Review: Debutantes by Cora Harrison

Image from Goodreads
Image from Goodreads

Title: Debutantes
Author: Cora Harrison
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: 2 Aug 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.

Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country.

But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans—ruin everything—forever.


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 sister and how young readers will find themselves with a favourite by the end of it all. My favourite is hard to choose but it’s between Daisy herself and Rose, the budding author and youngest of the girls.

A quick and easy read, Debutantes is filled with glamorous parties but also a touch of intrigue as a mystery letter is found and the girls are desperate to know who it’s about. We find out the secret at the end of the novel and I’ve got to say I hadn’t seen it coming at all and it’s a fantastic twist which leaves me wanting more from the series.

It’s impossible to talk about this novel without commenting upon the beautiful cover art and Harrison’s use of language to portray some beautiful scenes. As the oldest sister, Violet, works away on her sewing machine designing and updating some beautiful dresses for the sisters the language is used to vividly that I could imagine them all lined up in their fashionable finery.

I love this period of history and found the girls’ story both compelling and enchanting. A must-read for young readers and better than other novels about this period due to the character being given their own personalities and strengths, rather than all aiming to be the next big thing and find a husband.

Author: Book Angel Emma

Book List Obsessed - Alliteration Addict - Secondary School Librarian - Mother of Girls - Zumba Freak

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