The Kennedy Debutante

Berkley. Oct. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780451492043. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780451492067. F
This work from newcomer Maher (This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World) opens with Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy enjoying her first social season in England, where she meets Billy Harrington, the future Duke of Devonshire. She is Catholic, he is Protestant, and since neither wish to compromise their family's faith to be together, their romance is filled with miscommunication and lost opportunity, especially once World War II begins and Billy joins the military. Kick finds wartime purpose as a journalist, steadily gaining confidence and independence until tragedy strikes her immediate family and she's forced to reexamine and reprioritize her values yet again. Kick ultimately decides to follow her heart, ignoring peer and family pressure, only to face another personal tragedy almost immediately.
VERDICT The Catholic-Protestant conflict seems quaint compared to the civil and political unrest in today's world, and the romantic tension fizzles in some places, but this coming-of-age story will attract fans of the Kennedy dynasty, of which Kick is one of the least-known members.
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