The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
Moriarty elegantly dovetails the stories of two vastly different women poised on the brink of self-discovery. When an immensely talented Louise Brooks destined to become the toast of Hollywood is accepted into a five-week summer course at the prestigious Dennishawn School of Dance in New York City, all the prematurely worldly 15-year-old needs is a suitable chaperone. After all, in 1922 even girls as advanced as Louise need to present a veneer of propriety. The unlikely candidate turns out to be Cora Carlise, a highly regarded and extremely respectable Wichita matron. Although it initially appears that empty-nester Cora merely longs for an exciting change of scenery from her staid, middle-class life in Kansas, it soon becomes clear that she has a hidden agenda of her own. As Cora clashes with her headstrong charge, the heartrending truth about both her childhood and her marriage is revealed. Despite her irreverent and deliberately provocative attitude, Louise, too, harbors tragic secrets of her own. A book-club favorite (The Center of Everything, 2003, and The Rest of Her Life, 2007), the always engrossing Moriarty has combined real-life and fictional characters to great effect as both Cora and Louise end up defying the conventional expectations of the era with mixed results.
If you have questions, please contact
Gail Haller, cell: 773-510-7191