The Kennedy Debutante

Commercial fiction

by Kerri Maher
Fall 2018 – Berkley

London, 1938. Eighteen year old Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy is the effervescent It-Girl of the debutante season, the sought-after daughter of American Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy and sister of future US President John F. Kennedy. Like her older brother Jack, who also wins smiles and friends wherever he goes, there’s something special about Kick even among the talented Kennedy brood. But Kick wants more than popularity—she wants to be her own person, to shape an identity separate from that of her famous family. In England, a country she adores from the start, Kick begins to see that this transformation might be possible.

Then she meets handsome and reticent Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire. Kick and Billy hit it off right away, but powerful forces keep them apart: Kick’s parents would never accept a Protestant, and Billy’s ancestors are notably anti-Catholic. Kick’s nascent desire to be her own person takes shape in her vision of a life with Billy, but when World War II hits, she is forced to decide where her true loyalties lie: with love or with family.

Kerri Maher holds an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University where she was also a grad student instructor in the Undergraduate Writing Program, and later as a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is the author of the memoir THIS IS NOT A WRITING MANUAL: NOTES FOR THE YOUNG WRITER IN THE REAL WORLD (Writer’s Digest Books, 2013) about her writing life starting in middle school, which School Library Journal deemed a “must-read” for aspiring young writers and Publisher’s Weekly deemed « Candid, honest advice and reflection from a writer who’s been there.” She is the founder of YARN, the Young Adult Review Network, an award-winning journal of YA literature. This is her first novel and the first book of a two-book deal.