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Can the secrets of one woman's past change another woman's future?

A gifted artist, Cate has come to London from New York to escape her recent past. Working for her aunt's auction house, she is sent down to Devon to value the contents of Endsleigh House, the once gracious but now crumbling estate of a former socialite. There, hidden in the back of a dusty bookshelf, Cate discovers an old shoebox. Inside is a strange assortment of objects: an exquisite pair of dancing shoes circa 1930; a diamond brooch; a photograph of a young sailor; a dance card; and a pearl and emerald Tiffanys bracelet.

Intrigued by her find, Cate sets out to solve the mystery of the box, becoming immersed in the story of its owner, Baby Blythe. Bright, beautiful, and reckless, Baby was the most famous debutante of her generation . . . and the most dangerous. As the clues begin to reveal a shocking tale of destructive, addictive love, Cate finds herself being drawn deeper into Baby's tragic life story—a story that will force Cate to face some dark truths about her own.

Includes an excerpt from The Perfume Collector.

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The Debutante
Average rating
4 / 5
July 30th, 2014
If you're looking for a light fast paced read, this isn't for you. That said, this is a character study of two troubled souls and their desire to love again despite the possible costs. Set in the antiques world, our characters, one a young woman still trying to extricate herself from an unhealthy relationship and the other a grieving widower still trying to come to terms with his late wife's infidelity. Interspersed with this are letters from a charming and heedless debutante of the 1920s and 30s who used to live at the estate our other two characters are inventorying before the estate is sold off. The young lady assisting in the inventory finds a hidden box of small treasures left from over fifty years ago and starts investigating trying to find out what happened to the beautiful deb that disappeared during WWII and was never located. (The objects in the box belong to the long lost deb). This helps her(the young lady) occupy herself from her own romantic troubles. The ending does not tie everything into quite the neat bow one might like but you come away with a better understanding of how the upper class dealt with so called problems. Tessaro is a skilled thoughtful writer and I have enjoyed all her books. The ending was a poignant one and one is left with both hope and a bit of sadness for what might have been.
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