Review – Audiobook: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: June 5, 2012
Format: Audio, 13 hours | 14 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Rating: 5 of 5
I was expecting The Chaperone to be a fictionalized story of silent movie star Louise Brooks, but instead I discovered a wonderful novel about Cora Carlisle and the 1922 summer she spent chaperoning a young Louise on a journey from Wichita, Kansas to spend five weeks in New York City.
Louise Brooks was the product of a disinterested mother and too busy father. Neither had time for her and when she wanted to attend dance classes in New York, her mother asked if any of the local Wichita ladies would accompany her. Cora has an ulterior motive and would love to travel to New York to search for information on her birth parents, in an era where being adopted was often secret and shameful. Cora agreed to go on the trip and would conduct her research while Louise was at class.
I enjoy fiction that melds real life characters into the plot. We get an amazing journey through the raucous era of the early 1920s where fashion and morals were rapidly changing. Through the actions of young 15-year-old Louise, a woman ahead of her time, we experience the fledgling women’s movement. In contrast to Cora, who is in her 30s, younger women no longer feel constrained by the dictates of society and want to dress and act as they please and experience the freedoms afforded to men.
The majority of the book is Cora’s story; a well-written, likeable character. As she reminisces back on her life we share the high points and the low points, at times happy and others sad and often shocking at how women and children were treated in the not so distant past. I was cheering for Cora, hoping that now in the present she would find the answers she needed and the happiness she deserved.
Elizabeth McGovern’s narration was a joy to listen to with an excellent range of accents and ability to differentiate characters. A smooth, well-paced performance. This would make an excellent choice for those new to, or thinking about trying, an audiobook.
Highly recommended and one of my favorites for the year for both the audio production and the story.
Source: Review copy.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.