The Chaperone

The Chaperone

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A novel about the friendship between an adolescent, pre-movie-star Louise Brooks, and the 36-year-old woman who chaperones her to New York City for a summer, in 1922, and how it changes both their lives"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, [2012], ©2012
ISBN: 9781594487019
Branch Call Number: FICTION Mor
Description: 371 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

List - The Great Gatsby
CRRLAdults Jul 13, 2018

A novel about the friendship between an adolescent, pre-movie-star Louise Brooks, and the 36-year-old woman who chaperones her to New York City for a summer, in 1922, and how it changes both their lives.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

The year is 1922. In Wichita, Kansas, 15-year-old Louise Brooks needs a chaperon to escort her to New York for a summer dance program. 36-year old Cora Carlisle accompanies the beautiful, young, insolent Louise to the Big Apple with hopes to discover important links to her birth parents. While struggling to impart some sense of decorum to young Louise whose sexuality and free spirit contradicts Cora’s conservative nature, she discovers a certain liberation in her new position that makes her examine her life from a fresh perspective. This beautiful and well-researched historical novel offers a fascinating glimpse into the issues of the early 20th century—Prohibition, the First World War, flappers, suffragettes, the Civil Rights Movement, homosexuality, divorce, and orphan trains among them. Worth a read! (submitted by MR)

Sep 06, 2018

4.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical fiction and complex characters who experience a lot of character growth.

Louise Brooks is a young dancer, who has been accepted to a dance school in New York City. Her parents make an agreement with Cora, a married woman, to be her chaperone for the trip. Cora has a mission of her own while she is in New York, one that she'd rather keep to herself. Over the trip Cora realizes that Louise is a lot more work than she had expected, but learns from her all the same. This story is an interesting coming of age, and coming into one's own story for both characters, set in the backdrop of the 1920's.

I really enjoyed the time period this book was set in, and that it wasn't all about flappers and big parties. So many books set in the 1920s are incredibly flapper-centric. I liked that the narrative spanned multiple plots and parts of the main character's life as well. I felt like Cora grew a lot as a character throughout the book, and I was really delighted to see where she went through the end of the novel. I thought that the writing was really rich and descriptive, and I loved the nod to the Midwest. Moriarty is an alum from my university, and it was fun to read about bits of Kansas. I also felt that I learned a decent bit about orphan trains as well as society (and its expectations) in the 1920's. Highly recommend if you enjoy historical fiction.

Jul 07, 2017

I didn't like this book as much as the others who have commented. The story felt quite contrived to me and spent far too much time going on about Cora The Chaperone's corset problems. I'm sure it was a very restricting garment, but not a very interesting one to read about. In several places the story paused in order for the author to shove in some research of the time period so I wasn't sure if I was reading a novel or a history essay. Each turn of the plot was quite predictable and some were just kind of silly. I had completely lost interest in the story half-way through and the last half of the book was too long and the characters were one-dimensional and boring.

Jun 21, 2017

Another great book from local author, Laura Moriarty! The way she writes about women and relationships between women is like no one else.

JCLMelodyMK Dec 31, 2016

I read this book for my book group and enjoyed it very much. It's thrilling to know that we have a local author in the area that writes such interesting historical fiction.

ArapahoeChristineS Oct 16, 2016

This historical fiction with bits of the real life firecracker, Louise Brooks, folded in was positively riveting. I couldn't put it down and it lingered with me after I was finished. It dealt with many issues of the time, including the struggle between women's rights and freedoms verses established social norms. It is a fascinating time in history and The Chaperone had a really interesting and solid storyline. Thoroughly enjoyable.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

Moriarty shows great skill in blending factual events from the life of silent film star Louise Brooks with her fictional work. Brooks is a vehicle for the larger plot, but Moriarty is careful not to cross the line where the actress' inclusion becomes too convenient (this is perhaps not so much true in later chapters, but she only barely steps over the line).

There may be disappointment for some when they realize The Chaperone isn't a novel about Louise Brooks. Even though the description on the dust jacket and the title itself should be an indication that this novel is much more the story of Moriarty's protagonist, Cora Carlisle, it is surprising at times how much Brooks is relegated to a secondary character, especially after the first half (which I can't help but wonder if this wasn't a brilliantly drawn parallel to Brooks' own dwindling career). Nevertheless, the fictional account of Brooks' summer in New York in 1922 should please many of her fans

LPL_ShirleyB Aug 07, 2015

At the center of this beautifully written historical novel is Cora, Louise Brooks’ chaperone. Cora uses her chaperone duty as an opportunity to visit New York and uncover her own family origins. When Cora returns home to Wichita, Kansas she discovers revelations and acceptance. Moriarty is an inspired local author!

Apr 18, 2015

Superb book in every way - more likely to appeal to women.

Mar 10, 2015

This historical fiction novel is based on the life of 1920's dancer and eventually actress Louise Brooks. There are two main characters, Miss Brooks and the lady that chaperones her to New York City. The story is told through the chaperone. Well written especially where true events are woven into the story. A book well worth reading!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

SpringAltman Jun 21, 2014

SpringAltman thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


Add a Summary

SpringAltman Jun 21, 2014

Cora becomes a chaperone to a young actress/ dancer Louis Brooks in 1920 NYC, but she has another reason for taking on this task


Add a Quote

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

The young can exasperate, of course, and frighten, and condescend, and insult, and cut you with their still unrounded edges. But they can also drag you, as you protest and scold and try to pull away, right up to the window of the future, and even push you through.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

LibraryThing Series Information


Find it at CRRL

To Top