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The Chaperone Audiobook

The Chaperone

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Publisher's Summary

The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both.

Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a 15-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip. She has no idea what she’s in for: Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous blunt bangs and black bob, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will change their lives forever.

For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might prove an answer to the question at the center of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of the summer, Cora’s eyes are opened to the promise of the 20th century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.

©2012 Laura Moriarty (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2920 )
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4.4 (2557 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lucinda United States 06-27-12
    Lucinda United States 06-27-12 Member Since 2011

    Lucy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved It"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. It was engaging and personal, painting a very clear picture.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were lots. The train rides (both for Cora as a child & then again as an adult to escort Louis to NY), learning to play "Graces", grown-up Louis chatting with Cora who sits on the bedroom floor, seeing the Jazz musical on Broadway, Cora & her beau buying the radio for the orphans...I could go on.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved it so much, I've listened to it twice. I'll probably listen to it a third time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Horseheads, NY, United States 06-24-12
    Michael Horseheads, NY, United States 06-24-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Today's Topics in a 20's Setting"
    Where does The Chaperone rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    An entertaining listen. The Help is still my favorite


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Chaperone?

    Cora coming home and finding her husband. I didn't see that coming.


    Any additional comments?

    Birth control, homosexuality, unwed motherhood, orphans, adoption, child abuse, and more all part of the plot, and in the 20"s when those were "in the closet" topics. Entertaining, enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Spring Hill, FL, United States 06-16-12
    Beth Spring Hill, FL, United States 06-16-12
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    "Bummed that it's over!"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Who else, but Cora, of course! Loved her.


    What about Elizabeth McGovern’s performance did you like?

    I enjoyed everything about EM's performance...wow!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Tears rolled near the end when Cora embraced Raymond.


    Any additional comments?

    Reviewer, Amanda said it so well. I find that I'm kind of speechless now that I have finished this wonderful story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacq United States 06-15-12
    Jacq United States 06-15-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I Loved this Book!"
    If you could sum up The Chaperone in three words, what would they be?

    Vivid, Faithful, Engaging


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Chaperone?

    The most memorable moment in the novel was Louise telling Cora about her past which gives you the opportunity to view vividly Cora's inner battle of the values/morals that she was raised with and the emerging perception that we are all imperfect yet worthy.


    What about Elizabeth McGovern’s performance did you like?

    McGovern's easy transition from one accent to another and even tone, which seems so very true to the era that the novel is set.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Labor or Treasure?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. W. Sawyer Connecticut 03-22-15
    E. W. Sawyer Connecticut 03-22-15 Member Since 2016

    Book Lover

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    "Gets you interested in Louise Brooks"

    This book didn't know what it wanted to be - an introduction to Louise Brooks or a study in the nature of morality. Either would have been fine, but this tried to do both and lost something in the process. I thought the dynamic between Cora's conventionality and Louise's independence and rebelliousness was very good. Until the final part. Chapter after chapter rushing through decades, just so that the story could give you a sense of what happened to Louise Brooks over time. Do I want to know? YES I do! So I will go buy Brooks' memoire, Lulu in Hollywood. However, in this story, it just felt like lackluster add-on. The chapters focused on Cora about whom I did not care and gave us only glimpses of Louise who is absolutely fascinating. The book should have ended when the summer trip was over. That would have been a much better ending.

    Elizabeth McGovern as Cora - how funny! With that said, she did a fabulous job.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 11-12-14
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 11-12-14 Member Since 2006

    malfi

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    "Starts Well, Ends "Meh""

    This is one of those books that really hooked me in at first but fell off a bit towards the end. It's 1922, and Cora Carlisle, a respectable Wichita wife in her late thirties, is hired to accompany 15-year old Louise Brooks to New York City. Louise, who became a silent film star a few years later, had been accepted by the exclusive dance school run by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Despite their age difference, it quickly becomes clear that it's Cora, not Louise, who is the more naive. Wherever they go, the beautiful Louise attracts male attention--and seems to know just what to do with it.

