Thursday, November 18, 2021

Book Review: The Last Debutante by Georgie Blalock

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: William Morrow
Other Books By Author: The Other Windsor Girl
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "When Valerie de Vere Cole, the niece of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, makes her deep curtsey to the King and Queen of England, she knows she’s part of a world about to end. The daughter of a debt-ridden father and a neglectful mother, Valerie sees firsthand that war is imminent.  Nevertheless, Valerie reinvents herself as a carefree and glittering young society woman, befriending other debutantes from England’s aristocracy as well as the vivacious Eunice Kennedy, daughter of the U.S. Ambassador. Despite her social success, the world’s troubles and Valerie’s fear of loss and loneliness prove impossible to ignore.  How will she navigate her new life when everything in her past has taught her that happiness and stability are as fragile as peace in our time? For the moment she will forget her cares in too much champagne and waltzes. Because very soon, Valerie knows that she must find the inner strength to stand strong and carry on through the challenges of life and love and war."
Valerie, although she is niece to the Prime Minister, isn't your typical debutante.  Her father has debts up to his eyeballs and her mother isn't involved in her life.  Nonetheless, she is about to be presented to the King and Queen of England to join the ranks of the many debutantes.  However, times are changing.  War is coming and with it brings many changes. Some of the old traditions may not survive these changes.  Meanwhile, Valerie enters the world of high society and becomes friends with all sorts of women including Eunice Kennedy, daughter of Joe Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador. Can the debutantes survive this changing world? Georgie Blalock's The Last Debutantes begs readers to ask that very question and the novel explores the ups and downs of the last season of debutantes.

Valerie is a character who you can't help but feel for in The Last Debutantes. Her mother isn't great, her father has a ton of issues, but its her connections to the Chamberlains that keep her afloat in the precarious world of high society.  Thankfully, her aunt clues her in on what to expect, how to behave, and gives her some tips on how to survive. Slowly, Valerie gains more confidence and even befriends many of the other girls.  Perhaps she has more in common with them than she thought? It also appears that, like her family, each family she encounters is hiding a secret.  Valerie quickly learns that family secrets amongst the members of society can be used as weapons.  Also, as the story progresses, Valerie has a chance for love, but the young man isn't necessarily suitable for her. Will any of this matter once war arrives? Will all the old traditions and standards fall to the wayside?

Blalock develops a glittering debutante world very well in The Last Debutantes.  It's a world that's filled with balls, champagne, fancy jewels, and opulent dinners. Fans of Downton Abbey will especially appreciate the pomp and circumstance. I also really liked how Blalock included real-life people, such as Eunice Kennedy, as I am a fan of the Kennedy family and find her to be fascinating.

The last debutantes of 1939 before the war showed up on their doorsteps makes for an interesting tale, but I have to admit that The Last Debutantes was missing that something special to really set it apart from the other historical novels I've read this year.

So, are you a fan of Georgie Blalock's novels? Have you read The Last Debutantes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. I love this setting and learning more about debutantes, especially facing the coming war, so I think I'll still give this one a chance!


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