The Chaperone

The Chaperone

Book - 2012
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The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.

Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she's in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.

For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn't what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora's relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.

Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s,'30s, and beyond--from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers,  and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights and new opportunities for women--Laura Moriarty's The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time and what a vast difference it all made for Louise Brooks, Cora Carlisle, and others like them.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2012.
ISBN: 9781594487019
Branch Call Number: MORIARTY
Characteristics: 371 pages ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

LPL_ShirleyB Aug 07, 2015

At the center of this beautifully written historical novel is Cora, Louise Brooks’ chaperone. Cora uses her chaperone duty as an opportunity to visit New York and uncover her own family origins. When Cora returns home to Wichita, Kansas she discovers revelations and acceptance. Moriarty is an ins... Read More »

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Jul 07, 2017

I didn't like this book as much as the others who have commented. The story felt quite contrived to me and spent far too much time going on about Cora The Chaperone's corset problems. I'm sure it was a very restricting garment, but not a very interesting one to read about. In several places the story paused in order for the author to shove in some research of the time period so I wasn't sure if I was reading a novel or a history essay. Each turn of the plot was quite predictable and some were just kind of silly. I had completely lost interest in the story half-way through and the last half of the book was too long and the characters were one-dimensional and boring.

Jun 21, 2017

Another great book from local author, Laura Moriarty! The way she writes about women and relationships between women is like no one else.

JCLMelodyMK Dec 31, 2016

I read this book for my book group and enjoyed it very much. It's thrilling to know that we have a local author in the area that writes such interesting historical fiction.

ArapahoeChristineS Oct 16, 2016

This historical fiction with bits of the real life firecracker, Louise Brooks, folded in was positively riveting. I couldn't put it down and it lingered with me after I was finished. It dealt with many issues of the time, including the struggle between women's rights and freedoms verses established social norms. It is a fascinating time in history and The Chaperone had a really interesting and solid storyline. Thoroughly enjoyable.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

Moriarty shows great skill in blending factual events from the life of silent film star Louise Brooks with her fictional work. Brooks is a vehicle for the larger plot, but Moriarty is careful not to cross the line where the actress' inclusion becomes too convenient (this is perhaps not so much true in later chapters, but she only barely steps over the line).

There may be disappointment for some when they realize The Chaperone isn't a novel about Louise Brooks. Even though the description on the dust jacket and the title itself should be an indication that this novel is much more the story of Moriarty's protagonist, Cora Carlisle, it is surprising at times how much Brooks is relegated to a secondary character, especially after the first half (which I can't help but wonder if this wasn't a brilliantly drawn parallel to Brooks' own dwindling career). Nevertheless, the fictional account of Brooks' summer in New York in 1922 should please many of her fans

LPL_ShirleyB Aug 07, 2015

At the center of this beautifully written historical novel is Cora, Louise Brooks’ chaperone. Cora uses her chaperone duty as an opportunity to visit New York and uncover her own family origins. When Cora returns home to Wichita, Kansas she discovers revelations and acceptance. Moriarty is an inspired local author!

Apr 18, 2015

Superb book in every way - more likely to appeal to women.

Mar 10, 2015

This historical fiction novel is based on the life of 1920's dancer and eventually actress Louise Brooks. There are two main characters, Miss Brooks and the lady that chaperones her to New York City. The story is told through the chaperone. Well written especially where true events are woven into the story. A book well worth reading!

Dec 06, 2014

A historical novel about small town women in Wichita, Kansas in 1920s. Moving story with unexpected twists and ultimate feminist message.

Jun 06, 2014

I was not in any way expecting to like this book so much but what a wonderful story.

This was a captivating tale of one women's life from the 20's to her death. She lives in a small town and has many secrets by the end of her life, most of which die with her. Even though Louise Brooks isn't the focus of the story she is a reoccurring subject throughout the book.

I couldn't put this down and finished it in 24 hours and I think that's a sign of a great book.

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SpringAltman Jun 21, 2014

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SpringAltman Jun 21, 2014

Cora becomes a chaperone to a young actress/ dancer Louis Brooks in 1920 NYC, but she has another reason for taking on this task


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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

The young can exasperate, of course, and frighten, and condescend, and insult, and cut you with their still unrounded edges. But they can also drag you, as you protest and scold and try to pull away, right up to the window of the future, and even push you through.


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