    The story is more that of Cora than of Louise. The main reason that she wants to go to New York is to find out about her birth parents. She vaguely remembers a dark-haired woman holding her and singing in a foreign language, but her earliest clear memories are of the Catholic orphanage where she was raised to about age seven. Cora was one of thousands of orphaned children who were put on trains and shipped to potential parents in the plains states. Fortunately, her adoptive parents were loving and kind, but as she grew, Cora's life was not untouched by tragedy. In a day when adoption records were sealed, Cora attempts to find out who where she came from, who she really is.

    The confrontations between Cora and Louise are exactly what one would expect, Cora constantly reminding her charge that she mustn't allow herself to be "compromised," Louise scoffing at Cora's old-fashioned Christian morality. This leads to a lot of self-examination on the chaperone's part, including the revelation of family secrets. But it isn't long before Louise is invited to join the Denis-Shawn company, and Cora heads back to Wichita--but not exactly to the same life.

    The last quarter of the novel rushes through 50+ years of Cora's life, with occasional mentions and sightings of Louise. Overall, it seems rushed, and rather formulaic, all the 'surprises' too anticipated: hence the 3.5 rating. The rush is even more pronounced because the section on Louise seems rather dragged out. Think about the balance: 3/4 of the book focused on a few months in 1922 (plus Cora's memories), 1/3 covering the next 50+ years.

    Overall, it's not a bad read, just slightly disappointing in the end. One thing I did get out of it was a renewed interest in Louise Brooks, one of the most distinctively stunning and most controversial actresses of the silent film era.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 06-27-14
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 06-27-14
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    "4.5 stars if I could!"
    Where does The Chaperone rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Quite high. I enjoyed Moriarty's debut "The Center of Everything" immensely, but was disappointed by her subsequent books. This book brings the changing social customs of the early 1920s to life with grace, complexity, and humor. It took about an hours to get in to Elizabeth McGovern's performance, but once I got into it, I allowed her soothing, expressive diction carry me along.


    What other book might you compare The Chaperone to and why?

    "The Other Typist", at least for New York Period details.


    Which character – as performed by Elizabeth McGovern – was your favorite?

    Oh, her dialogue was amazing! Joseph, Cora, Louise were all drawn with great emotion, accent, expression.


    Any additional comments?

    I agree with many reviews that Cora's backstory was much more compelling than Louise's present-day one, but there is only so much fiction Moriarty could create for a well-known figure.
    This is a welcome addition to my historical fiction library.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Morrison Worcester, MA 04-19-13
    Rhonda Morrison Worcester, MA 04-19-13

    Film Lover

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    "DULL, DULL, DULL"
    What would have made The Chaperone better?

    What a waste of a credit, if you want the characters to anything interesting, don't read this book.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Tampa, FL, United States 10-12-12
    Mary Tampa, FL, United States 10-12-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Jess's (NJ) comment about "the English lilt""
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Chaperone to be better than the print version?

    Not necessarily. I LOVE listening to all my Audible books on tapes, but Elizabeth Montgomery's "lilt" is not so much an English lilt (as Jess from NJ complained) as I think her pronunciations are typical of extensive elocution lessons. And I found her pronunciations annoying. PAIRents (with a sort or rolling r, as the Irish might pronounce it) -- KLEEN with a big emphasis on the "CL" sound -- and PLEEEEZED -- Tyewsday, instead of Tuesday ---- NYEWS, instead of news -- a NYEW dress -- does it SYEWT you, instead of "does it suit you" (said as we Americans say suit ---- countless examples. The way she says "turn" -- and "return" -- ewww. It's just quite annoying to listen to, really. But it's a really good story, and I adore Elizabeth McGovern in Downton Abbey. The elocution works well in Downton Abbey... But I'd like to hear someone else narrate this, honestly. How about Susan Sarandon -- how about Julianne Moore. Anyone really.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Chaperone?

    I loved how wonderful the Kaufman's were to Cora. I liked how the janitor decided to help her. I'm still listening at this point.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I described this above.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Chaperone and why?

    I think the chaperone.


    Any additional comments?

    A very good story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Saint Paul, MN, United States 09-04-12
    Lori Saint Paul, MN, United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2015
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    "I really liked it!"
    If you could sum up The Chaperone in three words, what would they be?

    Surprising, historical, interesting


    Any additional comments?

    It was different than most of the mystery or romance novels I read. Different character types, different story lines. I really liked it. Usually I can always guess what's going to happen, but not this time!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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