Denise's Reviews > The Chaperone

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
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's review
Sep 04, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

This is historic fiction; the main character takes on the role of chaperone to fifteen year old Louise Brooks who goes on to become a famous and somewhat tragic silent movie star. Louise is scandalously blunt and outgoing, a real handful. She has come to New York from Wichita Kansas to attend a summer program at the famous Dennishaw Dance School. The main character, Cora, is in search of answers about her origins as she arrived in the Midwest via an orphan train. She has only very vague memories of her life in a Catholic girls’ orphanage and her toddler years prior to arriving there. Cora comes to NY on a personal mission and can barely tolerate her chaperone duties. Cora’s own family life has many secrets and her loveless marriage is barely tolerable. She has been a devoted mother but her sons are now on their way off to college and she is searching for a role. Her relationship with Louise is strained and her initial attitude is disapproving. However, over the summer, she learns to see some hard truths and encounters devastating disappointment when she makes contact with her birth mother. She finds unlikely love and a way to a shaky sort of happiness. She returns to her former life with her own secrets and engineers a way to live her remaining long life within the confines of her (unconventional) family, her church and her social group.
I enjoyed this book but it was a bit shocking and a bit incredible as well. The husband is just a bit too unreal. Louise Brook’s story is really a side line but was also intriguing. I did a bit of checking an all of the facts on her check out. Great book for discussion as long as people are tolerant.

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