Title: The Forgotten Debutante
Author: Becky Lower
Series: Cotillion Ball #9
Genre: Historical Romance (American Civil War)
Don’t miss the touching conclusion to the Cotillion Ball Saga!
In 1863, America is war-weary. Fifteen-year-old Saffron Fitzpatrick, whose teenage years have been spent mourning the dead rather than dancing at her debutante ball, just wants to visit her beloved horse after being housebound due to the draft riots. A chance meeting with soldier Ezekiel Boone changes everything.
Three years ago, Ezekiel ran away with his older brothers to join the war effort, welcoming the chance for adventure. But when all four of his brothers die at Chancellorsville, he retreats home, despondent and depending on the kindness of strangers, like Saffron, who help him on the journey. They share a wild ride and a breathless kiss, parting with fond memories.
Fate reunites the couple three years later, and their former attraction rekindles as they discover unexpected common ground and begin to build a relationship. But though the war is over, a future together may still elude them … especially if Saffron’s older, protective brother and the U.S. Army have anything to say about it.
Source: Review copy from the author via email
This is the ninth and final book in the Cotillion Ball series, but it’s the first that I’ve read and found that it stands alone perfectly well. If you too are thinking of starting here, but are unsure about jumping in at the end, don’t worry, everything you need is fully explained.
Saffron is a privileged young miss whose life has been rudely disrupted by the war. In fact, though a lot of her sulky comments are age appropriate, she also acts like a spoiled brat at times. She’s impulsive and smart, but the way she kept pouting about missing balls and getting excited to get out in the field and dig up bodies kind of rubbed me the wrong way. She’s pretty modern in her thinking and behaviour and some of her speech definitely belongs more to the twenty-first century than the nineteenth.
I did, however, like Zeke a lot. He’s been through terrible things, had a lot of responsibility shoved onto his shoulders and is willing to do all he can to keep his father happy and honour his brothers. I could also see why he was drawn to Saffy, since she’s the complete opposite of everything he’s ever known. Whether I can believe their relationship would be one that lasts… well, if Saffy grows up a lot, perhaps. Zeke is adorably modern in his wish for a real partnership for their marriage, so they might have survived.
My knowledge of the American Civil War is limited (it’s not something I’ve ever studied), but I enjoyed the historical hints scattered throughout the book. The main action actually takes place just after the war has ended, dealing with the gruesome task of recovering bodies for proper burial. Considering this grisly task, the story is mostly light and upbeat, and I have to admit the way Saffron can deal with such things without ever being the least bit affected kind of annoyed me. Once again, it was Zeke who conveyed real emotion, though he mostly saved it for the battle where he lost his brothers. It’s not that I want a forensically detailed account of the horrors they were digging up, but the gruesome task never seems to affect them.
So, for me, this was an okay read. The setting is nicely handled, the romance is pretty sweet and the plot to keep the pair of them apart unfurled just as I expected it to. I’m not that fond of the heroine, though I did like the hero, and it wears its historical colours fairly lightly. It might have been nicer to have more depth to the emotions and situations that unfold throughout, but on the whole it’s a pleasant, easy read. If the Civil War is what you look for in a historical, then hopefully you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this book and the series as a whole.
The Forgotten Debutante is Out Now!
Visit Becky Lower for more details.