“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.”
I had the hardest time connecting with this book because there was not a likable character in the whole bunch. I found Cora to be a judgmental hypocrite, I found her husband to be a self-righteous liar, and don’t even get me started on what I thought of Louise. Cora starts out the book by lying about why she wants chaperone Louise on her trip to New York, yet she has kittens anytime Louise is loose with the truth. When Louise and Cora depart on the trip Cora makes the mental observation that Cora would probably be better served with a better mother, yet instead of trying to be that motherly influence on her she winds up being an overbearing prude.
Once they arrive in New York Cora takes the first opportunity to sneak away to the orphanage where she spent several years where she promptly judges the handyman before getting to know him, yet she jumps at the chance to use him and risk his job to get the information she needs. The only time I really felt sorry for Cora was when she met her birth mother, who is just as selfish as everyone else in the book, and when she discusses how her adoptive parents died and what she went through after that.
I did feel bad for Josef and for Cora’s husband’s “friend” when her husband is dying. The four of them living a life that they felt that they couldn’t share with the people that they loved the most, their children, was very sad. However, I felt that they should have given their kids the benefit of the doubt. The ending didn’t redeem the book any either as I felt that it was rushed.
2 out of 5
I’m glad you wrote an honest review! I hate hearing from someone that a book is good and then I read it and find out it’s horrible.
I’m glad you approve of the honesty 🙂 I don’t ever want someone to come back and say that a buck sucked that I raved about, that doesn’t help me, y’all, or the author. That being said everyone’s tastes are different.
Thanks for the honest review, but for some reason it makes me want to read it more. I may have put this one on my reading list.
Katelyn F says
I agree – honest reviews are VERY helpful when selecting books to read. The premise sounded good, but I can see how the characters can just ruin a story.
Jennifer @TheRebelChick says
I just finished reading the last book on my Kindle so I need a new book! Thanks for the recommendation, Chaperone looks like a good one!
Amy Desrosiers says
I love that you wrote an honest review of this book! It is refreshing to hear your thoughts on each character!
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
I hate when a book rushes the end and I am left feeling unsatisfied. Thanks for your good review on this, though – I am definitely glad I read this before I bought the book 🙂
This sounds like a very interesting book. I have just gotten back into reading since I have more time on my hands and this book sounds like one I would enjoy.
Loving your honest review. I have been mislead by some dishonest reviews in the past. I love a book where i can connect with the characters. This doesn’t sound to be one of them!
I tend to gravitate to television programs and books that have unlikable characters. It’s so much more fun when there was a villain, but I don’t want all the characters to be unlikable.
I just got off the phone with my best friend and we were discussing books to read. we do this about once a week. I think this storyline sounds interesting and will tell her about it
I do not think I will be adding this one to my book shelf. I need characters I can connect with.
This looks like a really good book to read!
Thanks for your honest review. It’s hard to really know if a book will be a good fit for me or not, and this honest feedback really helped!
Thank you for your honest and thorough review. I believe my mother said she was interested in reading this but I will definitely direct her to your review before she makes the purchase. There are a lot of books that aren’t my cup of tea either, and when I find myself not liking any of the characters it makes it harder for me to like a book. 🙂