THE EX-DEBUTANTE by Linda Francis Lee


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Lee (The Devil in the Junior League, 2006, etc.) takes another jab at old Texas.

Lawyer Carlisle Wainwright Cushing hasn’t been back to her Texas hometown since she ran away to Boston, where she eschewed her wealthy past for a new life. Now, happily engaged, Carlisle reluctantly returns after getting an urgent call from her impossible-to-please mother: The Wainwright-sponsored Symphony Association Debutante Ball is about to be canceled, and Carlisle’s mother is going through the most recent of multiple divorces and needs her daughter to represent her. Carlisle has no desire to get involved with any of this. Upon returning to Texas, though, she is reunited with her former flame, confident Jack Blair, who always threatened her self control with his reckless passion. For flaky reasons made up for the sake of the plot, Carlisle decides to save the debutante ball and assist with the divorce. Comedic chaos ensues, as do sentimental moments of self-discovery. Her relationship with her fiancée suffers as her attraction to Jack (also engaged) grows. Carlisle, unqualified and initially dispassionate, attempts to groom teenagers into debutantes. The debutante ball is supposed to allow young women to feel accomplished and proud; however, it is presented as nothing more than young girls prancing around in wedding dresses for archaic reasons. The girls do not slowly transform into kind, graceful women. Rather, they cat fight and one-up each other with gross displays of wealth. Rather nonsensically, Carlisle’s trials—in the courtroom and out—teach her to appreciate her family and her community.

Funny and slightly ridiculous.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-35496-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2008


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