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What was the selection process for what Jessica Mitford, most reluctant of debs, described as "the specific, upper-class version of a puberty rite"? By and large it was family tradition. Most debutantes were presented by their mothers, who themselves had been presented. In the circles in which I grew up, curtseying to the Queen was not a matter for discussion, it was just a thing you did. Why did it stop so suddenly in ? The end was a symptom and a symbol of wide changes in Britain in the mid-Fifties. The debacle of Suez in followed by Anthony Eden's resignation spelt the end of Britain's imperialist ambitions.

Almost overnight Britain's potency had dwindled and it had an obvious effect on the morale of the people who considered themselves the ruling classes.


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Look Back in Anger, the Angry Young Men: criticism of a Britain seen as increasingly moribund and ineffective was becoming vociferous. Criticism of the Queen herself - up to then off limits - became personal and cruel in a period that saw the death of deference.

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The most damaging attack on the complacency of the Royal Family was made in by Lord Altrincham, who singled out the iniquity of Palace presentation of the debs, an embarrassing ritual which should have been "quietly discontinued in ", making way for a "truly classless court". The Queen, refusing to be bullied, held out for a further year of presentations, until Palace advisers persuaded her that the debs made a convenient public sacrifice. The system itself was also becoming open to abuse, as well-born ladies charged large fees to bring out girls whose credentials were not always of the highest.

The most notorious of these was Lady St John of Bletso, a Lady Bracknell figure who would launch several debutantes at once. By the exclusivity of the Season was eroded. In the immortal words of Princess Margaret, "We had to put a stop to it. Every tart in London was getting in. We were trained to make the curtsey, which was by no means a perfunctory bob but a low, sweeping curtsey.


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  • The left knee needed to be locked behind the right, allowing a graceful descent with head erect, hands by your side. We learned the technique from Madame Vacani, a dancing teacher who held a kind of royal warrant for the curtsey. A Vacani curtsey was part of the mystique. However hard we practised, the experience was nerve-racking. Our hearts thumped as we assembled on little stiff gilt chairs in an antechamber, waiting to be called into the ballroom where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sat on twin thrones under a crimson canopy adapted from the Imperial shamiana, redolent of the then relatively recent British rule in India.

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    One curtsey to the Queen, then three sidesteps and another deep curtsey to Prince Philip. What if you wobbled? This book touched my heart. The issue of cutting is one I have heard of but not dealt with personally. The insight is amazing. The depth to the characters was incredible.

    The story did bring me to tears at times but I thought it was well written and moving. I can't wait to see how she handles the next book about her sister. Jul 13, Nicole LaBoy rated it it was amazing. A great story This is not the typical romance. It is a love story but there is no bad guy or a mystery that need to be solved for the hero and heroine had to overcome to be happy but about cutting and depression.

    It gaves you a inside view of a cutter and the people who love them and dealing with this. It was amazing story and well done. Another great story by Annabelle Anders. Jun 28, Bridget Lewis rated it it was amazing. The pain within Louella felt inner pain and inflicted outward hurts on her body! Mar 25, Jessica rated it really liked it.

    A wonderful read Though, it was hard to get through because of the subject matter, this book was a wonderful read.

    The Perfect Debutante

    I, myself, am not a cutter but I do know those who are. It brings a glimpse of what it is like to those who do cut. I absolutely loved the characters. The plot was fantastic. May 20, Laid-back Book Bitches rated it it was amazing. I can say I have never read a book quite like this. Annabel did a beautiful job explaining the situation as Louella came to understand her conflict and overcome it. I loved the love story between Louella and Cameron.

    Not your usual HEA, but it was perfect. Jun 06, Zaxs Yacs rated it really liked it. To his surprise and delight, the chosen lady is the perfect debutante, for him A Duke, A Debutante and An Arranged Marriage SHE secretly cut in the shadows and covered her scars with satin and lace. Historical romance unlike any others From the Author I feel it my responsibility to issue a trigger warning for this very special story.

    Mar 13, Carlene Michalk rated it it was amazing. I found this book to be highly enjoyable with lovable characters. And the main couple will make you smile.

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    And of course as always, Annabelle Anders astounds me with her writing! Wow, this book was full of emotions that I have never read in another book! Annabelle is one of those authors that loves to explore new things. But, this is the first book that I ever read with the main female character has a cutting problem. But, no worries the author takes into account that it is a subject that is highly sensitive. And how it affects the people around them and, of course the story kept me hooked the entire way! I had to admit I had to stop for a bit because I think I was the same way once.

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    But, I found the main female character quite relatable with her struggle. Louella, thought to be the perfect debutante, so as everything he thinks. But, inside she is a very sensitive soul that is very fragile. She has found a relief from her thoughts from cutting with a needle. She struggles with her depression but only cutting brings a little relief for her. It was great to watch her grow during the story even though it was a difficult thing to stop for her self. She could tell how her habit was affecting everyone around her.

    And if he would ever accept her in such a away. And wow, I love how her sister is so mature and has good advice for her! Cameron, oh my gosh, he was such a sweetheart and, he made me smile with the support he gave to Louella.