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The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
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The Chaperone (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Laura Moriarty

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926979,453 (3.98)71
Member:lynnie108
Title:The Chaperone
Authors:Laura Moriarty
Info:Riverhead Hardcover (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:2012, Nook

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The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (2012)

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Cora is raised in an Catholic orphanage, until she is taken to Kansas one one of the Orphan trains. She is "adopted" (the paperwork is never formalized) and this story of her "successful" life is an impressive tale of how things have changed and what improvements individuals can make on society. As a middle-aged matron Cora is engaged to chaperone a teenage girl in New York and she sees the beginnings of the effects of the "modern world;" she returns to Wichita to start a home for unwed mothers and live a good life, despite her need for propriety (her husband is gay, she lives with a man who is her lover, though everyone believes he is her "found" brother-in-law). A story about the tales we tell about our lives. ( )
  minxcr1964 | Sep 7, 2014 |
This was a great read. This book was mostly about Cora but also about Louise, the young girl she chaperones to New York. It is written from the chaperones point of view and talks about how the trip and time spent with Louise brooks changes her. ( )
  teeth | Aug 23, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book a lot….right up until the end. The book kept me interested and was hard to put down, but in the last couple of chapters it kind of spun out of control. I know that I often comment that I wish the author would have added an epilogue to let me know what happened to the characters, and I still believe that. An epilogue set twenty years in the future that looked quickly back and told me what the characters were doing now would have been great. Instead, this book tried to tell the whole twenty years in just a few pages. It felt a bit like a space travel movie, where things speed up a little….and then a little more….and then a lot more….until they blur by so quickly you aren’t really sure what it happening!

The story was a good one, reminding me a little bit of Orphan Train, with an older woman who was transported west on an orphan train develops a relationship with a young teen who is for all purposes without parenting. I was a little surprised by the emphasis on Cora, the older woman who chaperones Louise to New York. It should have been obvious from the title, but I think the ‘blurb’ on the cover through me off. Though Louise is part of the story, she is not at all the central character in the story.

The story also reminded me a little of The Other Typist in that it was set in the ‘roaring 20s’ and Louise was a young woman of the 20s. The story told of speakeasies and flappers and sexually liberated young women. It was only after I finished the book and read a bit about the real Louise Brooks that I realized how much of the story was not fictional, but was in fact, based on the life of Louise.

Except for the ending I enjoyed this book a lot. Our book club had a good discussion, discussing topics from changing attitudes towards women, when it is ok to lie, and poor parenting skills, among others. If you are part of a book club, you will want to add this one to your list! ( )
  Time2Read2 | Aug 15, 2014 |
A great read. ( )
  INorris | Jun 22, 2014 |
Cora’s life seems just perfect. Her husband loves and respects her, in a time when women were struggling for independence. Her children are grown, and Cora’s life seems quiet and sedate. Yet she jumps at a chance to become the chaperone for a young girl whom she does not know. We discover that beautiful, young, headstrong Louise is not the main focus of the novel; her life seems wide-open despite her lack of conformity to social mores. Cora is clearly the heroine, and the one with deep, dark secrets that need to be resolved.

I loved the writing style. There is intrigue and mystery surrounding Cora and Louise both, and the reader becomes involved in their lives and histories, waiting for more on each upcoming page. I found Cora’s character to be strong, empathetic, open-minded and likeable. Louise I found it hard to sympathize with or relate to; her willfulness made her a prickly person, and even reading about her made me want to keep her at arms length.

All in all, I found The Chaperone to be a very good read!
( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
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Epigraph
When a lovely woman stoops to folly, she can always find someone to stoop with her but not always someone to lift her up again to the level where she belongs. - "Mr. Grundy", For Atlantic Monthly 1920

It excited him, too, that many men had already loved Daisy-it increased her value in his eyes. - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925

There is not Garbo! There is no Dietrich! There is only Louise Brooks! - Henri Langlois, 1955
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The first time Cora heard the name Louise Brooks, she was parked outside the Wichita Library in a Model-T Ford, waiting for the rain to stop.
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Book description
Only a few years before becoming a famous actress, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Witchita to make it big in NY. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip. She has no idea what she's in store for: Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob and bangs, is known for her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spent together will change their lives forever. For Cora, NY holds the promise of self-discovery, and even as she does her best to watch Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission. While what she finds isn't what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of the summer, Cora's eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive. (ARC)
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"A novel about the friendship between an adolescent, pre-movie-star Louise Brooks, and the 36-year-old woman who chaperones her to New York City for a summer, in 1922, and how it changes both their lives"--

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