In her debut, Maher follows the exploits of a young Kennedy daughter before and during World War II.
In the 1930s, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy—one of the nine Kennedy children, including JFK—is taking London by storm as the daughter of the U.S. ambassador. As an American and an Irish Catholic, she’s out of place in Protestant London. Still, Kick finds a group of friends who enjoy nothing more than partying every night as her father tries to convince everyone that entering into war with Hitler is unwise and unnecessary. Kick falls for Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire, although their different religions make it hard for her to imagine a future with him. When war inevitably breaks out, Kick and her family retreat to America, where Kick works in Washington as a secretary and then a journalist, desperately trying to get back to Billy as the world around them crumbles. Eventually, Kick is able to join the Red Cross and make her way back to London, but being reunited with Billy brings up hard choices. Is love worth giving up her religion, her family, and possibly her soul? Maher paints an immersive picture of America and London during wartime, full of remarkably vivid details—what people were eating, drinking, listening to, and wearing. Kick emerges as an immensely likable character, and casual readers and history buffs alike will love getting to know her. Her headstrong, lively personality propels the book forward even when it does get bogged down with slightly too much detail. Although Kick’s life is often full of glamour and wealth, she also deals with more than her share of tragedy. Maher shows the true cost of war, both for those fighting and those left behind.
A romantic and heartbreaking look at an often forgotten American figure.