Friday, January 31, 2014
Set in the early days of silent movies, the story follows a married woman, Cora Carlisle, who impulsively decides to hire herself out as a chaperone for a quite bold young woman who wants to study dance in New York. Cora's charge, Louise Brooks, is destined to become a silent film star in just a few years. While she is a handful and already worldly beyond her years, Cora does her best to keep her in line and out of trouble while at the same time pursuing her own reasons for going to New York City.
I found this to be a well told story uncovering Cora's past as she looked for answers to her heritage in New York. While trying to control her charge and keep her reputation intact she finds time to uncover the secrets of her own past, although not finding the satisfaction she was hoping for in the answers.
When Cora returns to Kansas, where the two began their journey, the author more or less speeds through the rest of the story. We learn more about her handsome successful husband and the life they lead and their twin sons' lives as adults. There are more twists and turns, but I felt like I was reading a somewhat detailed epilogue requiring as many pages as the chaperone story.
I was interested to discover that Louise Brooks was a real person/silent film star. I don't know how much, if any of her story is accurate but since she did live and perform in silent movies I am labeling this book as historical fiction. The relationship between Cora and Louise wasn't as big of a part or as significant to the book as I expected it to be based on the title.
I give The Chaperone 4 of 5 shots as a good story about a woman of those times.