The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty - 367 pages
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.
My Review: 3 stars
I really enjoyed this story although I was clueless as to who Louise Brooks was, so for me, the character the chaperone was meant to follow could’ve been fiction. This author has a great voice and captures this woman’s midwestern naivety perfectly. This story holds a lot of deep secrets during a time in which they would never be understood. Judgement plays its own character in this book and is a driving force in many of the actions that happen to the protagonist as well as the smaller characters. I love stories where an adult comes of age and this did happen in The Chaperone. The lesson that it’s never too late to be happy and follow your dreams is imbedded in this story with many characters. Lying is also a huge component of this story and why sometimes it’s okay to lie. I suppose at times the book seemed slow and although it was called The Chaperone, I thought being touted a historical fiction book, that I’d learn more about the silent film actress Louise Brooks.
Quotes I liked:
- “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 it.”
- “...Cora wished she would have spent more time on the essentials: when to say thank you and sorry.”
Tags: 2012, Historical Fiction, Coming Of Age
Labels: 2012, Coming Of Age, Historical Fiction