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The Chaperone

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  58,634 ratings  ·  5,959 reviews
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 N
Hardcover, 367 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Riverhead Books (first published 2012)
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Kim I don't recall any mention of Vivian Vance, but that's very interesting to learn that they were childhood friends!…moreI don't recall any mention of Vivian Vance, but that's very interesting to learn that they were childhood friends!(less)
Cynthia the girls in the orphanage have oatmeal for breakfast and lunch and then bean soup with vegetables for dinner. Once Cora was adopted she used to eat m…morethe girls in the orphanage have oatmeal for breakfast and lunch and then bean soup with vegetables for dinner. Once Cora was adopted she used to eat mashed potatoes until she was stuffed and hid biscuits away thinking she wouldn't always be fed so much. She drinks orange Crush with Joseph in New York. Along with roast beef, sweet potato croquettes are served at her wedding. At her apartment with Louise in NY the have toast with butter and strawberry and jam and oranges.(less)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  58,634 ratings  ·  5,959 reviews

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Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jeanette (Again)
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
First off, I am a sucker for historical fiction. I really, really liked this book! Cora Carlisle (the chaperone) is a great character. I felt as though I knew Cora and was completely wrapped up in her life. There was one twist in the story I didn't see coming :-) The author also piqued my interest in reading more about Louise Brooks, who was certainly a woman ahead of her time! I would highly recommend this one. I've already passed my copy to a coworker. ...more
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historic-fiction
It's the summer of 1922 in Wichita, Kansas, and thirty-six year old Cora Carlisle is bored. Her twin sons are preparing to leave for college, and she doesn't have anything to do with her time except various charity functions. Then she learns that her neighbor's fifteen year old daughter has been accepted to a summer dance program in New York, and needs someone to accompany the girl as a chaperone. Cora volunteers for the job, but has motives other than just an excuse to get out of Kansas for the ...more
Elyse  Walters
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cora Carlisle is a fictionalized character, as 'The Chaperone', in this story to
Louise's Brooks who in real life was a film actress and dancer who starred in 17 silent films and 8 sound films before she retired in 1938.

Author Laura Moriaty created a really engaging tale about a journey that Louise Brooks & Cora might have taken together to New York. Louise was only 15 years old when she
auditioned for the famous Denishawn Dance Company in 1922
*In read life: Louise did get hired with the compa
Cathrine ☯️
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it

I would describe this story as a woman’s journey of self-discovery as she is entering a mid-life crisis at the dawn of the twentieth century. A voyage to discover truths about her beginnings which will change the set course of her life as she knows and expects. It will lead to one focused on greater personal fulfillment and meaning rather than other’s expectations or strictures.

Cora is wearing a tight corset during this quest which is mentioned often. It’s uncomfortable constrictions offer a
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

Parts 1 and 2: 4 stars

Part 3: Negative 80 stars

What a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE end to an actual decent book with a great message and discussion topic.

My recommendation: Don't read past page 285 or read Part 3 if you liked what you were reading in Parts 1 and 2.

Full Review:

The year is 1922 and Louise Brooks of Wichita, Kansas is headed to New York City to dance with the Denishaw group. Cora Carlisle is set to go with her as a chaperone - but Cora wants to go for reasons more than keeping L
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty is a book of historical fiction. The central character, the chaperone referred to in the title, is the fictional character Cora X, a child brought out to Kansas on an orphan train. Her name will become Cora Kaufman after adoption and then after marriage Cora Carlisle. The story opens when she is thirty-six, living in Wichita, married and the mother of twins. With the twins to be gone working on a farm over the summer, Cora grabs at the chance of seeking out her bi ...more
Joy D
Fictionalized account of the woman who accompanied fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks (the future silent film star) to New York in 1922. Thirty-six-year-old protagonist Cora Carlisle desires to find out more about her birth parents, after coming to Kansas on an orphan train. The plot follows their trip to New York and the subsequent events in their lives. It is based on a true story.

I liked Cora's backstory - it was nice to see an orphan treated well by her adopting family. The author inserts socia
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it
The story is set in 1922 in Wichita, Kansas. It is the story of Cora Carlisle, a friendly neighbor, chaperoning Loiuse Brooks to New York for the famous school of dance Denishawn.

I liked this more than I thought because of the twists in Cora's marital life. I thought she was just another rich snotty lady but she had her reasons for being the way she was. She had a hard time with Brooks due to her anger issues and viciousness. Brooks was not an easy person to like even with all that beauty.

