The Chaperone
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The Chaperone

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  26,351 ratings  ·  3,641 reviews
The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone isa 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 leave...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette
Corsets, yes. Condoms, no. Times are changing in 1922, but repressive attitudes linger. Birth control is for sleazy people. Divorce carries a permanent stigma. Homosexuals are called "sodomites," and face severe consequences if found out. The Volstead Act (Prohibition) is strongly enforced, and abstinence a virtue.

Like most people in Wichita, Cora Carlisle adheres to these conventions out of habit, and fear of being ostracized by the community. Along comes sassy little Louise Brooks. Beautiful,...more
Alena
I really liked so much of this book (including Elizabeth McGovern's excellent narration), but it just went on so long. I felt like it had several false endings, places where I was finished but then it kept going.
Maybe the probelm is just that I didn't expect an epic when I began. The story covers almost 50 years of Cora's life in a great deal of detail. And while I find the 20th century interesting background, I was frustrated at Moriarty's need to touch on so many different "issues" -- Prohibit...more
Sabrina
When one reads the name of Louise Brooks on the jacket of a book, one assumes that the book will be filled with tales of the glamorous silent movie star who went to seed too fast but remained proud and arrogant till her death. The fact that the name of the book is The Chaperone hinted to me that the story might involve Louise Brooks’ influencing her dowdy chaperone and introducing her to the big bad (beautiful) world of New York City. That makes for okay reading. Luckily for me, the book in no w...more
Catharine
I can't recommend this book to any of my friends.
SPOILER ALERT: There is a bit of a spoiler in the next paragraph.
There are a couple of themes going on in this book. The first is knowing oneself. How do we know who we are? Cora, abandoned as a child, felt compelled to find her birth mother because she thought it would help her to feel complete. Louise, raised by two parents, seemed to have the background that Cora envied. The author did a good job exploring the lives and backgrounds of the two...more
Agatha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane
I’m usually wary of novels, set in a period within living memory, that use real people, who lived and breathed, as characters, but there was something about this book that called me. And I’m very glad I did.

And, of course this isn’t the story of Louise Brooks, silent movie icon; it is the story of one woman who crossed paths with her in one summer that would change both of their lives.

It opens in the early 1920s, the in Wichita, Kansas, where housewife Cora Carlisle has undertaken to act as chap...more
JoAnne Pulcino
CHAPERONE

Laura Moriarty

A captivating and thoroughly enchanting novel of two very diverse women and their impact on each other that will affect their lives greatly.

In the summer of 1922 the stunningly beautiful fifteen year old Louise Brooks sporting her soon to be famous black bob and blunt bangs wants to leave Wichita, Kansas to study dance at the Denishawn School of Dance. Against her will, her family decides their willful, arrogant daughter cannot go without a chaperone.

Cora Carlisle a tradi...more
Nancy
I loved this book! The story is compelling and the message is amazing. The biggest part of it is set in the 1920s and 1930s in the Midwest and in New York City. It personified an era of strict morals and a stratified society during a period of change. Through strong female characters, Cora and Louise, each crying out for change in her own way and within her own societal- and self- imposed boundaries for behavior, we see how transitions between eras are not without bumps. By layering my current f...more
Marcia
An outstanding story of an outstanding woman. No, not Louise Brooks, the famous silent-film star, but Cora, her chaperone on a somewhat brief but life changing trip to New York City in 1922. Cora X Kaufmann Carlisle lived well into her 90s, and along the way she changes from saying things correctly to saying the right thing and in doing so, was "grateful life could be long."
Lauren
As a disclaimer I will say I read this whole book on one long plane ride, so that may have made me like it less than I would normally. It was an exciting plot and I was never bored, however some things really bothered me:

1) I could not believe the main character at all. For one thing she went through a 180 in her personal beliefs all because of Louise and Mary O'Whatever...both of whom were obnoxious and unenjoyable. I had a REALLY hard time believing her relationship with Joseph. And why did sh...more
Rose
Favorite quote “That's what spending time with the young can do - it's 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.”

********spoiler alert******
Between 1853 and 1929, more than 250,000 children rode the “Orphan Train” to new lives.
Noeleen
Duh! I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't realise until towards the end of this book that Louise Brooks was a real person. So once I finished reading, I spent another hour or so looking up information on the web about Louise, old photographs, articles and videos. I love when a book directs me towards something new and interesting that I didn't know about before.

