August 21, 2012

Review: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

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.

There are so many times I wonder what it would be like to live in a different time, a "simpler" time. Oh what I wouldn't give to go back and live during the 20's, the 30's, the 40's..and on and on. 

What I should consider during these time traveling daydreams are the very real issues facing women during those decades. Simpler time? Hardly.

When Cora Carlisle escorts a young girl to New York for a summer in the early 1920's she is bound by more than just her corset. (aka: torture device) 

Ouch! 

In trying to keep her young charge in line Cora begins questioning her own beliefs and the societal rules that she has always followed. 

This book isn't one to miss. Great history, great story, great characters. 

I've seen quite a few bloggers talking about this book. Are you one of them? What did you think? 


The very real Louise Brooks...read more about her here

10 comments:

  1. I was waiting to see what you thought of this one. I've been seeing it around but I super know I can trust your historical fiction reviews. I do not like schmaltzy historical fiction. It's got to be believable.

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    1. Thanks, that is a huge compliment!! I'm with you, no schmaltz allowed. (Blech) I need to believe the story, the setting, etc. I also need to feel like I'm learning as I read historical fiction.

      I hope you get around to this one, I'd love to know what you think of it!

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  2. Fly, Book! Fly onto my wishlist!

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    1. Whooo hooo! Fly quickly to the top of the list! It's a fab read, I know you won't be disappointed!

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  3. I have not read this but these were interesting times and this sounds like an interesting narrative.

    Have you read The Great Gatsby? Of course that is the ultimate period piece set in this era.

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    1. I have read The Great Gatsby but it has been years. I've joined The Classics Club and it's on my list to re-read it. I'm really looking forward to seeing what I think of it now that I'm an adult. I think I was 18ish the first time I read it? I know for sure that my brain is in a different place from back then ;)

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  4. I listened to the audio of this one and it was fantastic. Seriously. One of my favorites this year.

    I'd enjoy a visit to the 1920s but I wouldn't want to live there.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Leslie! It's a great one :)

      I agree with you, I'd love to check things out in the 20's..but then come back home

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  5. I've been seeing this book around too -- glad you liked it!

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    1. I really did! If you read it I'd love to know what you think of it as well Joy :)

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