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The Last Dance of the Debutante


The author of the “sweeping, stirring, and heartrending” (Kristin Harmel, author of The Room on Rue Amélie) The Light Over London returns with a masterful, glittering novel that whisks you to midcentury Britain as it follows three of the last debutantes to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II.

When it’s announced that 1958 will be the last year debutantes are to be presented at court, thousands of eager mothers and hopeful daughters flood the palace with letters seeking the year’s most coveted invitation: a chance for their daughters to curtsey to the young Queen Elizabeth and officially come out into society.

In an effort to appease her traditional mother, aspiring university student Lily Nichols agrees to become a debutante and do the Season, a glittering and grueling string of countless balls and cocktail parties. In doing so, she befriends two very different women: the cool and aloof Leana Hartford whose apparent perfection hides a darker side and the ambitious Katherine Norman who dreams of a career once she helps her parents find their place among the elite.

But the glorious effervescence of the Season evaporates once Lily learns a devastating secret that threatens to destroy her entire family. Faced with a dark past, she’s forced to ask herself what really matters: her family legacy or her own happiness.

With her signature “intricate, tender, and convincing” (Publishers Weekly) storytelling, Julia Kelly weaves an unforgettable tale of female friendship amid the twilight days of Britain’s grand coming out balls.

Scott Bottles

Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of books about ordinary women and their extraordinary stories. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London. Readers can visit to learn more about all of her books and sign up for her newsletter so they never miss a new release.

"The Last Dance of the Debutante peels back layers of lush glamour and the extraordinary expectations of the London Season to give us a glimpse into a world teetering on the brink of change and the choices facing those who navigated it. Woven with heartfelt emotion, this novel is a captivating, unforgettable story of one woman's journey to find love, truth, and, most importantly, herself." —Kelly Bowen, author The Paris Apartment

“Refreshing, intriguing, oozing with elegance, and with three female leads who will keep you thoroughly engrossed, The Last Dance of the Debutante is a charming gem of a novel which will delight fans of Kelly’s previous work, and fans of The Crown.” —Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of When We Were Young and Brave

“Julia Kelly elegantly brings to life the last official presentation of debutantes at court with her exquisitely researched and beautiful written detail in The Last Dance of the Debutante. This story was so decadent, I wanted to don silk and crinoline and read it with a glass of champagne.” —Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London

“Between the crinkling of crinolines and the popping of champagne corks, Julia Kelly’s Last Dance of the Debutante leads us on a glorious dance through the traditional glamour and suffocating expectations of a bygone era.” —Genevieve Graham, #1 Globe & Mail bestselling author of Letters across the Sea

“There are far too few books that deal with politics and pressures in women's friendships, but Julia Kelly's latest work, The Last Dance of the Debutantes provides an insightful and engaging look at this neglected subject. Kelly's deft handling of the dynamics between the factions of female power in post-World War 2 England enlighten and educate her readers, and brings them along on an unforgettable journey of a young women's liberation.” —Piper Huguley, Author of By Design: the story of Ann Lowe, Society's Best-Kept Secret

More books from this author: Julia Kelly

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