I found The Chaperone a really good page turner of a story, not a story pre-dominantly about Louise Brooks but about Cora Carlisle, Loui...more
Lydia Presley
Okay, seriously - when I first heard about The Chaperone it was through Twitter, and it was because I'd just finished listening to Rules of Civility and loved every second of it. Folks, I am not joking - this book was amazing. It completely lived up to the hype of my ranting and raving over Rules of Civility and, not only that, it reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

This is the story of a mature woman, Cora Carlisle, and an adventure that takes her...more
Robin Nolet
Years ago I read the biography of Louise Brooks, a fiesty young woman from Kansas, who lived in the early years of the last century. Louise pushed the boundaries of her day-she was politically inappropriate, and just flat out inappropriate in pretty much every way that could be unacceptable to the times she grew up in. In fact, her behavior wouldn't be so acceptable these days, either. She was damaged, and a user of people in her quest for personal gratification and success. So of course, she we...more
Marci
This was supposed to be a triumphant, even inspiring story. I found it neither. It was sad and cautionary to me.

I'm not recommending this to my friends unless you really want to have an imaginative glimpse into the summer that rebellious, free-thinking 15-year-old Louise Brooks went to New York. That part was written pretty well and draws you into the life of the "chaperone," Cora Carlisle, the fictional character of the title.

The pacing afterwards was extremely uneven to the point of being off...more
Barb
I was disappointed when I finished this, not in anything about the book but by the fact that I wasn't going to be able to spend any more time with Cora Carlisle.

In 1922, Cora Carlisle is a thirty-six year old conservative mother of two college age sons and wife to a successful and handsome attorney. The Carlisles live in Wichita, Kansas near fifteen year old Louise Brooks and her family. Louise is a beautiful girl and a very talented dancer who has the opportunity to participate in the world ren...more
Nancy Boren
We read this book for book club this month. It was my pick. Is this the best book ever? No. However, almost all of us confessed to not being able to put the book down. It is a real page turner and the perfect book to read on an airplane or on vacation. It's a great light read and actually a really good book club book. It has a bunch of twists and it actually made for very interesting book club conversations. It covered a wide range of topics that led us to discussions not just on the book but on...more
Katie(babs)
The Chaperone isn't a type of book I usually read because I'm not a big fan of women's fiction overall, but when TLC Book Tours on behalf of Laura approached me about The Chaperone and asked me to be a part of the book tour for Laura, I decided to take a chance and stretch my wings, so to speak.

The Chaperone begins in 1922 from the POV of thirty-six year old married mother of two, Cora Carlisle. Cora has a wonderful marriage with a loving husband and two wonderful twin boys who are ready to go t...more
Patrick Neylan
Mar 01, 2012 Patrick Neylan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Book clubs
Recommended to Patrick by: Amazon Vine
Something tells me I shouldn’t like ‘The Chaperone’. I’m suspicious of any novel that uses real people; it seems like an off-the-shelf solution to character development akin to a restaurant buying-in ready meals instead of cooking their own dishes. And the plot – of Kansas housewife Cora confronting her past and learning about life beyond her closeted existence – is too redolent of middle-aged women’s beach-towel fiction, with a dash of family saga thrown in.

But Laura Moriarty is such a skilled...more
Caroline
I read this book in two days, which either shows it was great or it was easy reading. I really enjoyed this book until the end. Basically, the plot is that Cora travels with a young 15 year old, Louise Brooks, to New York, for dance. The book takes place during the 1920s and highlights women's vote, clothing changes, prohibition, great depression, etc. Cora is a married women with two grown sons. She participates in society functions and follows all the 'rules' such as morals and how someone sho...more
Treat Street
Before I get into the nitty gritty, I'll say that overall, the writing was of good quality and I certainly wasn't gritting my teeth through this. Honestly though, with the limited time I have for reading, I'd like to "undo" and I wish I'd read something else instead.

I felt there was a bit of "bait and switch" with the title and description of this book. Louise Brooks was barely a character...not even a supporting actress if this was a movie. Any rambunctious 15-year old could be fit into the slo...more
Gail
I love digging into a great book while on vacation and Laura Moriarty's "The Chaperone" did NOT disappoint. A wonderful piece of historical fiction focused on the nascent career of silent film star Louise Brooks, "The Chaperone" shares the story of Louise's first trip to New York City in 1922 while accompanied by her chaperone, Cora Carlisle.

