A summer in 1922 marks a defining moment for Cora Carlisle, a middle-aged housewife from Wichita, Kansas. Her life is seemingly wonderful, but secrets lie behind the mask she wears. From her beginnings as an orphan child sent to Kansas on a train to the marriage full of deceit, Cora has much to hide. And a longing that she has expressed to no one informs her decision to chaperone a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks, a dance student.
What will Cora uncover in her free moments while Louise is in class? How does a journey that began with a secret agenda turn into something even more significant in her life for years to come?
Even after the summer is over, decisions made in the final days will affect many lives.
We follow Cora’s and Louise’s journeys from the twenties, with highlights of historical significance marking the passage of time. From the years of Prohibition to the later years when freedoms were granted to marginalized individuals, Cora finds her voice in the fights for those who have none.
And throughout the years, Cora keeps track of the ups and downs in the life of Louise Brooks, her charge during those momentous weeks one summer. The willful, difficult child who, for a shining moment, was famous. And then when her public life seemed over, she began another chapter.
In many ways, Cora has seen it all. In the closing pages, as she reaches the end of her life, a metaphorical train seemingly rumbles by, rocking gently while moving forward, following the passage of an orphan child on her journey to the accidental life she would never have otherwise experienced.
Beautifully portrayed characters filled the pages of The Chaperone, and each brought significant reminders of the times and settings in which they lived. Despite the fictional events, many factual moments were chronicled in the life of Louise Brooks. Imagining these surrounding events was the author’s gift to the reader. Wouldn’t we all like to know the true details in the lives of the famous? A five star read that captivated me from beginning to end, showing much more than I expected to find.