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Review: Mademoiselle Chanel

June 16, 2015

Mlle Chanel

After her mother’s death, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters were sent to live in a convent.  The nuns helped young Gabrielle perfect her sewing techniques and fully expected her to join their order when she became old enough.  Gabrielle (or Coco as she came to be called) had other ideas, though, and worked tirelessly to survive and succeed at a time when few women did it alone.

Coco was innovative and daring and, after years of hard work, became well known in the fashion world.  Her legacy lives on to this day.

C. W. Gortner recounts the life of fashion icon Coco Chanel in his latest historical fiction novel, Mademoiselle Chanel.  Historical fiction is not a genre I gravitate towards but my book club selected this book so I added it to my reading list and, once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.  Told in the first person, it felt like Chanel was telling me her story and what a fascinating story it was!  Gortner is a wonderful writer and it’s obvious he did his homework before writing this book.  He showed how tough it was for a woman to make it on her own in the early 20th century.  I do think he softened Chanel up just a bit but that didn’t bother me – I still admired her tenacity and spunk.  In case you can’t tell, I loved this book.

My book club had fun with Mademoiselle Chanel.  Many members wore a little black dress and pearls to the meeting.  Everyone loved the book as much as I did but we still had a great discussion about Chanel, fashion, and history.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins and Book Club Girl Book Club.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
26 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth F permalink
    June 16, 2015 6:52 am

    You sold me with the line ” it felt like Chanel was telling me her story” — sounds great.

  2. June 16, 2015 7:20 am

    I haven’t been very interested in any of the books about Chanel but this one sounds like a winner!

  3. June 16, 2015 7:35 am

    I don’t know a lot about Coco Chanel, but I’d like to know more and this sounds like a good place to start.

  4. Teddyree permalink
    June 16, 2015 7:45 am

    So glad to hear you loved this one, especially since historical fiction isn’t your favourite genre. I love Gortner’s writing and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one.

  5. June 16, 2015 7:47 am

    I’m glad you loved this. I suspect Coco was as mysterious as the perfume named after her.

  6. June 16, 2015 7:49 am

    I don’t read enough historical fiction either… adding this to my list!

  7. Patty permalink
    June 16, 2015 9:35 am

    I would love to have been at that book club event! I have lots of LBD’s and pearls that I rarely get to wear!

  8. June 16, 2015 9:51 am

    sounds like a great meeting, thank you for your thoughts.

  9. Literary Feline permalink
    June 16, 2015 10:12 am

    I can’t say I have ever been that interested in Chanel, but this book does sound good. I am glad you liked it, Kathy.

  10. June 16, 2015 10:12 am

    I did not know she had been in a convent as a kid

  11. June 16, 2015 10:31 am

    I’ve never been interested in the fashion world, but I’m glad you enjoyed it so much.

    Like blodeuedd, I didn’t know she’d been in a convent.

  12. June 16, 2015 10:46 am

    Sounds like a good one. How cool that your book club dressed for the meeting!

  13. June 16, 2015 11:03 am

    This sounds like a wonderful book. I’m glad you and your book club enjoyed it, Kathy.

  14. June 16, 2015 2:04 pm

    I had no idea she almost was a nun!

  15. June 16, 2015 2:37 pm

    So glad you all enjoyed this one — I really loved it, too. I thought Gortner did a fab job of making me sympathize with her!

  16. June 16, 2015 3:28 pm

    Gortner’s books are always well done in my experience. I haven’t read this one, though.

  17. June 16, 2015 3:35 pm

    I love stories narrated by the MC in a conversational tone….and I love learning more about people from the past, especially iconic figures like Coco Chanel. Thanks for sharing.

  18. June 16, 2015 5:15 pm

    Sounds like a perfect book club choice. I love that some members dressed a la Chanel 🙂

  19. June 16, 2015 6:29 pm

    Sounds like an awesome book club meeting!

  20. June 16, 2015 9:26 pm

    Sounds the perfect book for discussion.

  21. June 17, 2015 12:41 am

    This sounds like a great read! And I would never have guessed that Coco Chanel was sent to live in a consent as a young girl!

  22. June 17, 2015 9:05 am

    I read Gortner’s first two novels and loved them both. I should make a point to pick up this book!

  23. June 17, 2015 5:41 pm

    That sounds like a great book club to participate like that! I’ve got this one on audio – I just need some time to listen to it. Glad you liked it so much.

  24. June 18, 2015 1:56 pm

    I agree! Gortner really did wonders with this story. I think it is my favorite by him so far.

  25. June 20, 2015 11:05 am

    Aren’t book clubs great? Its a nice way to discover books you may not have tried otherwise. Glad to hear you liked this one even if it isn’t a genre you normally read. Adding this book to my TBR.

  26. bookingmama permalink
    June 23, 2015 4:26 pm

    I thought this book was really well done. Great review!

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