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Review: The Chaperone

June 24, 2012

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.

Review copy provided by Penguin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
39 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2012 6:35 am

    Can’t wait to read this one!

  2. Beth F permalink
    June 24, 2012 7:32 am

    I totally agree about the corset. The Chaperone is a true winner.

  3. June 24, 2012 7:59 am

    I have been waiting for you to review this one! I am so glad you loved it too – I though you would. I was fascinated that Louise was a real person, when I first picked up the book, I did not know that. It was interesting to read up on her after I was done with the book, about her career in silent movies.

  4. June 24, 2012 8:25 am

    Can I point my finger at you when my husband asks why my stack of TBR books never gets smaller? 🙂
    Thanks for the review. I love historical fiction and am always looking for a good book.

  5. June 24, 2012 8:53 am

    This sounds really good, what a great setting as well. I’ll have to add this to my wishlist.

  6. June 24, 2012 8:57 am

    I’m really looking forward to reading the Chaparone. It caught my eye months ago when I read the pitch, but even after I passed, it nagged at me. it sounds like my kind of book – New York, historical fiction, an actress, can’t wait!

  7. June 24, 2012 9:13 am

    I’m sitting here with my coffee this morning, browsing blogs and making a list of books to read/purchase and with this one, I’m up to 7. I might move this one up to the top tho…. or…and I really should do this more…use the library. It sounds really good–I can’t wait to read it.

  8. June 24, 2012 9:58 am

    I absolutely adored The Chaperone, too, and even though historical fiction isn’t usually my first choice, I’m especially drawn to the 1920s era.

    Louise was annoying at times, but you’re right about how understanding her background leads to a little more sympathy.

  9. June 24, 2012 10:04 am

    Great review – I love The Chaperone too!

  10. June 24, 2012 10:07 am

    Sounds so good! I can’t wait to read it!

  11. June 24, 2012 10:30 am

    I loved this book! It is so much more than Louise Brooks.

  12. sandynawrot permalink
    June 24, 2012 10:43 am

    I just got the audio of this one. It is on the short listening list!

  13. June 24, 2012 11:54 am

    I have this one in audio. I’m going to move it up to the next week or so.

  14. June 24, 2012 12:04 pm

    Just the thought of a corset leaves me gasping for air!

  15. June 24, 2012 1:09 pm

    Your recommendations makes me really want to read this – thanks! I had it on my list already but knowing that you liked it so much makes it a must buy.

  16. June 24, 2012 3:29 pm

    I’m glad to know that you enjoyed it, Kathy. I hope to read it soon!

  17. Patty permalink
    June 24, 2012 3:43 pm

    I loved the way you shared this…I have to get to this sooner than I anticipated!

  18. June 24, 2012 4:36 pm

    I really want to read this at some point. I have heard lots of good things.

  19. bookingmama permalink
    June 24, 2012 7:11 pm

    I agree. The Chaperone is a fabulous must-read book!

  20. June 24, 2012 7:12 pm

    This one sounds like something I would love!

  21. June 24, 2012 7:47 pm

    Awesome to hear how much you enjoyed this — looking forward to it. That’s (2) historical books about NYC for you (Gods of Gotham) – you are on a roll.

  22. June 24, 2012 8:16 pm

    I bought the audio of this one from audible. It’s going to be coming up soon. I listened to chapter one free before its release, I was instantly in love.

  23. litandlife permalink
    June 24, 2012 10:29 pm

    I loved this one, too. I thought Moriarty did a wonderful job, too, of moving from a storyline that was straight time for two-thirds of the book and then moving to where she was skipping chunks of years. I never felt like I had missed out on a thing and I’m glad Moriarty didn’t feel she needed to make the book longer to fill in all of those gaps.

  24. June 24, 2012 11:00 pm

    I’ll try to remember to return to read your review after I finish the book. I’m in the middle of it right now and didn’t want to risk any spoilers. I did see that you liked it though, which doesn’t surprise me because I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

  25. June 24, 2012 11:20 pm

    I like your recommendation of historical fiction/women’s fiction both genres I enjoy. This one is for me.

  26. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    June 25, 2012 6:34 am

    I have enjoyed her past book and was looking forward to getting this one for review but it never showed up. This is one that I will certainly be looking for at my library!

  27. Literary Feline permalink
    June 25, 2012 3:50 pm

    For some reason, I thought this book was about something very different! I read the author’s The Center of Everything years ago and really liked it. I will have to add this one to my wish list. It sounds like something I’d really like!

  28. June 25, 2012 6:25 pm

    That is saying a lot if you don’t normally like historical fiction. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one, so I will definitely keep it in mind.

  29. June 25, 2012 10:38 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this! It’s been getting fantastic reviews. Like you I don’t normally grab historical fiction but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist this one!

  30. June 26, 2012 10:56 am

    This sounds really good. I love the cover — it manages to convey the 1920s and still look quite contemporary.
    Joy’s Book Blog

  31. June 26, 2012 4:20 pm

    I’m so glad to see you enjoyed this one so much! Can’t wait to read it myself soon!

  32. June 26, 2012 10:17 pm

    I’m willing to try a corset if it will help me find my waist again!

  33. June 27, 2012 2:04 pm

    I am reading this at the end of July. I can’t wait! Thanks you for your review.

  34. June 27, 2012 8:54 pm

    I don’t think I could handle a corset either!!

  35. June 29, 2012 2:03 pm

    This is a wonderful review, Kathy. You have me convinced I must read this book and will love it! The 1922 NYC setting sounds fantastic and I like that Moriarity goes into detail – a big reason I want to read this book. Cora and Louise sound very different and intriguing in their own ways and I’m so interested in discovering how her summer with Louise changes Cora.

    I say this too often but The Chaperone is a book I’m going to try to get a copy of soon so I can read it sooner rather than later!

  36. July 6, 2012 1:43 pm

    Love your enthusiasm for this book. The NYC setting grabs my attention.

  37. July 7, 2012 7:27 am

    Thanks for the great review! I’ve added the audio to my wishlist.

  38. July 9, 2012 10:59 pm

    I’m listening to this on audio and really enjoying it!

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