It's a fascinating bit of back-and-forth storytelling between the two women, with Moriarty offering plenty of insight into both their lives to keep you intr...more
Rosy
May 15, 2012 Rosy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
In 1922 Cora Carlisle accompanies a 15-year-old Louise Brooks for a summer in New York City. They start out as strangers, yet the time they spend together leaves Cora forever changed. The Chaperone is a novel of contrasts during an interesting time in history: Kansas versus New York City, old versus young, conservative versus progressive.

Cora has her own reasons for going to New York City, and her backstory is interspersed with the trip to New York in parts one and two. You get a full picture of...more
Heidi
Don't bother! After reading recommendations in 2 magazines about this book, I immediately downloaded it on to my kindle to read on the plane. I was drawn to the historical setting of the story but this story could have taken place during modern times. A young girl's inappropriate language, clothing, and quest for fame would easily fit into 2012 setting; including the situation of the main character's marriage (avoiding a spoiler alert here). The author did nothing to really draw the reader into...more
Barbara Kluver
This could be the best book I have read in 2013. I have had it in my Audible library for quite a while and am not sure why it took me so long to listen to it. The narrator is Elizabeth McGovern, the actress that plays Lady Grantham on Downton Abby. She is absolute perfection as narrator. The story of Cora, who, at the age of 36 accompanies a young (15-year-old) and reckless Louise Brooks to New York City as a chaperone is wonderful. It is the early 1920's. Women are just beginning to rebel again...more
Sterlingcindysu
Wow! 50 of my friends gave this an average 3.9 review. I don't know if I'd give it a 4, but definitely a 3.5.

Very good writing and great historical research. Moriarty follows through on actions the characters take, unlike many books. I think there was a natural ending to the book, the summer after the chaperoning and I don't know if the rest of the story really adds anything.

This isn't a story about Louise Brooks--the title is correct, it's about the chaperone. (and a good cover too!) I'd say...more
☮Karen
It is the summer of 1922 when Cora Carlisle agrees to chaperone fellow Wichita resident Louise Brooks to NYC for six weeks. The pair set out with their own goals for the trip. Louise yearns to become a famous dancer with the troupe from the dance school she will be attending, and it is no secret that she did in fact become famous. Cora's wish is to learn what she can about her childhood spent as an orphan in NYC-- where she came from, and maybe learn the identities of her parents or the shawled...more
Book Concierge
Audio book performed by Elizabeth McGovern
3.5***

In 1922, only a few years before she will become a famous film actress, 15-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita for a summer in New York City. Much to her annoyance, her parents have hired a neighbor to accompany her as chaperone. Cora Carlisle is 36-years-old, and her sons have left for college, so her husband can certainly do without her for a few weeks. But Cora has her own private reason for making the trip. She has her hands full with the imp...more
Belinda
The eponymous chaperone in this book is Cora, a 1920s Witchita housewife who agrees to chaperone the beautiful but rebellious and wild Louise Brookes in New York for a summer. While in New York, Cora embarks on a journey of self-discovery with unexpected results. Also, and this is repeated a lot of times in the text so it must be very important, women wore corsets and they were very uncomfortable. Repeated many times, a very clear indication that an author doesn’t think very highly of her audien...more
Catherine
Laura Moriarty is one of my favorite authors, but I was a little worried about the historical fiction aspect of this one. Because I knew so little about Louise Brooks, I spent less time than I usually do wondering what’s real and what isn’t. The book is much more about “The Chaperone,” Cora Carlisle, and her quest to learn about her own history and create happiness in her future, than it is about Louise.

Cora is a complex character, wrestling with many controversial issues of the era, including...more
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How Much Was True? 4 137 May 04, 2014 09:44PM  
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Audio-Bibliophiles: The Chaperone Discussion Thread 50 137 Apr 03, 2013 07:55AM  
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Laura Moriarty earned a degree is social work before returning for her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She was the recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She currenly lives with her daughter in Lawrence, Kansas, and is at work on her next novel. (from http://www.lauramoriarty.net/bio.htm)
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“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.” 14 likes
“That's what spending time with the young can do—it's 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.” 5 likes
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