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The Chanel Sisters

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,366 ratings  ·  324 reviews
A novel of survival, love, loss, triumph—and the sisters who changed fashion forever

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family years before, they’ve grown up under the guidance of pious nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic nov
Kindle Edition, 329 pages
Published December 29th 2020 by Graydon House
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,366 ratings  ·  324 reviews

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Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating historical novel which is based on some facts and the gaps filled with fiction. The story of the Chanel sisters is narrated by the less well known Antionette and she gives an excellent voice to the rags to riches story and lasting fame of Gabrielle, better known as Coco Chanel.

This is a very enjoyable well written novel that is hard to put down. Particularly interesting is the convent orphanage where the girls learn to sew under the exacting standards of the nuns. The auth
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to DeAnn by: Ceecee
Shelves: 2020
4 ooh la la stars

I really enjoyed this historical fiction story about the Chanel sisters – there was actually a large family – 3 sisters, 2 brothers and an aunt who was almost the same age as the sisters. How two of the sisters started and grew the Chanel empire was a fascinating story! The author definitely used some historical research, but like many books with this model, much is created for the sake of a good storytelling.

I assumed that the Chanel family was ultra-wealthy and created the emp
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This well done historical fiction tracks Gabrielle (CoCo) and Antoinette Chanel from their early days at a Catholic orphanage. “All those years on the rue Cambon, in Deauville, in Biarritz, people thought they were buying Chanel, glamour, Parisian sophistication. But what they were really buying were the ornaments of our childhood, memories of the nuns who civilized us, the abbey that sheltered us.”
From the very beginning, they felt destined for Something Better. Each seeks to accomplish that th
Rags to riches. From their humble beginnings raised in a convent by nuns to the glitz and glamour of Paris. This was a riveting tale about Antoinette and her better known sister Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel. Judithe Little has crafted a well researched fictional biography about these fascinating sisters. The story is told completely through the eyes of Antoinette Chanel. I thought this was extremely impactful because you really got the chance to know and understand Coco from the perspective of her cl ...more
Jessica | JustReadingJess
The Chanel Sisters is an interesting historical fiction novel about Antoinette and her sister Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The book starts out with the sisters living in an orphanage as children. The Chanel Sisters goes through the sisters’ lives and struggles. The sisters are trying to be more throughout the book. Little is known about Antoinette, so Judithe Little based the book on what she thinks and hopes happened in Antoinette’s life.

The Chanel Sisters is fascinating. Antoinette and Gabrielle h
1897. The Chanel sisters began practicing their stitches at orphanage in Aubazine. At the Pensionnat Notre Dame at Moulins town, they are charity vs paying families. While they mop the floors and scrub the pots, the privileged girls practice piano or fancy needlework. Here, they are constantly reminded of their lowly station. And they have to practice stitching in secret. A couple, who runs a shop specializing in lace and other fashionable trimmings for the fashionable ladies, hires Gabrielle. A ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Check out all of my reviews at:

THE CHANEL SISTERS by Judithe Little is a historical fiction novel featuring the Chanel sisters and is told from the perspective of the youngest sister from the time they are placed in a convent orphanage until her death in 1921. The author gives us a fascinating look at the early establishment of a new fashion style and the birth of a business empire run by women in a society dominated by men.

With the death of their mother and aba
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve." Coco Chanel

Thanks, Coco, I'll remember those words as I creep ever closer to the latter .... 🙄

I admit going into this one, other than the brand, I knew little about Coco Chanel - oh, and that it was the title of a Nicki Minaj song (although now I find out it is really a reference to cocaine, not Coco Chanel - oops!) The book cover caught my eye though, with a blurb
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written and captivating rags to riches story.

I will admit I didn't know much about the Chanel sisters or their family. This was very interesting.

Another great pick by Sweetreads Box!
Claire Fullerton
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“A lovely, gorgeously set, romantic story sure to charm lovers of historical fiction with its joie de vivre and savoir faire.”