May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have had this book on my shelf for ages, so glad I finally decided to read it.
The book tells the story of Cora,( fictionalized) from her childhood on up. As an adult in Wichita, Kansas, she has the opportunity to be a chaperone in NYC, to a 15 year old girl, Louise Brooks, who became a real life silent film star.
It is really 2 stories in one, we follow Cora & her life & what is was like for women at this time in history, I enjoyed that very much. It talked about what they had to wear, about b
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: passed-on
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 ch
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
An interesting historical read about Cora who becomes a chaperone for a fifteen year old Louise Brooks for 5 weeks one summer in NYC where she seeks out and finds the sad truth of her past and finds happiness for her future. The book addresses many difficult issues of the times spanning from 1922 thru the 1970's such as prohibition, homosexual relationships, unwed mother's with unwanted children, segregation, and use and advertising of contraceptives.

I must admit that I had no knowledge of silen

Millicent Fitzgerald
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book I've read by this author. I thought it was really neat how the author put together true facts about the actress Louise Brooks but also added to the story so that it was a mix of fiction and biography. It gives you a sneak peak into how her life was like. It also takes place in the 1920's which I also really liked because I love old Hollywood. The book goes into depth about each characters personality and life. Louise was a headstrong and determi ...more
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books I didn't want to end, so looked forward to my daily hour (or so) of listening. Outstanding audio narration made the experience even more special; Elizabeth McGovern managed to differentiate voices perfectly.

Not really a spoiler, but wanted to advise that that story is essentially divided in three parts: Cora's childhood and early marriage; New York with Louise Brooks; life after the trip. Difficult to discuss specifics without spoilers, since it's the periodic reveals that mak
Sometimes the best thing to do is to put two very different people together and great things can happen. . .

Louise Brooks, spoiled and untameable - Cora Carlisle, a housewife, proper and prim - an entertaining read, where they both learn something from each other. I liked it, googled a lot about Louise thereafter to see what was true and what was fiction. By the end of it all, I felt sorry for Louise for all the ways her arrows missed the bullseye, and I liked the fictional Cora - wondering what
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’d had this on my TBR list for a couple of years, and can’t even remember why I added it, but it was an enjoyable read.

I’m not sure whether I should admit to not having known who Louise Brooks was - she was a famous film star in the early to mid-20th century, and Laura Moriarty has woven a story around her and the summer she went to New York to attend Denishawn, a famous dance studio, with a chaperone.

I did some googling of Louise Brooks while I was reading this. I don’t know whether she defini
B the BookAddict
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: GR friends
Shelves: fiction

The blurb of this novel actually misleads readers, in my opinion. The story merely skims life of the legendary Louise Brooks, 1904-1985, dancer and actress, the woman who popularised bobbed hair. It is instead the story of Cora X, later Cora Kaufman, finally Cora Carlisle, a woman who broke all the rules in her own quiet way and went on to live the life she so richly deserved. A 3.5★ novel.
Dale Harcombe
In 1922 Cora Carlisle is offered the chance to travel from Wichita to New York as chaperone for 15 year old Louise Brooks. Louise is looking for the opportunity to join the prestigious dance school and from there to make her name in New York. But this is not really Louise’s story, even though in real life Louise Brooks did go on to be a silent movie star, something which I knew nothing about till reading this book. Instead, it is really Cora’s story. Cora grew up in New York at the Home for Frie ...more
JoAnne Pulcino

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 trad
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
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
I'm a little confused by this book. I'm not even sure how to write this review and articulate my thoughts about it.

While it was interesting to learn about Louise Brooks, the story could have done without her. Cora, chaperones a 15 year old Louise Brooks to New York City to attend the Denishaw Dance School. Cora's real purpose in doing so was to use the time to search out and learn of her parentage. She had been an orphan, shipped on the orphan train to Kansas.

The whole story is contrived and a b
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, x2012
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."
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I felt slightly misled by the synopsis of this novel, thinking that I would get a window into the life of young Louise Brooks. But this turned out to be the life story of Cora Carlisle, Louise's chaperone during a brief stint at dance school in New York. The story line covers all of Cora's life, not just her role as chaperone. Although Louise Brooks is a loose thread which awkwardly resurfaces, this is Cora's story.
Initially, I felt disappointed to not learn more about Miss Brooks but soon enou
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Classy and Trashy...: November 2020 Pick: The Chaperone 3 4 Nov 14, 2020 08:26AM  
Play Book Tag: [Poll Ballot] The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty - 3 stars 14 22 Nov 04, 2020 09:29AM  
How Much Was True? 10 689 Aug 08, 2020 07:36AM  
Screen & Page: The Chaperone 1 4 May 21, 2019 10:17AM  
Downton Abbey: The Chaperone for Downton Fans 3 10 Feb 26, 2018 08:40AM  
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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 lives in Lawrence, Kansas. ...more

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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.” 21 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.” 13 likes
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