The Chaperone

The Chaperone

A Novel

Downloadable Audiobook - 2012
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Inspired by the real-life relationship between future movie star Louise Brooks and the woman who chaperoned her to New York City for a summer, this is the story of an unlikely friendship between two women who couldn't be more different-and how it changes both their lives. In the summer of 1922, only a few years before she became a famous actress of the silent screen and an icon for her generation, fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks left Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she was accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who was neither mother nor friend. Little is known about the real chaperone, but Laura Moriarty imagines her as Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reason for making the trip. Of course, Cora has no idea what she's in for: young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her black bob with bangs, was known for her arrogance, her lack of respect for convention, and her keen intelligence. Cora is hardly a stranger to adversity, but by the time their train pulls into Grand Central Station, she fears that supervising her cunning young charge will be at best exhausting and at worst impossible. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will change one, if not both, of their lives forever. For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might provide solace to a lifetime of yearning, and so even as she does her best to endure and watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she secretly perseveres on her own mission. She does indeed make a great discovery, and though it isn't the one she anticipates, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. The United States has been steadily moving out of the Victorian era and into the modern world, but the pace has been so much quicker in New York. Over the course of the summer, Cora's eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century, and she returns to Kansas with a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.
Publisher: [United States] : Penguin Audio : Made available through hoopla, 2012.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9781455154340
Branch Call Number: eAudiobook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (13hr., 15 min.)) : digital.
Additional Contributors: McGovern, Elizabeth 1961-
hoopla digital


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Sep 06, 2016

It's 1922 and Cora Carlisle is at loose ends. Her husband is busy with his law practice and her twin sons will soon be off to college. When an opportunity arises to spend a summer in New York City chaperoning a young girl who's attending a famous dance school, she signs on for the job. Thus begins the parallel life journeys of a Kansas matron and Louise Brooks, soon-to-be famous movie star during the silent film era. This novel also interweaves nearly a century's worth of social change with the lives the author explores. This novel offers a lot of discussion for a book club.

Apr 18, 2015

Superb book, superb writing. Likely more appealing to women.

Nov 10, 2014

This book was quite different than what I was expecting from the description but it was a pleasant surprise. Maybe a bit longer than it needs to be but basically a pretty interesting story. Narrated by Elizabeth McGovern from Downton Abbey and she does a good job.

Aug 16, 2014

There was a lot I liked about this book, but it had some challenges for me that knocked it down to three stars. First, I had a hard time aligning the lifestyle Cora was living at the end of the book with the prim, rigid woman she was at the beginning. Is it possible that a sure-of-herself 15-year-old Louise Brooks could have had that profound an effect on a 36-year-old woman? I doubted it.

The author took on a LOT of issues in the book, which ultimately became distracting. Instead, I wish Louise Brooks had been more central to the story, rather than a peripheral player, because the relationship between Cora and Louise -- two very different women -- was what interested me most.

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