In Judith Little’s beguiling The Chanel Sisters, the road to personal fulfillment starts with a dream. Sisters Gabrielle, Julia-Berthe, and Antoinette have much to overcome. They are left to fend for themselves pre-pubescence, when their mother dies and their father, known widely as a rootless “seducteur,” deposits them at an Aubazine, France, orphanage with false promise
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Chanel Sisters

A entertaining and enlightening historical fiction novel full of tragedy and hopefulness.


Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel are abandoned by their family at a young age. Nuns at the orphanage are preparing them to lead simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. But the sisters are not content with what the nuns tell them they will be. They wanted something more...something better.

When they are finally old enough, the Chanel sisters set out toge
The Chanel Sisters is the remarkable and sometimes heartbreaking story of Coco Chanel and her sister, Antoinette. After overcoming poverty and growing up in a convent, the sisters struggled to make their way in the world and left an indelible mark. I loved this story and can’t wait to see what Judithe Little writes next!
Literary Redhead
THE CHANEL SISTERS tells the addictive tale of the early life of French designer Coco Chanel and her younger sister Antoinette. Raised in a convent after their mother died, they’re left with nothing but courage to pursue their dreams of being accepted and respected. Fashion-mad and ambitious, they start with a small pre-WWI hat shop in Paris that eventually blossoms into haute couture’s most famous brand. An enthralling read for hf lovers who adore fashion and the early 20th Century — my kind of ...more
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's historical fiction as there's not a lot out there about Coco Chanel's sister Antoinette and she tells the story. I love the author's version of her life. If you like historical fiction you'll love this book. I won this book on Goodreads and feel lucky to have won it. ...more
Literary Redhead
THE CHANEL SISTERS tells the addictive tale of the early life of French designer Coco Chanel and her younger sister Antoinette. Raised in a convent after their mother died, they’re left with nothing but courage to pursue their dreams of respect and acceptance. Fashion-mad and ambitious, they start with a small pre-WWI hat shop in Paris that eventually blossoms into haute couture’s most famous brand. An enthralling read for hf lovers who adore fashion and the early 20th Century — my kind of book! ...more
Paige Green
Dec 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Chanel Sisters

Author: Judithe Little

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommended For...: historical fiction, fashion, Chanel

Publication Date: December 29, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction

Recommended Age: 16+ (grief, romance, sexual content)

Publisher: Graydon House

Pages: 400

Synopsis: Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family years befor
Elliot A
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Thank you to the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with an ARC of The Chanel Sisters in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Gist

At times it’s very tough to get excited about anything, since the world turned upside down almost a year ago. I thought the story, The Chanel Sisters, could help me forget reality a little bit while I took a trip into the world of historical fiction.

For a while, it certainly looked that way, until…Well, until this 400-page book began to
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I actually expected something a little different from what I got with this novel.
For some reason, I thought I would learn a bit more about Coco Chanel (Gabrielle). However, this was an interesting look into the lives of all of the Chanel sisters. We learn next to nothing about the boys in this book.

Be aware that unless you are fluent in French, and perhaps what might be outdated
French, you may be at sea with a lot of the words and terms as I was. Thank goodness for Kindle translations!

I was a
Laura Peden
4.5 I really enjoyed this. Saskia Maarleveld is by far my favorite historical fiction narrator. Interestingly enough, the main POV of the book is Coco Chanel’s sister, Antoinette Chanel. If you love fashion I think you’ll love this one just as much as I did.
Carol (Reading Ladies)
4.5 Stars

I’m delighted to take part in the Fall 2020 Blog Tours for Historical Fiction From Harlequin Trade Publishing! Thanks for the invitation. Thanks #Netgalley #HarlequinPublishing @HarperCollins for an electronic complimentary copy of #TheChanelSisters for review. All opinions are my own.


Raised in a strict convent orphanage, the Chanel sisters, Gabrielle (“Coco”) and Antoinette, know that they are destined for something better. They hide romantic novels and fashion maga
This is a fiction book about the Chanel Sisters before they became "Chanel". We follow the sisters as they grow from children living in a conventional to adults trying to make their way into life. We follow them through the times that led to their fashion dynasty and through World War I.

