The Chaperone

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The Chaperone

by Laura Moriarty

Putnam | June 5, 2012 | Hardcover

The Chaperone is rated 3.7 out of 5 by 10.
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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.25 in

Published: June 5, 2012

Publisher: Putnam

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1594487014

ISBN - 13: 9781594487019

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Classy I really enjoyed The Chaperone. By the end I was tearing up because you really become attached to the characters (good and bad!).
Date published: 2014-09-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Highly Over-rated This book was raved about. Had I noticed that it was recommended by "O" Oprah magazine I would never have picked it up. As it was I picked up several books at one time to read and this was one of them. First off it took well over 100 pages for it to grab my interest. After that it was slow, draggy and sorry boring. I stuck it out till the end but there is no way I would recommend it to a friend to read. A look at the 20's etc. a little but really it was like watching paint dry for me. But that is one person's opinion and obviously I am in the minority. I will know better next time though.
Date published: 2013-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book club recommend This isn't just a story of two completely different women who are at different stages of their lives experiencing New York. It is so much more. As each one confronts their own personal demons and dreams, the reader is exposed to life in one of the most challenging decades for women - the 1920's. And soon we find that they are not so much different than we are. And the issues are still pushing us to face our own futures. One of the best books about forgiveness and kindness I have read in a while.
Date published: 2013-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommended I just finished this novel and recommend it highly, not just to get a feel for NYC in the 20s, but for an engrossing story about family and love in all its many forms and what life was like in Kansas, away from the lights of the 'big city'. I disagree with a previous reviewer who disliked the second half of the book--I really liked seeing Cora's develpment as the effects of her trip to New York reverberated through the rest of her life.
Date published: 2013-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful escape to a chaotic time The Chaperone follows silent film star Louise Brooks to New York City in the 1920s before she was famous. In this book she is a precocious teenager who is fully embracing the scandalous changes that the 20s brought to America just a few years before she makes it big. The Chaperone of the title is Cora, Louise's adult chaperone who is to keep her out of trouble while in NYC attending a summer dance school. The story mostly follows Cora and her secret reasons for going to NYC and how it all unfolds. She is from a different generation and finds herself often shocked by Louise's behavior. However as she sees the way society is changing and does some reflecting on her own situation, she finds herself changing as well. This is a wonderful escape to a different time that is often glamorized but, as usual, not everything we think it was. Race issues, prohibition, same sex relationships and birth control were all hot button topics in this era and are all touched upon in this book. I wish the author had ended it a bit differently but I think I understand why she did it the way she did.
Date published: 2013-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable for its simplicity The narrative of what this book is about doesn't really do the story justice. The story is really more about Cora's journey of self-discovery as influenced by her history, her charge's attitudes (Louise), and the rapidly changing world beginning in the 1920s. An interesting journey. I didn't realize as I read this book that Louise Brooks is in fact a real person with a historically accurate depiction (at least regarding her history and career) in this book. That put things in new perspective once I had finished. While the book wasn't a page-turner per se, or terribly riveting, I still thoroughly enjoyed Cora's character, loved reading about life in NYC in the 1920s, and for some reason I can't put my finger on, I simply enjoyed this book for its simplicity.
Date published: 2013-01-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing Finish The first part of the book which covered the trip to New York and backstory was terrific with great characters. However, the second part of the book was hurried. I felt I was reading an outline for a great book and wished that the writing delved more into the chararacters rather than resting on a promising premise.
Date published: 2012-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read! Story Description: In 1922, only a few years before she will become a famous film actress and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita for a summer in New York City and the avant-garde Denishawn school of dance. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone. Cora Carlisle is neither mother nor friend, just a respectable neighbor whom Louise’s parents have hired for propriety’s sake. But upstanding, traditional Cora has her own private reason for making the trip. Of course, Cora has no idea what she’s in for; young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob, is known for her arrogance, her disregard for convention, and her keen intelligence. By the time their train pulls into Grand Central, Cora fears that supervising Louise will be at best exhausting and, at worst, impossible. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will be the most important of her life. For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the center of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission. And while what she discovers isn’t what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of the summer, Cora’s eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive. In this beautifully written and deeply moving novel, fact and fiction blend together seamlessly to create a page-turning story of two very different women who share a desire for freedom and fulfillment. My Review: Cora Carlisle is a thirty-six-year-old woman in 1920 married to, Alan, a successful lawyer and living in Wichita. Together they have twin boys who are away working on a farm for the summer and will be entering college upon their return. Cora is a strong woman, very traditional with her dress and a strong sense of right and wrong. Abandoned as a child and living in an orphanage in New York, she is put on a train and adopted by the Kaufmann’s and raised in the Midwest on a farm. She has always wanted to return to New York to try and find her birth mother so when an opportunity arises for her to “chaperone” fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks to New York for five weeks during the summer she jumps at the chance. Alan is busy at work and with her boys away it’s the perfect time for her to go. Louise Brooks is an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous young girl with black hair cut into a very short bob. She is a dancer and will be attending the Denishawn Dance Studio for the summer