But their love is forbidden, as Kick's devout Catholic family and Billy's staunchly Protestant one would never approve their match.
When war breaks like a tidal wave across her world, Billy is ripped from her arms as the Kennedys are forced to return to the States. Kick gets work as a journalist and joins the Red Cross to get back to England, where she will have to decide where her true loyalties lie--with family or with love . . .
Synopsis from Amazon
The cover of The Kennedy Debutante was the first thing to catch my attention; reading the synopsis just confirmed that I needed to read this book. As a Canadian born in 1990, I only know about JFK in a very limited sense (President, assassinate, Jackie O, playboy, etc.) and I know next to nothing about the Kennedy family. I love that Kerri Maher has decided to delve into the life of Kick (Kathleen) Kennedy and give us insight into the second oldest Kennedy daughter and the controversial decisions she made.
Lovely Story of a Little-Known Historical Figure
Kick is shown to be a strong-willed and dedicated young woman, one who follows her heart against her parents wishes (something that would have been incredibly hard to do when your family was as powerful as hers) and makes learns to put her own happiness first. Seeing the Kennedy family -- patriarch Joe, playboy brothers Joe Jr. and Jack, and the rest of the Kennedy kids -- from Kick's perspective was incredibly compelling. As a sister, she would have had a much different relationship with her brothers, one of whom became one of the most celebrated President's of the USA, and it was wonderful getting to see those relationships develop. I thought Maher did a beautiful job telling Kick's story.
Heartbreaking Ending (Even If It's Not a Surprise)
I didn't know anything about Kick Kennedy, so I was heartbroken when I got to the end of this novel. I had no idea what would happen for her and Billy, but I was definitely keeping my fingers crossed for a happy ending -- only to end up crying through the last few chapters of the book! For those that know how Kick and Billy's story plays out, I still think there will a level of heartbreak. Maher gives us such beautiful insight into Kick's life that we end up feeling her pain, regardless of it's your first time learning about her story or not. I'd also recommend reading the Author's Note where Maher gives us further information about what happens to Kick after the end of this book (you can also Wikipedia Kick, by why do the extra work when someone else has done it for you already?).
Kick is Quite the Ditherer
The only drawback I had with this story is how long Kick takes to debate if she should marry Billy or not. Now, I should preface this by saying that I'm Catholic and I have a good understanding of how much of a sacrifice Kick would be making if she married Billy; when you are raised on such a strong belief system, it's hard to simply turn your back on it. However, Kick literally spends years thinking about if she could marry him or not, only to have to take another few months to debate about it when Billy actually proposes. This was such a drawn out process that I started to get annoyed with her; the old adage of "piss or get off the pot" started to go through my mind. When Kick later laments that she "dithered too long", I couldn't help but agree with her -- she wasted so much time, which is heartbreaking.
I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction, or likes learning a bit more about historical figures. Likewise, anyone interesting in American History will definitely enjoy Kick's relationship with the rest of the Kennedy family and getting to see them in a way that the public may not have been aware of. This was a great story and I'm so happy I read it.
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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