Vikki VanSickle's Reviews > The Chaperone

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
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's review
Aug 07, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: adult-fiction, summer-reading

I read this book because I was interested in the Louise Brooks connection. LB actually features very little in the story, mostly as a mirror in which narrator Cora reflects her own life and decisions, and also as a device for Cora to reach New York, where her life takes a dramatic turn. This being said I enjoyed the story of Cora Carlisle and the slice of history that author Laura Moriarty presents through the eyes of her heroine.

The Chaperone is very much the "true" story of Cora Carlisle's life, which is completely different from the life she presents as a proper, respected wife of a lawyer in Wichita. From her unknown family origins and youth as an orphan to her secret adult relationship, Cora is full of surprises. I loved how Cora's morals and ideas were challenged throughout her life and how she slowly but surely came to accept change and people for who they are. The first half of the century was an interesting time for women and it is easy to forget how much changed between 1910 and 1970. Moriarty does a great job reminding the reader of how far we've come.

This was a comfortable read and I grew to like Cora as a character, despite some of her (at times) frustrating behaviour. There was nothing outstanding or even uniquely original about the plot or the writing, but I looked forward to reading the book each time I picked it up and I flew through it in a couple of days. A great read for people who like women's historical fiction with a touch of social commentary.
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