Published by Riverhead on June 5, 2012
Genres: Adult, Historical
The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.
Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.
For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.
Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s,’30s, and beyond—from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers, and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights and new opportunities for women—Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time and what a vast difference it all made for Louise Brooks, Cora Carlisle, and others like them.
What I Thought…
- I’m fairly picky when it comes to historical fiction. I have to really be in the mood to read it and then I will carefully select my book. Kate at Midnight Book Girl read it and loved it so even though I wasn’t craving a historical fiction I gave it a try. I am so glad I did.
- Laura Moriarty writes beautifully. Even if I hadn’t enjoyed the story (which I did) I could have read the book because everything just sounds so good.
- I love the 1920’s. For me, it’s the most fascinating decade that I didn’t live in. I love learning about the 20’s and of course looking at all those pretty clothes!
- Louise’s mother was… not really a mother. It was really hard to read how her mother felt in the book. I did some fact checking on Louise and that was how her mother really felt which makes me sad. Her dad wasn’t really into children either so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Louise has “behavioral” issues.
- As much as enjoyed Louise I enjoyed Cora so much more (and really, the book is about Cora anyway). Her story was fascinating and there were so many things I didn’t expect. She went to New York as Louise’s chaperone for her own reasons and it changed not only her life but others lives as well.
- There were quite a few twists in The Chaperone, none of which I was expecting. It made for a very interesting read, especially considering the time period.
- I always enjoy reading books that have happened someplace I’ve been. And since I just came back from New York this book was appropriate. It was interesting to see that while many things have changed since the 1920’s, some things are the same.