**This is a paid review by BlogHer, but as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own**
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty is one of my favorite books of 2012. I absolutely loved it and you should all read it because it is awesome. The End.
(For some reason I just want to end my review here for emphasis, like "BAM*! That's all you get! Go check it out!" but alas, I don't think BlogHer would like it. So we shall continue on with me telling you WHY it was so enjoyable)
The book is the fictional story of the Cora Carlisle, the chaperone who accompanied a fifteen year old Louise Brooks, a real life famous 1920's silent film actress and flapper, to New York from Wichita Kansasa in the summer of 1922. It is a unique angle for the author to have taken. Everything, aside from personal conversations, written about Louise Brooks is true. But Cora Carlisle, her life and her family, are completely fictional. Louise's actual chaperone was a woman named Alice Mills and Louise's memoirs barely mentions her. And even though Louise Brooks is famous and...well... REAL, this is not her story. She is a sideline character and the key to a turning point in the life of Cora Carlisle. The book is Cora's story.
And this story of Cora, oh it is something. She begins the book with her twin sons away for the summer before college. She is a house wife to a wealthy lawyer in Wichita, and for reasons initially unexplained, she signs on to be Louise's chaperone for this six weeks in New York. As the book unfolds you learn many of Cora's secrets. The twists and turns that you discover will explain how she came to Wichita, and then to New York with this soon to be famous, uncontrollable adolescent. In New York Cora's life is changed, both by Louise and by what she finds in the city. The timeline for the book spans the majority of the 20th century, and takes on the subjects of adoption trains, prohibition, equal rights for minorities, birth control and the women's movement. You follow along as Cora lives through World War 2, the Dust Bowl and many other life and nation altering events.
The Chaperone is such an interesting look the 20th century. It weaves together a story that keeps you entertained, while also teaching you things about our own history. It wasn't necessarily a late night page turner because I JUST HAD TO KNOW THE END. It was just a great story, from start to finish. And when I was done, I had absolutely nothing to complain. I just loved it from start to finish. It is definitely worth reading.
We will be discussing The Chaperone with the BlogHer Book Club for the next several weeks. Come join the conversation!
*I don't actually ever shout BAM at people. Just so you know.