Review: The Chaperone
Fifteen year old Louise Brooks has outgrown the dance studio she attends in Wichita and needs to move to New York in order to improve her craft and become an actress. Proper young ladies don’t do that alone in 1922, so her parents hire Cora Carlisle to chaperone their daughter for the summer. Cora has her own reasons for going to New York, but her husband is the only one she shares her secret with.
Since Cora has raised twin boys she assumes chaperoning Louise won’t be all that difficult, but quickly discovers that her charge is headstrong, manipulative, and flirtatious. Between Louise’s challenges and her search for her past, Cora spends a summer like no other and returns to Wichita a new woman.
I loved The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. I felt like I was whisked back to the New York City of 1922 as I read it. I loved reading about the city, the fashions, and the morals of the time and thought the way Moriarty wove fact with fiction was fantastic!
I loved the characters in this book as well. On the outside, it seemed that Cora’s life was wonderful. She was haunted by the past, though, and it kept her from being totally happy in the present. I was frustrated by the rules of society that kept Cora from finding happiness. Louise was a whirlwind of a character – she was forward and brassy and challenged convention. Her disregard for others angered me at times, but when her past was revealed, I felt I understood her and began to sympathize with her.
I was captivated by the story right from the start. There was just enough tension and suspense to keep me interested and I loved all the details of the time period. I’m fascinated with that time period, but I’m glad I didn’t live in it – I don’t think I could tolerate a corset.
I generally don’t enjoy historical fiction so the fact that I loved The Chaperone should speak volumes. I would recommend it to readers of historical fiction and/or women’s fiction.