The Forgotten Debutante by Becky Lower

The Forgotten Debutante by Becky Lower
Cotillion Ball #9
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (126 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

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.

The war separated Saffron and Zeke once. Will the army tear them apart a second time?

Saffron and Zeke meet under unusual circumstances, and their emotions lead them into sharing an innocent yet intense first kiss that neither of them forgot. Three years later they find themselves face to face again. While they’ve both reminisced about that kiss, they don’t really know much about each other. Will reality be able to live up to their dreams?

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about Saffron. While it is clear she has a good heart, I think she has a lot of growing up to do. She strikes me as childish despite her insistence on being treated as an adult. One passage describes her “stamping her slippered foot.” This action is more suited to a child throwing a tantrum rather than a young woman. I also wanted more emotional depth from Saffron. The Civil War was extremely brutal and Saffron and Zeke are tasked with digging up the remains of soldiers and bringing them back to be buried in cemeteries. This would have been a particularly gruesome undertaking, but Saffron doesn’t seem to be affected by it, or at least there is no evidence of it as I read. Despite these issues, I am happy to say that by the end of the story, I saw glimmers of the mature woman Saffron has the potential to become. I can’t give details without spoiling the story, but I will say that Saffron supports Zeke in two particularly difficult circumstances.

Zeke is an easy hero to warm up to. He in kind, generous, and always willing to help. He shoulders immense responsibility at a young age. When his brothers die, he returns to the family farm even though he never imagined himself farming for the rest of his life. He does it because his family needs him. Zeke is certainly an admirable young man.

While I believe that Zeke and Saffron have the potential to be a great couple, their relationship never really flared to life for me. Again, I must cite Saffron’s immaturity as the chief obstacle in my mind. Zeke is more rounded and has much more emotional depth. When I compare him to Saffron and her somewhat spoiled attitude, I have a hard time picturing them as a truly compatible couple. However, I will say that Saffron is determined to prove her love for Zeke and she does this by fiercely supporting him when a weaker woman would have deserted him. I believe in time that they will grow into a strong couple.

The Forgotten Debutante is a good book. Zeke and Saffron are sweet and their happy ending is certainly deserved. While this story is the ninth in a series, it stands alone well as Ms. Lower explains everything very clearly. Fans of historical romance might want to give The Forgotten Debutante a try.

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