Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

 genre: historical fiction

In the early 1920s, Cora Carlisle, respectable wife and mother, leaves Wichita to chaperone the then-unknown fifteen year old Louise Brooks as she travels to New York City to study with the Denishawn School of Dance.  Cora  has her own reasons for wanting to be in New York and during their time in the city, Cora learns not only more about who she is but what kind of person she would like to be and what sort of life she wants to have.

I've written a really simplistic plot summary, not just because my window of time in between feeding my twins is very small, but also so that I can leave the bulk of the story to the reader to discover.  I really enjoyed this book.  Despite the fact that I could only read it in short spurts, it kept my attention and I was always pleased when I could pick up Cora's story and learn more about her life.  The bulk of the story takes place during their New York trip, but the book itself travels throughout Cora's life, where we can see the consequences of the choices that she and her husband make - and we also get to follow along with Louise as she rises to silent film stardom and back down again.

I liked the pacing of the first 2/3 of the book better than the final third.  In the last part of the story, time went by so fast that it felt like more often we were being told what happened instead of really being a part of the action.  And while I didn't always agree with Cora's choices, I did like to get into her head and watch her eyes open to the bigger world, with all its faults.  As a novel and as a piece of period fiction, it gives us a very interesting look at a time and two different places through the eyes of a woman who slowly starts to realize that she's got what it takes to find happiness and keep it, as unconventional as it may require her to be.

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bermudaonion said...

I didn't realize your twins were born! Congratulations!!

I enjoyed this book and understand what you mean about the ending.

Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

TWINS???!! Holy Cow!! Where did I miss this!
Wonderous blessings to you and your family!

Seattle IT Consulting said...

I read another book by this author and loved it!!! This one calls to me and I hope to read it before the year is up!! Loved the gushing review!!

Get Best Info for Alaska Brown Bear Hunts said...

I loved this book and particularly loved the ending which ends with Cora's death when in her 90's. Life in the United States changed radically from Cora's birth until her death. Her seemingly simple, yet ever so complicated life is a reflection of that change. Highly recommended for anyone who likes historical fiction, New York City, the midwest, and families.

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