Book Club Choices: The Debutantes and Starling

GGC Book Club for Adults

GGC Book Club for Adults

Welcome to She Said/She Said, where GGC Members are our book reviewers from across Canada sharing their opinions about the book of the month.

This month we take a look at TWO books published by Harper Collins Canada:

October’s book: The Debutantes by Cora Harrison (Young Adult)

November’s book: Starling by Lesley Livingston (Young Adult)


The Debutantes by Cora Harrison. Published by Harper Collins Canada

The Debutantes by Cora Harrison. Published by Harper Collins Canada

October bookThe Debutantes by Cora Harrison

She Said: Megan, Contact Guider
Guelph, Ontario

The Debutantes by Cora Harrison is the story of four teenage sisters living in 1920s rural England who, though daughters of an earl, have very little money.  They all long for different futures: to be an author, a jazz musician, a film maker, and a debutante.  But all of their dreams rely on the eldest finding a way to have a season in society and finding a wealthy husband.

When the girls arrive in London for a party they stand out from the other society girls.  The girls they meet have their lives laid out for them; their parents will pay for balls and dresses for their season and then they will find good husbands who will provide for them.  The Derrington girls, on the other hand, have dreams of their own.  Even Violet, who longs to be a debutante, struggles with wanting to make a good match so as to provide for her sisters, and choosing true love.  There’s a strong sense of girl power in this novel.  The girls have dreams, several of which are in male-oriented fields, but they don’t let anything stop them from achieving them.  With little help from their family, they make their own destinies.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen Violet succeed in her season without the help of their mysterious, rich aunt.  I found it more empowering to see the girls welcomed into society in dresses that they found and altered themselves, than after their aunt started providing for them.  I also found that the tone seemed a little young for girls of sixteen and eighteen, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, The Debutantes is an enjoyable story about living a high society life while dreaming for a different future and the importance of family over money and a comfortable life.  It shows that anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve to go after it.

——- Meghan is in her fourth year at the University of Guelph in Guelph, ON and is the Contact Guider for the 2nd Guelph Sparks.

Starling by Lesley Livingston. Published by Harper Collins Canada

Starling by Lesley Livingston. Published by Harper Collins Canada

November book: Starling by Lesley Livingston

She Said: Guider Katie Bronn,
6 Welland Sparks, Welland, ON

When I first started reading Lesley Livingston’s Starling, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. It took me a while to get through the first few pages but after that, I could not wait to pick it up again and find out what happened next to Mason, the story’s main protagonist.

I love reading books where history and the present collide. In Starling, Livingston pairs the present world with the long ago legends of the Norse Viking gods, and intertwines them to make a fascinating tale.

The story focuses on the main character, Mason, as she finds her entire life twisted upside down after an unbelievable experience after her fencing practice at her school. This new boy, Fennrys Wolf appears in her life and she seems drawn to him, even though he cannot remember anything about himself.

At the beginning of the book, we see Mason kind of just going through the motions with life. She doesn’t have many friends, has some enemies, and is dedicated to the sport of fencing, just not letting herself relax enough to become really good at it. As the story progresses, we see Mason break free from her role as being a passive actor in her life, and begin trying and experiencing new things. She finds a friend in her long time enemy, a stranger in her once upon a time crush and a new relationship with the stranger that crashed through the ceiling.

Livingston ends the story with a mean cliff-hanger, and I cannot wait to pick up the next book of the series to find out what happens to Mason and Fennrys next!

She Said: Guider Cathie Etzl
Windsor, ON

I would put this book Under Arts and Culture heading and it is very suitable for young adults. The book is about the Fairy world. I enjoyed the book, characters and the story surrounding the characters. Although I enjoyed the book, I felt I would have enjoyed it more in my late teens or early twenties as it was the type of book I would have read at that time. My 17-year-old daughter was anxious to get the book when I had finished it and is now enjoying it. She will be lending it to a friend of hers when she finishes it as my daughter feels the friend will also enjoy it. It is a good read. The characters are interesting and the plot is enjoyable and very easy to follow. I have read the three previous books by this author and will be reading others written by her.

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1 Response to Book Club Choices: The Debutantes and Starling

  1. Ria says:

    SM- I don’t think liltte girls want to be their dolls. I think liltte girls want to control their dolls, be their doll’s “boss” or “mommy”. I know I did. I think women do have unrealistic expectations of men and I think if you ask a man he will agree… I think unrealistic expectations come from the insecurities of living people, peers and parents. IMO.

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