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Debutante: A breathtaking wartime saga of love, loss, and friendship

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Everyone who was anyone knew that the London Season of 1939 would be quite different from any that had gone before.

The year is 1939, Englands aristocrats are preparing to present their daughters as debutantes, introducing them to society as young women. Bidding childhood farewell, the debutantes will find themselves thrust into a world of balls, dancing, and young
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Kindle Edition, 522 pages
Published March 14th 2018 by Agora Books (first published June 24th 1999)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  202 ratings  ·  16 reviews


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❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀
3.5 Stars.

Touching and absorbing story of womens lives in Britain during World War II.

Four young women, making their debut in London society in 1939, have no idea that their lives will soon change beyond all recognition.

Lady Veronica Delacourt, the daughter of a duke, Peggy Armitage, whos father is a factory owner, Isabelle le Vaillant, with a french father and English mother and Anne Venables, the product of an old gentry family, are brought together by a broken leg and a couple of social
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Lady Alexandrine
"The frivolous ambitions of the debutantes - and their mothers - were amongst the first casualties of war. The war brought times of heartbreak to each of them, but also gave them the opportunity - indeed, the need - to change direction and create new lives for themselves. That was why they gave up instead to be practical and successful women. Yes, it was the war." - quote from the ARC of "Debutante"

The book tells the story of four young debutantes, whose first season takes place in 1939, just
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Erin
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, netgalley
I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the book.

From the first few pages I was hooked on this book! What I thought was going to be a light, easy read turned into something much more. You meet the 4 debutantes as they are approaching the 1939 season, each apprehensive about their future and what being a debutante means to them and their family.

Though their world will quickly change at the start of World War II. How can these 4 who became friends despite
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Kelli
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was just immediately hooked on this one. The life of debutantes and higher society in the past has always fascinated me and in this book it was portrayed in such a beautiful way.

The book follows three young women: Anne-back from studying in Germany to find herself thrust into the Season without much money to her name, Isabelle-a Frenchwoman at heart who has no interest in England with an overly aggressive mother, Ronnie-a lady looking to land her man, and Peggy-a studious young woman entering
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Meg
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the book blurb, I thought Debutante would be a frothy manners novel, with some social backstabbing, romance, and pretty dresses. And this is how the novel starts. Eligible young women from established families (or from rich families with social aspirations) will be presented to the queen to begin their Season of competition fashion, upscale social events and serious husband-hunting. 

The season ends with the beginning of World War 2, and the book changes, by degrees, into a story of how
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Sarah
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Debutante" is a well-written historical novel with complex and well-rounded characters and an interesting and emotional plot.

The four protagonists were all very different from each other and had very different storylines, which I greatly enjoyed. I liked how the author managed to portray the war, its consequences, and the roles women could play in it from four different perspectives. I also liked that the author didn't shy away from showing the more horrific consequences of war and how they
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Debi Samuels
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. The first section I couldn't put it down. It actually seemed more like 4 books in one, going through the lives of the different Debs. You could really empathize with the characters. I'm not usually into war books but this one captured my eye and you can definitely see how the experience changed the debutantes from the girls they were to who they became. I was very sad about some of them, but it was realistic and real that it wasn't going to be a "happily ever after" type book.
My only
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Nancy
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 1939 Debutante season is coming up and the story follows four girls who come from different backgrounds but coming together for what would be the last season before the war begins. The story follows the feelings of each girl and her mother about attending the season. They are presented at court and then lots of balls to attend. When the season is at the end it becomes 'what now'. Peggy, Isabelle, Ronnie and Anne have become friends during this time. Now the war is upon the country and where ...more
Ruth Turner
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeous book following the unfolding lives of a group of very different debutantes in the last season before the outbreak of WWII. This story follows these strong women as they deal with a society that is changing really fast in the face of war, and as the expectations places on women in the old world collide with the new expectations they have while faced with this new world.

I cried my eyes out at parts of this book - and felt a real empathy and fondness for all the women featured in this
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Heather
I so wanted to love this book. Maybe I read it at the wrong time. I could only force myself to get through about 35% of the book. I like the story line and the characters. There was just something about this book I could not get in to. I would love to try and come back to this book at some point and try to read it again. But for now, life is too short to force yourself to read books that don't ignite some kind of emotion in you. Maybe later.....
#Debutante #NetGalley
Kristine
Debutante by Anne Melville is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late February.

Originally published in the UK in 1999, this is about the straight-laced, yet romanticized debutante season of confident Veronica, homebody Anne, worrisome nerdy Peggy, and voracious frenchy Isabelle in 1939 before the advent of World War II and they grow up quickly as nurses, scholars, drivers, and spies who decide that debuting was quite silly and petty.
Dee
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this would be a light-hearted read about pre-war debs but no, in the interweaving of their lives, there is some serious stuff about the war years - indeed, some quite factual and informative recording of what was happening 'behind the scenes'. A surprisingly good read.
Ellen M Jester
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a lot more going for it than the title says. "Debutante" begins with young ladies starting their "Debutante" year. (Does that even occur anymore?). I do like reading about this social way of years ago...although it certainly sheds no light on my life. Sometimes, it's fun to see how the other half may have lived. HOWEVER, this book goes into much greater depth and you step into the lives of four debutantes and see how their lives changed due to war and how they grew up accordingly. ...more
Laura
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Debutante takes us through the last Season in London before the start of WWII. Four girls become debs for various reasons - society expectations, to find a rich husband, to make a parent happy. Each girl has their own motivations, hopes and dreams that are impacted but thy social mores of the time. What starts out a a light, fun-filled tale of balls and parties becomes something more serious and war looms. the girls must look to what they really want and how life will never be the same.

An
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Alyssa
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stunning and unforgettable read. It's not my usual type of story and that's why I love netgalley I get to read books I wouldn't have picked and there are a lot of good surprises !
Christine Gordon
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Margaret Edith Newman Potter (aka Margaret Newman, Anne Betteridge, Margaret Potter, Anne Melville, Margaret Evans)

Margaret Edith Newman was born on 21 June 1926 in Harrow, Middlesex, London, England, UK, the eldest daughter of Marjory Edith (Donald), a former teacher, and Bernard Newman, author of fiction and non-fiction books and considered an authority on spies. She had two sisters, Hilary
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