in the hope of being chosen as their star dancer and moving onto bigger and better things. Cora soon realizes that her chaperoning job isn’t going to be quite as easy as she first thought when Louise disappears at the train station while waiting with their families to see them off. When Cora excuses herself to find Louise who said she was going to the bathroom, she instead finds her outright flirting with a man. Once on the train it doesn’t take Cora long to realize that Louise is going to run circles around her, is a tad mouthy, arrogant, and quite openly flirtatious. Cora tries to lecture her about respectability and being moral but Louise just scoffs at her. Cora has always tried her best to do what society and everyone else expects her to do rather than seek her own happiness, however that is about to change. Upon her return from New York, she learns something about Alan that she’d rather not know and this provides her with the courage to abandon her old ways and begin living for her own happiness rather than what other people’s expectations of her happiness should be. During the last two-thirds of the book, we see a completely different Cora whom I came to admire. I think she showed a lot of courage and perhaps some may see her as being less than honest but I was rooting for her all the way. If anyone deserved a true sense of peaceful fulfillment and happiness, it is Cora Carlisle. The Chaperone is a wonderful novel of self-courage that is filled with insight yet gracefully poignant. I loved this book and might just read it again!
Date published: 2012-06-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from fascinating and historicaly accurate The Good Stuff Thoroughly researched and every aspect of story true to the time period Moriarty fabulous at setting mood and landscape of the story Excellent character development for Cora (Don't want to put spoilers in so I will leave it at that) Background of Cora slowly emerges like little mysteries being solved, which keeps you interested Really gives you a glimpse into the lives of women during the late 1800's to mid 70's and all that we have overcome Also you get a real feel for the American Midwest during the 1920's Nice commentary on change, acceptance and forgiveness Will make you want to pick up a copy of Lulu in Hollywood (Louise Brooks memoir) Loved that it focused, not on the famous Louise Brooks, but a simple conventional mid-western women who ends up living a very unconventional life A lovely book to lose yourself in on a cold winters night - or in my case two extremely bumpy plane rides (helped get me through it by the way -- the power of a good book my friends) Takes history and makes it personal and something you can connect with Really got a kick out of some of the dialogue that came out of Viola's mouth & felt extremely lucky to have grown up in the era I did Learned some fascinating information - floored by how the Ku Klux Klan tried to get women to join in Kansas The Not So Good Stuff Story starts very slow, but keep reading it gets going a quarter way through and you become hooked Last years of the story goes by so very quickly and feels rushed Hard to read at times due to the plight of women and all they had to fight against in terms of access to birth control and the condemnation of unwed or poor mothers Favorite Quotes/Passages "Foolish. This bobbing business is just a craze. When its over, everyone who followed the lemmings over the cliff will need years to grow their hair out." "But Cora felt a girl needed a stronger warning - if only because the world was unfair. There are some inequities that wouldn't change. Maybe they couldn't. In any case, it was simply the way things were." She glanced over her shoulder before leaning in. "Louise, I'll put it to you plainly. Men don't want candy that's been unwrapped. Maybe for a lark, but not when it comes to marriage. It may still be perfectly clean, but if it's unwrapped, they don't know where its been." "That's what spending the time with the young can do - its the big payoff for all the pain. 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." Who Should/Shouldn't Read Definitely for those who have a interest in Louise Brooks Fans of historical fiction - especially in 1920's America Not for those looking for non stop action and sex Good for those interested in a discussion of women's rights and feminism 4 Dewey's Received this from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Date published: 2012-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoroughly researched and fascinating The Good Stuff Thoroughly researched and every aspect of story true to the time period Moriarty fabulous at setting mood and landscape of the story Excellent character development for Cora (Don't want to put spoilers in so I will leave it at that) Background of Cora slowly emerges like little mysteries being solved, which keeps you interested Really gives you a glimpse into the lives of women during the late 1800's to mid 70's and all that we have overcome Also you get a real feel for the American Midwest during the 1920's Nice commentary on change, acceptance and forgiveness Will make you want to pick up a copy of Lulu in Hollywood (Louise Brooks memoir) Loved that it focused, not on the famous Louise Brooks, but a simple conventional mid-western women who ends up living a very unconventional life A lovely book to lose yourself in on a cold winters night - or in my case two extremely bumpy plane rides (helped get me through it by the way -- the power of a good book my friends) Takes history and makes it personal and something you can connect with Really got a kick out of some of the dialogue that came out of Viola's mouth & felt extremely lucky to have grown up in the era I did Learned some fascinating information - floored by how the Ku Klux Klan tried to get women to join in Kansas The Not So Good Stuff Story starts very slow, but keep reading it gets going a quarter way through and you become hooked Last years of the story goes by so very quickly and feels rushed Hard to read at times due to the plight of women and all they had to fight against in terms of access to birth control and the condemnation of unwed or poor mothers Favorite Quotes/Passages "Foolish. This bobbing business is just a craze. When its over, everyone who followed the lemmings over the cliff will need years to grow their hair out." "But Cora felt a girl needed a stronger warning - if only because the world was unfair. There are some inequities that wouldn't change. Maybe they couldn't. In any case, it was simply the way things were." She glanced over her shoulder before leaning in. "Louise, I'll put it to you plainly. Men don't want candy that's been unwrapped. Maybe for a lark, but not when it comes to marriage. It may still be perfectly clean, but if it's unwrapped, they don't know where its been." "That's what spending the time with the young can do - its the big payoff for all the pain. 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." Who Should/Shouldn't Read Definitely for those who have a interest in Louise Brooks Fans of historical fiction - especially in 1920's America Not for those looking for non stop action and sex Good for those interested in a discussion of women's rights and feminism 4 Dewey's Received this from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Date published: 2012-05-09

