4 stars out of 5
No big surprise here that I liked this book as much as I did with my love of 20s history and all.
The story was centered more around Cora, the chaperone, instead of Louise Brooks. If you want to read about Louise there are plenty of books about her.
This means that the story is fiction but there is a ton of historical detail that I found absolutely fascinating as have other readers. I almost kind of feel like the book isn’t so much about being a chaperone to Louise but Cora’s growing up in society from being an orphaned girl to wealthy wife and how she adapts to the changing societal norms that were happening very fast.
Don’t even get me started on the history of women and Lysol. ICK!
Jeannette on Goodreads has this to say: “As far as I know, Cora Carlisle was not a real person, but she serves as an excellent vehicle to carry us through almost 100 years of life. A woman born in the 1880s and living into the 1980s had a lot of adjustments to make as the world changed around her. Cora isn’t a particularly exciting person, but the context in which she is placed makes her interesting indeed.”
Totally agree with Jeanette.
But, I couldn’t write a review any better than Goodreads member Sabrina did: “The Chaperone is a moral quandary, an ache for freedom and happiness, and a need to conform to the proprieties of society. It uncovers the fact that everyone has deep secrets which drive their actions. It showcases examples of good parenting, absent parenting, and downright horrendous parenting. It portrays the differences in love and how important certain unforeseen relationships can turn out to be. Most importantly, it confronts the truth and the necessity of hiding it for one’s own good. Cora’s character was equal parts practical and spontaneous. The fact that she was almost 22 years older than her charge showcases the differences in generational thinking and how both learned from each other, however reluctantly it might have been. The most beautiful part of it all is that the story is embedded in the world of Prohibition, blacks versus whites, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan, the ‘obscenity’ of birth control, the glamour of Broadway and finally, World War II. Moriarty takes us back into the 20s, 30s, and 40s with ridiculous ease as she weaves a plot that made me loathe to put the book down for as much as a minute.”
PBS is making this book into a movie for Spring 2019 starring Elizabeth McGovern from Downton Abbey! I will most certainly be seeing this in the theatre.
GOODREADS SUMMARY & OTHER REVIEWS
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.0