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

by Laura Moriarty

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1581177,025 (3.93)73
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, US, 1920s, orphans, New York, adoption, historical fiction

Work details

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (2012)

  1. 11
    Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Marilyn Monroe, old Hollywood and her life.
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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 |
This novel by the talented Laura Moriarty is mostly fiction but also part real-life. The fictional protagonist is Cora and the real-life character is Louise Brooks, the silent film star. After spending about five weeks together the summer Louise is 15, Louise makes only occasional appearances throughout the rest of the book.

The settings are Wichita, Kansas, and New York City (NYC) in the early 1900's. This is definitely Cora's story: she was in an orphanage in NYC, put on an orphan train to the mid-West, and taken in by a wonderful couple who gave her a loving home. Fortunately, I had read the novel, The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline, so I was familiar with this aspect of Moriarty's novel.

Louise's story is based on details of her career as a dancer and silent film star and her upbringing in Wichita. Cora volunteered to be the arrogant Louise's chaperone the summer Louise attended a prestigious dancing school in NYC. Cora had her own agenda for going with Louise. They had a profound effect on each other which affected the rest of their lives.

Many issues are discussed: moral attitudes (homosexuality, birth control, the KKK), parenting, prohibition, corsets, and hemlines just to name a few. It was a different era and things we take for granted now were taboo then.

Ms. Moriarty definitely did a lot of research to write this novel. Her characters are memorable. I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend it. 5 Stars! ( )
  pegmcdaniel | Feb 8, 2016 |
Maybe 3.5 stars. It's a time period I'm interested in although the last several decades of Cora's life were kind of a whoosh. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Maybe 3.5 stars. It's a time period I'm interested in although the last several decades of Cora's life were kind of a whoosh. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Maybe 3.5 stars. It's a time period I'm interested in although the last several decades of Cora's life were kind of a whoosh. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (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
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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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