and WWII.  While I understand that this is fiction, it is based on some facts and truth.  I learned more about this iconic family and the struggles they faced in life.  Kick is a strong woman but because of the era does fall prey to following her parent's edicts.  She is not happy about most of them and tries to become more independent, ...more
3.5 Stars

Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy is certainly not as widely known as several of her more famous siblings: brothers John, Bobby, and Teddy, or her sisters Jean, former American ambassador to Ireland for many years or Eunice, the founder of the Special Olympics (or brother Joe Jr. and sisters Rosemary and Pat), but I already knew Kick's story before picking up The Kennedy Debutante since I've read more than my share of fictional and biographical accounts of the Kennedy clan over the decades. My Ke
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: debut, arc, ninja-read
On the verge of WWII, Joe Kennedy Sr was appointed ambassador and moved to London with his wife, Rose, and their 9 children, Joseph Jr (Joe), John (Jack), Rosemary, Kathleen (Kick), Eunice, Patricia (Pat), Robert (Bobby), Jean, and Edward (Ted). The Kennedy Debutante focused on 18 year old Kathleen, who preferred to be called "Kick." Although Kick enjoys the debutante scene, she is also independent and somewhat rebellious in nature. After falling in love with 20 year old Billy Hartington, the fu ...more
Thelma Fountain
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. I really enjoyed this book! In America the Kennedy family is the focus of a lot of attention but the Men in the family really seem to overshadow the women. I knew very little about Kathleen. I knew she was killed in a plane crash when she was fairly young but I really knew very little about her life. I also enjoyed learning more about their father as well. I knew he was the ambassador to England leading up to WW ll but I really did not know much about his ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: publisher-arc, own

When we meet Kick (what a badass nickname) she is a fun-loving, witty and flirtatious girl of 18, who has just been “presented” to society. She goes to parties and shops, has many friends and catches the eye of many young English men as the fun American girl who loves to dance. The headline, “Celebrities: They’re Just Like Us!” comes to mind. Even though her “normal” is a bit different than everyone else, Kick likes to have fun with her girlfr
Cassie’s Reviews
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Right before world World War Two , Joe Kennedy Sr is appointed ambassador and moves his family to London. His family consists of his wife Rose and nine children. This book focuses on their eighteen year old daughter Kathleen but is nicknamed kick. Kick enjoys the debutante scene she also wants to be independent and she has a slight rebellious side. After meeting Billy Harrington at a party she’s instantly drawn to him and quickly falls in love. There are two challenging issues that come between ...more
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Hi! So great to see you on Goodreads - it's such an amazing place for readers and authors to connect.

I live outside of Boston, MA, with my daughter and labradoodle (whose adventures I sometimes post on Instagram, along with many other writing themed posts).

I am the author of THE KENNEDY DEBUTANTE and THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES, both of which you can see here. I am working on a novel called THE PARIS

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