Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"The Chaperone"

 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.

My Thoughts...

This book kept me interested until the end. Actually, I didn't realize until the end that the book was some fact and some fiction. The Louise Brooks part of the story was mostly fact, according to what I read about her on Wikipedia, with a few details the author added to enhance the story. Of course the part of the story about "The Chaperone" was all fiction. It was an interesting story covering Cora from age 6 to into her 90s.

It touched on the orphan trains, which I must admit I knew very little about. I found that a history lesson in itself for me. Makes me want to read more about that period of time in history, although it sounds like a very sad time period. Anyway I must say I really did enjoy most of the book, it was a bit long in the jaw, but other then that it moved along pretty swiftly. I actually enjoyed the story enough to award it 5*****stars. 

I own this book and it is part of my personal library. 

1 comment:

  1. Gigi Ann, this sounds like an interesting blend of fact and fiction. I'd like to learn more about orphan trains. Wonderful review!