The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

77%

23 Critic Reviews

She clings to benighted social attitudes that are guaranteed to change and will make readers feel enlightened.
-NY Times

Synopsis

The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, 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 New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.

For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.

Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s,’30s, and beyond—from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers,  and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights and new opportunities for women—Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time and what a vast difference it all made for Louise Brooks, Cora Carlisle, and others like them.

 

About Laura Moriarty

See more books from this Author
Laura Moriarty is the author of The Center of Everything, The Rest of Her Life, and While I’m Falling. She lives in Kansas.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Riverhead Books. 377 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon13
Peak Rank on Jul 29 2012
icon1
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Chaperone
All: 23 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Above average
on May 29 2012

Unlike the too-infrequently-seen Louise, the fictional characters seem less alive or important than the issues they represent.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Jun 14 2012

She clings to benighted social attitudes that are guaranteed to change and will make readers feel enlightened.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jenny Hendrix on Jun 08 2012

After the pivotal summer, with Louise just a historical check mark, Moriarty runs briskly through the next 60 years: so-and-so promoted, so-and-so not killed in the war.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Apr 02 2012

The novel...glosses over events and neglects the inner lives of many of its characters.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy Goodfellow Wagner on Jun 15 2012

Fans of historical novels...are in luck. With "The Chaperone" a mesmerizing, moving story is here for the taking.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Jun 08 2012

...THE CHAPERONE is a fascinating portrait not only of a famous historical figure too little known these days, but also of the equally compelling "ordinary" woman who Moriarty imagines at her side.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Book Reporter

Good
on Jun 01 2012

THE CHAPERONE takes her work on a really different course, and I am very impressed with how she changed gears.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Georgie Binks on Aug 28 2012

when I read a book, I’m going on a voyage and I want to feel I’ve left this world for another one. The trip was comfortable — I just never arrived at the destination.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Georgie Binks on Aug 28 2012

... when I read a book, I’m going on a voyage and I want to feel I’ve left this world for another one. The trip was comfortable — I just never arrived at the destination.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Christian Science Monitor

Below average
Reviewed by Yvonne Zipp on Feb 15 2013

...she breaks narrative point-of-view periodically to wedge in just one more fact...which deadens the plot's energy every time...And while the novel continues for decades after that summer, Brooks is reduced to cameos and the storyline sags.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Newsday

Good
Reviewed by CAROLINE PRESTON on Jul 05 2012

Moriarty gives us a historically detailed and nuanced portrayal of the social upheaval that spilled into every corner of American life by 1922.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

We Love This Book

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Thickett on Feb 15 2013

The Chaperone is as dazzling, charming and seductive as Louise Brooks herself...

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Watermark Books And Cafe

Excellent
Reviewed by Beth Golay on Feb 15 2013

...Wichita’s history...is beautifully recounted through the eyes of this undaunted woman.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Portland Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Catherine Gilmore on Jul 18 2012

There is enough going on in this novel to keep even the flightiest reader engaged...

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Curious Book Fans

Good
Reviewed by elkiedee on Nov 05 2012

I...enjoyed the look at social history in the US through Cora as a character. This novel was a terrific and memorable read.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Time Out New York

Good
Reviewed by Helen Matatov on Jul 11 2012

...Moriarty’s greatest strength proves to be her ability to seamlessly weave together Cora’s present, future and colorful past.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Open Salon

Above average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Willse on Aug 02 2012

...with the way the characters transform over the course of the book, I’m glad I read it...

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

New Zealand Woman's Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Kelly Bertrand on May 04 2012

The Chaperone is a book you won’t want to put down.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

TVNZ

Below average
Reviewed by Melanie Scott on Jul 19 2012

I was left wanting to find out more about Louise's life and couldn't help but wonder if a story about the girl portrayed on the cover would have made for a far more interesting read.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

DenverPost.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Lisa Caper on Jun 25 2012

...Laura Moriarty continues to amaze readers with her multifaceted, strong women characters and her incredible talent when it comes to storytelling.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

San Francisco Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Scherstuhl on May 30 2012

Moriarty excels at capturing lost Wichita and New York City streets and stations in quickly sketched detail...

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Chick Lit Central

Excellent
Reviewed by Kathryn Hamilton on Jun 06 2012

... I will be recommending to everyone. I suspect that readers who don’t normally read chick lit will also be enthralled with this wonderful novel.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

The Picky Girl

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on May 29 2012

The Chaperone is a novel of identity and its fluidity, but it’s also a novel of decency and basic human understanding whose power is in highlighting the beauty of something as simple as acceptance and love.

Read Full Review of The Chaperone

Reader Rating for The Chaperone
79%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1883 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×