I must admit that I had a tough time getting into this book, actually, I had a tough time getting into any book this week. This was the third book that I picked up! What I love about this project is excitement of picking up a new book and learning something new or meeting new characters, what makes the project difficult is that sometimes, I just don't care! It felt like this week was going to fall into the "don't care" category. I must say, though - I am glad that this book finally caught my attention.
Following the main character Sarah Walters from the age of 9 through the age of 35 - we learn about the "rules" of cotillion society and what it means to be a Southern lady. The book opens on Sarah and her friends going to "Cotillion Training School" where they learn all of the proper dances young ladies will need to have under their belt for their cotillion ball. I thought that it was funny that the ball that they were training for didn't happen until after they graduated from high school. It seemed a little absurd to me that they spent all of this time between fourth and seventh grades for an event that didn't happen until after twelfth grade.
I found that sometimes the story meandered and I was a little unaware of where we were or who was speaking. Most of the story is told from Sarah's point of view, but a couple of times different characters from the book had a chapter to themselves. Mostly though, the story is told through the progression of men in Sarah's life, from her first kiss through the many, inappropriate others.
I feel that Crouch was trying to comment on the old Southern tradition and debs, touching on the fact that once you were a deb (in this case - a Camellia) always a deb. No matter where Sarah or her friends went away for college (most went to New York or Boston) they were still good Southern girls with strong connections to their family, friends and traditions.
There were some unexpected twists in the story and this book didn't have a perfect, tied up happy ending. It is an interesting story and it is a nice Saturday afternoon read.