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September 6, 2020
A great read. Lots of interesting converse topics covered many of which are very current today. Looking forward to watching the movie😊.👍Will recommend this for a book club selection.
I came to this book with few expectations and am glad I didn't read the "expert" reviews. This book is a stunner. Yes, it moves slowly; but that is deliberate. Every historical detail serves a purpose, every thought, gesture and action--things you can't say about every historical novel. The book traces the development of Cora Carlyle from her start as an ignorant product of her society to a force for doing what is right out of a sense of compassion and not out of the rigid, narrow-minded moral rules that still beset too many Americans. Louise Brooks is a counterpoint, willful, self-centered, yet honest.
A quick moving story about a 37 year old woman chaperoning a 15 year old in New York City in 1922. The story begins in 1922 but travels back in time to provide background on the main character and then forward in time through the 1980’s. Because so much history is covered, this story connects in with historical events like the orphan trains, the jazz scene in NYC in the 20’s, the dust storm, Great Depression, WWII, birth control access, civil rights, and gay rights. Each of these historical events impact each of the characters in particular ways and further carries the story along. This has many themes: family, acceptance, truth . . . A really good read!
The last half is definitely more enjoyable than the first. Hang in there because the first half gives tone and background. As the story progressed I felt that the author finally got a sense of her message or plot. Most interesting were the details of life from both sides of town in the early 1900's.
I enjoyed how the book tracked through history over the lifetime of the main character. A reader gets a BRIEF glimpse at some rarely covered topics, such as the orphan train, Lysol used as a contraception, silent movie actress Louise Brooks (from teenage dancer, to screen artist, to book author), orphanage & home for unwed mothers, Wichita, KS history and growth. This is a historical novel and presents an interesting perspective of moral and culture of a young adult and their chaperone -- and the growth of both as the world around them changes.
I liked the main character, she was very strong and overcame many hardships. The rest of the characters were one dimensional and many were thrown in helter skelter. The bits of history thrown in were mildly interesting but could have been enlightening if the author had focused. I am going back to non-fiction.
A beautiful story about love, acceptance, and compromise. Recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby
The year is 1922. In Wichita, Kansas, 15-year-old Louise Brooks needs a chaperon to escort her to New York for a summer dance program. 36-year old Cora Carlisle accompanies the beautiful, young, insolent Louise to the Big Apple with hopes to discover important links to her birth parents. While struggling to impart some sense of decorum to young Louise whose sexuality and free spirit contradicts Cora’s conservative nature, she discovers a certain liberation in her new position that makes her examine her life from a fresh perspective. This beautiful and well-researched historical novel offers a fascinating glimpse into the issues of the early 20th century—Prohibition, the First World War, flappers, suffragettes, the Civil Rights Movement, homosexuality, divorce, and orphan trains among them. Worth a read! (submitted by MR)
4.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical fiction and complex characters who experience a lot of character growth.
Louise Brooks is a young dancer, who has been accepted to a dance school in New York City. Her parents make an agreement with Cora, a married woman, to be her chaperone for the trip. Cora has a mission of her own while she is in New York, one that she'd rather keep to herself. Over the trip Cora realizes that Louise is a lot more work than she had expected, but learns from her all the same. This story is an interesting coming of age, and coming into one's own story for both characters, set in the backdrop of the 1920's.
I really enjoyed the time period this book was set in, and that it wasn't all about flappers and big parties. So many books set in the 1920s are incredibly flapper-centric. I liked that the narrative spanned multiple plots and parts of the main character's life as well. I felt like Cora grew a lot as a character throughout the book, and I was really delighted to see where she went through the end of the novel. I thought that the writing was really rich and descriptive, and I loved the nod to the Midwest. Moriarty is an alum from my university, and it was fun to read about bits of Kansas. I also felt that I learned a decent bit about orphan trains as well as society (and its expectations) in the 1920's. Highly recommend if you enjoy historical fiction.
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.
Another great book from local author, Laura Moriarty! The way she writes about women and relationships between women is like no one else.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
A historical novel about small town women in Wichita, Kansas in 1920s. Moving story with unexpected twists and ultimate feminist message.
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.
This is historical fiction. I love it when I read about something I didn't know. Very different and very entertaining. I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters.Many social issues and how they faced them in those days.
This is the ultimate beach book and is so good!I I had never heard of it when i saw it on the library shelves and was intrigued by the cover. The story is about two women, one becomes a famous movie star & now cult icon-Louise Brooks and the other remains a Wichita "housewife". But who is the real rebel and who does have the truly unconventional life? Read and find out. Five stars***** Oh BTW-book will be made into a film with Elizabeth McGovern playing the main character when she is older. Movie is done by the same producer & director team who brought us Downton Abbey-be seeing this for sure!
While this is a compelling story, pieces of it feel like a history text rather than historical fiction.
I read it in 3days. One night at 3AM I put it down. Well written. Maybe there will be more from this author.