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Book Review: The Chaperone

Love.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty has been my favorite book of the summer thus far. It is the definition of a “quick read,” as I was able to read the book start to finish on a six hour car ride.  It is a book that I cannot wait to pass on to my mom and friends.

When asked if I would like to review this book, I wasn’t expecting to be captivated by it. However, the main character, Cora, makes that nearly impossible. Set in both Wichita and New York City, the story circles around the life of Louise Brooks, before, during, and after she was a famous dancer and silent movie star.  The true star of the novel though is her chaperone, Cora.  Cora leads a seemingly ordinary life in Wichita, where she is married to a lovely doctor, and has two sons. Unexpectedly, Cora announces to her family that she is going to take the position as “chaperone” to a young Louise Brooks when Louise is to attend a prestigious dance academy in New York City.  Cora has reasons all her own for taking this job. You will just have to read to find out what they are!

Set in the 1920’s, this book challenges social norms and really drives home the message that each person deserves happiness, no matter their upbringing.  The Chaperone frequently reminds the reader of societies view of women in the 20’s, with their leading role in life split evenly between being a wife and caregiver. Slowly you read how Cora starts to deviate from what is expected of her, as she embarks on a journey to find her happiness.

I really enjoyed this book. Laura Moriarty did a beautiful job developing relationships in The Chaperone, giving you detailed views into the lives of many of the characters. When I finished reading, I felt like I knew each character personally. And while I love this feeling, it is almost a double edge sword. Why? Because the book is over and these characters are no longer. Despite that feeling, I would absolutely encourage you to read this book, especially if you have any interest in the 1920’s. I, personally, find that era fascinating.

To hear what others have to say about The Chaperone, visit Blogher’s Book Club for further discussion.

*I was compensated for my review of this book, but all opinions expressed are my own.*

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