– More About This Product –

The Chaperone

by Laura Moriarty

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.25 in

Published: June 5, 2012

Publisher: Putnam

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1594487014

ISBN - 13: 9781594487019

About the Book

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.

Read from the Book

One The First time Cora heard the name Louise Brooks , she was parked outside the Wichita Library in a Model-T Ford, waiting for the rain to stop. If Cora had been alone, unencumbered, she might have made a dash across the lawn and up the library’s stone steps, but she and her friend Viola Hammond had spent the morning going door-to-door in their neighborhood, collecting books for the new children’s room, and the considerable fruits of their efforts were safe and dry in four crates in the backseat. The storm, they decided, would be a short one, and they couldn’t risk the books getting wet. And really, Cora thought, staring out into the rain, it wasn’t as if she had anything else to do. Her boys were already gone for the summer, both of them working on a farm outside Win?eld. In the fall, they would leave for college. Cora was still getting used to the quiet, and also the freedom, of this new era of her life. Now, long after Della left for the day, the house stayed clean, with no muddy footprints on the ?oor, and no records scattered around the phonograph. There were no squabbles over the car to mediate, no tennis matches at the club to cheer on, and no assigned essays to proofread and commend. The pantry and icebox actually stayed stocked with food without daily trips to the store. Today, with Alan at work, she had no reason to rush home at all. “I’m glad we took your car and not ours,” Viola said, adjusting her hat, which was pretty,
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

Laura Moriarty is the author of The Center of Everything, The Rest of Her Life, and While I’m Falling.  She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Editorial Reviews

“It’s impossible not to be completely drawn in by The Chaperone. Laura Moriarty has delivered the richest and realest possible heroine in Cora Carlisle, a Wichita housewife who has her mind and heart blown wide open, and steps—with uncommon courage—into the fullness of her life. What a beautiful book. I loved every page.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

“What a charming, mesmerizing, transporting novel! The characters are so fully realized that I felt I was right there alongside them. A beautiful clarity marks both the style and structure of The Chaperone.”—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab''s Wife and Adam & Eve

“The Chaperone is the best kind of historical fiction, transporting you to another time and place, but even more importantly delivering a poignant story about people so real, you''ll miss and remember them long after you close the book.”—Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers
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