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

by Laura Moriarty

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1731196,877 (3.94)76
Member:evymac
Title:The Chaperone
Authors:Laura Moriarty
Info:Riverhead Hardcover (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:family, relationships, lgbt, New England, usa, 1920s, orphans, New York, adoption, historical fiction

Work details

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (2012)

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    Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Marilyn Monroe, old Hollywood and her life.
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Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
The Chaperone – Laura Moriarty

5 stars


The story begins in 1922 as Cora Kaufman Carlisle and her friend go about their common routine of socially acceptable charity work in Wichita, Kansas. Their conversation takes in the political and social climate of the day along with the mild gossip common to well-to-do women. The scene is set. We know who Cora Carlisle is…. on the outside. The question is, why would she choose to leave her successful, well-known, lawyer husband to become chaperone to the 15-year-old daughter of a local social climber? Why is a trip to New York City so important to her? Why would her conventional husband allow her to go?

There is more to Cora Carlisle’s story than appears on the surface. This is a rich and layered story. Cora’s history and her character are revealed gradually in a seamless blending of past and present. In some ways this is a coming of age story, not for the adolescent Louise Brooks, but for Cora, the middle-aged mother of grown twin boys. The Louise Brooks story is woven around Cora’s as a contrast and as an historical touchstone. Cora is a person that I grew to like and admire more and more as the story progressed.

This book had a great deal to say to me. It approached many issues which are relevant in this age of face book and reality television. There’s a clear message. Louise Brooks became a scandalous public figure with every aspect of her self-destructing private life in view. Cora remained quietly private, with a socially acceptable public face. She lived her unconventional life without undo collateral damage. I’d like to shake her hand.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I found this story of Cora, and her chaperoning of a young Louise Brooks (a future silent film star) to New York in 1922 impossible to put down. The author did an impressive job of capturing the lives of women in a time of great social upheaval in a very realistic way. So often in historical fiction the characters seem like modern women dumped in a historical setting and act in a way that makes fun or puts down the standards of the times.

My only criticism of the book is that it went on too long. I enjoyed following Cora throughout her life, but think the time after the 1920s could have been summarized in one chapter. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
Louise Brooks – dancer, teenager, free-thinker – and Cora Carlisle – housewife, New York orphan, seeker of the truth – are headed to New York for the summer. It is the year 1922, and Cora has been chosen to be Louise’s chaperone. Both have their own reasons and agendas for going to New York. Louise is eager to break free of all restraints and become famous, a goal she will achieve before too long. Cora longs to learn the truth of her birth, a goal she, too, will achieve. But the roads to these successes are not easy ones, and the achievements not always ones to be cherished. Both these strong-willed women are complicated characters whose lives are strewn with obstacles to happiness, but who both persevere despite setbacks. This work of historical fiction, with the real-life character of silent film star Louise Brooks, will both enthrall and entertain you. Well-crafted and well-written, this novel is highly recommended. ( )
  Maydacat | Apr 18, 2016 |
I most likely would not have picked this book up to read if I had seen it at the library. This was our library book club's book for March. I borrowed it from Overdrive because there weren't enough copies to go around to all the members. I enjoyed the audio book very much. The narrator Elizabeth McGovern did a phenomenal job with this book. She has the perfect voice for the Chaperone.

I found myself laughing especially when Louise Brooks made a few of her off hand comments. I never even heard of Louise Brooks until I read this book. I guess some names of famous people just don't register when I read about them. I enjoyed this book and taking a look back at a time when life was different.

To think that you could go to jail for certain things makes you realize just how far America has changed over the years. ( )
  crazy4reading | Feb 26, 2016 |
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
367 pages

★★★★

In the early 1920s, conservative Cora Carlisle will travel to New York to chaperone a 15 year old girl with an attitude named Louise. In that short time in New York, Cora’s perceptions on many topics and the meeting of several new people will change her life forever – pushing her in a way she never imagined.

I really enjoyed this book. There is something about stories set in the Jazz Era that just suck me in and that’s exactly what this did, suck me in. Seeing how the characters progressed throughout the years was well done. Cora made these huge strides and I couldn’t stop reading, I wanted to know where she was headed next with her new point of view and boy did it take her places. This was really well written and it seems like it was fairly well researched in getting the era and the common practices of the time down. It was descriptive and beautifully written. My emotional investments in the characters luckily paid off, I was not disappointed with the ending at all.

The only weird part for me was not the fault of the author but the fault of my audiobook version. The audio version is well done but about half of the way through my audio messed up, skipping a good portion. The wait at the library for a replacement was far too long so I chose to just read the rest. I found myself reading in the voice of the audio narrator the rest of the time.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laura Moriartyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGovern, ElizabethNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
Dedication
First words
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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