Marigold's Reviews > The Chaperone

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
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's review
Jul 09, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fun-and-sweet, historical-fiction

Yes, this novel is about The Chaperone & not the chaperoned! If you want to read about future silent film star Louise Brooks, the book is not really about her. The star character is Cora Carlisle, a Kansas housewife who accompanies Louise to NYC in the summer of 1922. If Louise knew the secrets that Cora & her handsome, successful husband are hiding, she'd think they were way cooler! Yes, there are secrets. Cora is going to NYC for reasons of her own - & she finds the information she's seeking - but she also finds something else.
I loved Cora & the journey she makes - & how through it all, she still can't stand to hear people swear! She keeps her innate kindness - wanting to know how Louise is doing, years later. She is a true character - a woman who is open enough to keep learning new things about herself & the world around her, though in that summer of '22, she appears to others as a stereotypical middle-American, middle-aged housewife.
That said, this is not a "heavy" book by any means - it's a good summer read with loads of charm. It is also good historical fiction, & gave me a good look at America in the 1920's. It occurred to me as I was reading this, that we all think we're living in times of tremendous change right now - but women who lived from the 1880s into the 1950s must have felt that too - & if they lived into the 1960s, it probably felt even more startling! I also wish I could see the New York City of the 1920s that Moriarty conjures up - it sounds like a wild place!
The only little tiny negatives : most of the book takes place during the 1920s, & then a big huge chunk of history/Cora's life is covered in a few pages at the end. Too bad the writer didn't leave room for a sequel - I would have read another book about Cora! There is also some narrative shift at times that was distracting - as in, "Cora sat....Cora walked....Cora thought..." then suddenly, "Years later, Cora would know that...." But these were only slight distractions to me.
Oh, this was given to me for my birthday, so thank you, Pat B!!

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