The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

by on August 31st, 2012
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty Cover Image

Laura Moriarty’s newest novel is a hybrid story about the life of silent-film star Louise Brooks and fictionalized character Cora Carlisle. The story begins in 1922 when 36-year-old Cora Carlisle agrees to chaperone 15-year-old Louise Brooks for a summer in New York City dancing with the Denishawn School of Dance.

Moriarty creates the character of Cora Carlise based on a mention of a chaperone in Louise Brooks 1982 “memoir” Lulu in Hollywood.  Cora becomes the central character in The Chaperone, and unlike real life, the narrative relegates Louise Brooks to a background character.  Moriarty uses bible belt morality and Cora’s mid-life search for happiness to weave a story of contrasts.  Readers learn Cora’s life, just like Louise Brooks’, is not what it appears and the story evolves around Cora’s path of self-discovery and quest for happiness.

Although I didn’t think the book was as strong as other recent fictionalized stories of famous people (Loving Frank, The Women, The Paris Wife, Clara and Mr. Tiffany), it was an enjoyable book nonetheless and recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction.

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