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The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

The Chaperone (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Laura Moriarty

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1,8181589,574 (3.85)101
"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"--
Title:The Chaperone
Authors:Laura Moriarty
Info:Riverhead Hardcover (2012), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (2012)

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English (158)  Spanish (1)  All languages (159)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed. A bit of early Wichita history. KIRKUS REVIEWIn Kansas-native Moriarty?s fourth novel (While I?m Falling, 2009, etc.), she imagines the life of the actual Wichita matron who accompanied future silent film star Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 as a favor to Brooks' parents.Although Louise Brooks was a larger-than-life personality whose memoir LuLu in Hollywood is held in high critical esteem, she?s given short shrift by Moriarty, whose interest lies in Cora Carlisle. In 1922, 36-year-old Cora faces an empty nest as her twin sons prepare for college. Her lawyer husband, Alan, 12 years her senior, is a wonderful father and a good man, but their marriage is a sexless sham. She has grudgingly accepted and kept secret his (lifelong) homosexual love affair. So Alan is in no position to stop her when she announces that she is escorting Myra Brooks? 15-year-old daughter to New York City, where the girl has enrolled in dance school. He knows Cora?s real reason for going east. She lived in a Catholic orphanage in Manhattan until she was 7, then was sent to Kansas, where she was raised by a loving farm couple. Now she yearns to learn about her parentage. Louise, precociously sexual as well as beautiful and brainy (Schopenhauer is her favorite author), is a difficult, unlikable charge, but Cora finds time in New York to seek out information. Joseph, the janitor at the orphanage, helps Cora in her research while introducing her to the passion her marriage never offered. With Louise on the road to stardom, Cora returns to Wichita with Joseph, claiming he is her brother¥a charade Alan agrees to maintain. Cora seems to represent the history of women?s rights in the 20th century. An early suffragette, she applauds the end of prohibition and champions birth control and racial equality. She also gives Louise good advice during a rocky period in her career.Unlike the too-infrequently-seen Louise, the fictional characters seem less alive or important than the issues they represent.
  bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |
Quite a nice read about how a young woman's life takes a turn when she decides to act as a chaperone for a teenaged girl in New York City in the summer of 1922.

Offering glimpses at life for orphan children in NYC to Hollywood starlets and homosexuals in 1920s Kansas it is full of surprises but mostly it's a nice story about nice people.

I read most this one while home sick nursing a head cold and The Chaperone proved a perfect companion. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Wonderful story and great characters! This book started off slow but I'm not sure it was the fault of the book or just me because I'm not a big fan of historical fiction. But fairly early on, I got caught up in the story and then I couldn't put this book down. I really loved the way the author developed Cora (the chaperone) by placing her in a few different and difficult situations so we could understand her growth. This was one of those books that I didn't want to end. I knew nothing about the actress Louise Brooks or the orphan trains so that was something new to research too. Good fiction. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
I love old Hollywood and even though I've heard about Louise Brooks and have seen pictures of her didn't know much about her. Cora (Louise's Chaperone) and Louise traveled from Kansas to New York, hopefully to start her career in dance. Louise is pretty mature for a 15 year old; in fact I thought she was much older and Cora was much older than her 35 years but I guess it was the era of the book – 1920's I think. She had an ulterior motive to go to NY and her husband was aware of it too so no secrets there.

At first, I didn't find this book very good and almost decided to stop halfway through but kept going all the same just to see what happened. I'm glad I did because the last 200 pages were well-done and worth reading after all. ( )
  sweetbabyjane58 | Dec 30, 2023 |
recommended by AP English listserv

as excellent as promised ( )
  pollycallahan | Jul 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laura Moriartyprimary authorall editionscalculated
McGovern, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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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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