I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it if you enjoy historical fiction.
Wow. It’s rare to start a book and immediately feel like you will love it. I felt that way with this book and I was absolutely right :)

It was refreshing to read about Coco Chanel before she was Coco.
This book is about The Chanel sisters and their honorary sister Adrienne.

The name Chanel was not a good connection when the girls were growing up. Antoinette, Gabrielle and Julia-Berthe were left with the nuns after their mom died. Their dad had run off and left them to fend for themselves.

The nuns t
Cindy Burnett
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This gorgeously-written book chronicles the lives of Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel from their early years at the convent orphanage in Aubazine. Their time at the orphanage left a lasting impression on both girls and forged a determination in Coco to create a better life for herself and to seek entrée into the upper-crust society who refused to accept her. From the days of their hat shop on rue Cambon in Paris to the years after the war, Little tells the women’s stories through the eyes ...more
Susan Peterson
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Judithe Little has written an engrossing and intimate story about the Chanel sisters. Told from the point of view of the youngest sister, Antoinette, we learn of their hardscrabble, lonely childhoods, their yearnings for something better, and their ultimate success. The portraits of these young women in this book are honest, revealing their ambitions as well as the desires of their hearts. I was transported to the stark convent where they lived following the death of their mother to the g ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Thank you to Netgalley and Headline for the arc of The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little.

4 star read- This is a historictal fiction following a convent orphanage which is were girls learn to sew under the exact standards as the nuns. it covers the time period of 1897 and 1921. It is very emotional when it describes the effects of the first world war and more about CoCo;s dreams and desires this is an interesting and entertaining great read, i love so much this was a great book, highly recommend

Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, netgalley
I found The Chanel Sisters very interesting! It is a well-written historical fiction, and the story is told from the point of view of the middle Chanel sister, Antoinette. Readers get a glimpse at the beginnings of the Chanel fashion house as well as the sister’s humble childhood and later romantic escapades.

The story provides much information about Gabrielle (Coco) not only as it pertains to her younger sister, Antoinette, but also about their growing business and various romantic dalliances.
Aayushi Gupta
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review originally published at My Bookish Banter

The Chanel Sisters was absolutely unputdownable, and I was sucked into the book from the very start. Every piece of the story had its own charm, whether it was the years spent at the orphanage, the struggle to make a living after being freed from the walls of the convent, or the ups and downs in the personal lives of the Chanel sisters through and after the war. The pace REALLY picks up in the second half, and I read the last 50% in a single sittin
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the Chanel Sisters - Julia - Berthe the oldest, Gabrielle "Coco", and Antoinette "Ninette" - and their story from childhood through the end of their lives. Judithe Little did a great job telling their story sticking to the actual history of their lives, as much as was available for Julia and Ninette. I never knew the sad story of their childhood and upbringing, as it was. The inspiration Coco used for her CC symbol, her hats, her clothing line and even her signature perfume ...more
Diane Standish
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to #Edelweiss and #GraydonHouse for the opportunity to read and review this book. Pub date 12/29/2020
I was delighted to read a book that told the story of Chanel from the point of view of the unknown sister Antoinette . The story begins with their life in the convent where they grew up. Ninette actually is an integral part of Coco's rise to fame. She worked in the hat shop, where she developed the expertise for making hats, and more importantly had the skills as a sales person that helped
Hope Hunter
Historical fiction account of the Chanel sisters as told by Antoinette Chanel, Gabrielle "Coco's" younger sister which tells of the sisters' upbringing by nuns in a strict Catholic orphanage to Coco's rise as a fashion icon.

Little is known about Coco's sister, Antoinette, so I appreciated this perspective. This book read more like a nonfiction account instead of a fictional story. I was a little disappointed that her involvement with the Nazis was glossed over; in fact very little was mentioned
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Coco Chanel was a Nazi collaborator--why isn't this in the novel? 1 11 Dec 11, 2020 08:10PM  

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Judithe Little is the author of THE CHANEL SISTERS (Graydon House), to be released December 29, 2020.

A graduate of the University of Virginia with a BA in Foreign Affairs and a law degree, she has studied in France and interned at the US Department of State. She lives in Texas with her husband and three children.

Judithe is also the author of the award-winning WWII historical novel WICKWYTHE HALL.

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