By Laura Moriarty
Riverhead Books, 2012. 371 pgs. Fiction
In the summer of 1922, Cora Carlisle has just sent her two boys off for a work experience in the country in Laura Moriarty’s “The Chaperone.” Without a lot to occupy her time she jumps at the chance to spend a few weeks in New York City as the chaperone to a feisty young woman, Louise Brooks, who has been accepted to a prestigious dancing school. Louise is on the brink of a brilliant career and Cora is on a mission to uncover her past. Both will come to consider these few hot weeks in the city as a turning point in their lives as they each discover important truths about themselves and each other.
Based on the true story of silent film star, Louise Brooks, “The Chaperone” provides a vibrant look at an America just pulling itself out of a depression. Louise and Cora’s stories, besides being extremely fascinating, perfectly demonstrate the changing roles of women in the 1920s. My only complaint with this enjoyable historical novel is that at times the author seems to let issues eclipse the stories. Besides that, Moriarty has given a superbly rendered novel.