The book follows Cora, a Kansas housewife with grown kids, as she agrees to chaperone Louise Brooks in the 1920s to New York. At the time of this historical fiction novel, Louise Brooks is fifteen years old, but we know from the abrupt flashes of the future within the novel (unless you already knew your history well enough) that Louise will become a famous silent-film star.
The author does a fabulous job in making Cora a very likeable character. You really want to know why she is willing to leave her handsome, affectionate husband at home and volunteer to accompany a rude, spoiled brat to New York for a little over a month.
The middle of the book was my favorite as we learn about Cora’s upbringing and as a result learn a lot of history about the depression and what it was like for orphans in that time period. The author clearly did her research and as a result, I found myself so engaged with the main character that when typical beliefs about race and gender and parentage in that time period popped up, I was shocked. As in, Oh! I forgot that was how people viewed that then.
That said, the last third of the book had some twists and turns (and too much detail) that weren’t pleasant reading for me. If you are a conservative reader, you may want to skip this one. At the close of the book, I was glad to have learned more about the time period and glad that I wasn’t born in that time period!
If you’re interested in reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, it’s not too late to join the BlogHer Book Club – we’re discussing 7 or 8 chapters at time.
I was compensated by the BlogHerBookClub for this review but the opinions expressed were entirely my own.