Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Chaperone - A Book Review

This month, I was super excited to review The Chaperone for the BlogHer Book Club, not only because it is being touted as USA Today's "#1 Hot Fiction Pick" for the summer, but also because I have seen it mentioned in magazines all over the place in the last month or two. Reading the descriptions definitely piqued my interest, so when it finally arrived at the house, I tore into it like nobody's business.*

*Which is a good thing, because this one had the shortest deadline I have ever dealt with. 

The Chaperone is classified as historical fiction and is set in 1920s New York around the start of silent film actress Louise Brooks' career. Coming from small-town Wichita, Kansas, Louise's father insists that she have a chaperone to accompany her for the summer.

Her chaperone, Cora, could not have been more her opposite. A 36 year old stay at home mother of two grown children, Cora has lived a traditional small-town life. It is quite the shock when Cora announces that she will be leaving town for the summer to accompany Louise, not only because she has never even met the Brooks family, or Louise, but also because it is so out of place for her to do anything so extraordinary. Where Louise is looking for a spotlight and attention, Cora is reserved to holding the background

There are mysteries to Cora's life however, and this book leads you to learning more about Cora than you do about Louise Brooks or 1920s New York, which is an interesting twist that you would never have gotten from the cover.

I love historical fiction, and the author, Laura Moriarty, does a good job in transporting you to a New York that is not what we know now, however, there were times that social issues being discussed felt forced, felt as though the reader were being used for a reaction rather than being true to particular characters. I don't like feeling manipulated when I read and I got that more than once with this book.

I find that Louise often comes across as arrogant (which I suppose is common with teenagers), entitled and a bit snobbish. I am not sure if this holds true to her actual self as I was not familiar with anything about her except for her face until I read this book.

To me, she is the face of silent film - but until I read this book I had never even known her name. 
If you are looking for a book to take on that last beach or family excursion before school starts back, The Chaperone (while a bit dry in the first few chapters) is definitely a must read.

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Buy the book through this link! I earn a commission, you get a great book, it's a win, win!

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