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The Chaperone


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About the Author

Laura Moriarty earned a degree in social work before returning for her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She was the recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She lives with her daughter in Lawrence, Kansas.


Moriarty's engrossing work of historical fiction centers around Cora Carlisle, a woman selected to accompany aspiring entertainer Louise Brooks to New York City from Wichita, KS. Louise, who would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1920s and 1930s, here is only 15 years old but already well aware of how to use her beauty to her advantage. For Cora, a traditional, married mother of two who is a stranger to Louise at the beginning of the journey, the trip represents an opportunity to learn more about her own ambiguous past. The book is narrated by actress Elizabeth McGovern, perhaps best known to audiences as Lady Cora from the British period drama Downton Abbey. McGovern deftly provides Moriarty's characters with distinct speech patterns and accents, which will help listeners navigate this work's long stretches of dialog. VERDICT Highly recommended for general and literary fiction collections. ["Moriarty is a wonderful storyteller; it's hard to put this engaging novel down," read the review of the New York Times best--selling Riverhead hc, LJ 3/15/12.-Ed.]-Nicole Williams, Englewood P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"It's impossible not to be completely drawn in by "The Chaperone". Laura Moriarty has delivered the richest and realest possible heroine in Cora Carlisle, a Wichita housewife who has her mind and heart blown wide open, and steps--with uncommon courage--into the fullness of her life. What a beautiful book. I loved every page."--Paula McLain, author of "The Paris Wife""What a charming, mesmerizing, transporting novel! The characters are so fully realized that I felt I was right there alongside them. A beautiful clarity marks both the style and structure of "The Chaperone"."--Sena Jeter Naslund, author of "Ahab's Wife "and "Adam & Eve """The Chaperone "is the best kind of historical fiction, transporting you to another time and place, but even more importantly delivering a poignant story about people so real, you'll miss and remember them long after you close the book."--Jenna Blum, author of "Those Who Save Us "and "The Stormchasers"

Moriarty (While I'm Falling) skims the surface of 1920s life in Wichita, Kans., where homosexuality, contraception, and being just about anything other than white and Protestant is considered a moral offence. In the summer of 1922, prim, married Cora Carlisle chaperones a young Louise Brooks, the silent film star, to New York. Cora keeps mum about her own childhood journey from the New York Home for Friendless Girls to a new life with an adopted family in Kansas, because she intends to search for her birth mother once she and Louise arrive. What follows the trip for Louise is history: film stardom until the advent of sound. What follows for Cora is at first a letdown for the reader, and then highly dubious, given her naive and conservative nature. Though what happens in New York gives Cora a new moral order, for the rest of her life she keeps it, too, a secret. The novel, which in its final stretch races to 1982, attempts to portray Cora as a heroine buffeted by the bigotry and priggishness of the Jazz Age, but glosses over events and neglects the inner lives of many of its characters. Agent: Tracy Fisher, WME Entertainment. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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