Catharine's Reviews > The Chaperone

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
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Nov 05, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from June 18 to 21, 2012

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 characters and how they found that sense of self, or did not find it.
The other theme was morality. Set in the 20's, morality was black and white. If something was bad that was it, there were no shades of gray. As Cora went through life, those lines began to blur. She was very judgmental in the beginning of the novel and became more aware and accepting as she matured. It was interesting to see the contrast between her and Louise, who because of life's unfairness, had a distinct lack of morality. The "real life" character, Louise, however, had very real consequences for her actions, but Cora, the fictional character, had a better life as she became more accepting of immorality.
I read a review on Goodreads earlier. The reviewer mentioned that the historic information was sometimes put in as an aside; she said, "It was jarring every time" I agree. The author also covered large blocks of time and often it seemed rushed. The book would have been better if Moriarty hadn't tried to cover a lifetime.
On a positive note: Cora's story was very interesting and it really pulled me in. It didn't take me long to read the book.
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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Angie Great point, I hope you don't mind, I borrowed this from your review and gave you credit as "one reviewer": "Louise had very real consequences for her actions, but Cora, the fictional character, had a better life as she became more accepting of immorality." Well said.


Catharine Of course I don't mind. I'm flattered.


message 3: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann Spivack I agree it was flawed but I think I would still recommend it for the orphan train part of the story, which I thought was so well done and real. I think she had to get across the idea of life being long (otherwise Cora could not have come to care about Raymond and Louise would not have reached a point where she was a writer rather than just a beautiful face.)


Sami Aviles I agree that it seemed rushed. Mainly towards the end after Cora returned home.


message 5: by Beata (new) - added it

Beata Siwinski Thanks for your review, but you could you add 'spoiler alert' to it? Thank you =)


Catharine Sure, if you tell me what I've said that spoils the plot.


Diana Leigh I loved this book. It's my favorite one I've read this year.


message 8: by Beata (new) - added it

Beata Siwinski Catharine wrote: "Sure, if you tell me what I've said that spoils the plot." Hi Catharine, its not until almost halfway in the story that Cora searches for her mother. Otherwise thank you for a good review =)


message 9: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon there were many portions for the book that left me wondering why the auther didn't give us more information. In the beginning the story was rich and full of detail. Toward the end the narrative was more like a documentary. Did not like the shift in style.


message 10: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Amato happy i didn't pay any attention to your review


Whitney Totally agree. The historical asides totally took me "out" of the story. And the book seemed to drag on at the end trying to wrap everything up.


message 12: by Lyra (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lyra I agree with Ann about the orphan trains. Disappointing overall though.


Shannon Breen I thought the book was 1/3 too long. Really engrossing until they returned from New York. I agree about it feeling rushed at that point.


Estott I liked Cora's character, but not this book. It got 2 stars from me only because it has a good style,


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