I was recently lucky enough to attend a book reading with Laura Moriarty and received a signed copy of The Chaperone. The story centers around Cora, a wife and mother from Wichita, Kansas, who, in the summer of 1922, chaperones a fifteen-year old Louise Brooks to New York City to study dance. (This was a few years before Louise became a silent film star.) Much to Louise’s dismay, she is accompanied by the traditionally-minded Cora, who clashes with Louise and her more modern and open way of thinking.
We learn relatively early on that Cora has her own agenda for making this trip. While Louise attends her dance study during the day, Cora traverses the city on her own mission of finding herself. Throughout her trip, Cora’s past is revealed in flashbacks, along with some unexpected secrets she has been harboring.
This is not a Louise Brooks book; she is more of a side vehicle for Cora’s story. I found myself missing Louise as she was in the book less and less as it progressed . However, I did find myself rooting for Cora at the times she took charge of her own destiny. We get to follow Cora throughout her life post Louise as American values and attitudes change dramatically, and see her shun some of her long-held conventions so she can truly live her life.
I rate The Chaperone 3 out of 5 stars.