A couple months ago, my dear friend Veronique (over at French Girl in Seattle) recommended a book that sounded absolutely delightful.
The book is called The Chaperone and it's currently a best-seller.
When I looked up the book, I discovered the author, Laura Moriarty, lives an hour away from me, which I thought was pretty cool.
When I finally got my hands on a copy, I couldn't put it down.
The novel draws you in from the very first chapter. It is beautifully written, with rich, complex characters and a fascinating historical perspective of the midwest.
I'm a bookworm, and seriously, this is the first novel in a very long time that has captivated me so completely.
The Chaperone revolves around Cora Carlisle, a Kansas housewife, who accompanies a spoiled, gorgeous, and talented 15-year-old Louise Brooks to New York City for a dance workshop in 1922.
**For those of you who do not know, Louise Brooks is one of the most famous Hollywood icons from the silent film era. She was the ultimate flapper and pretty much defined what the glitzy, wild 1920s were all about. She is also one of the first American film stars to actually be as wild off-screen as she was on-screen, which rocked the tabloids. She was basically the first Lindsay Lohan, except more famous and fabulous.**
But, when the book starts out, Louise is not famous yet. She's just a obnoxious teenager who has no regard for authority.
The heart of the book focuses on Cora's mysterious past and her path to self-discovery. It's a heart-warming glimpse at a tug-of-war relationship between women, whether its a chaperone and a silly girl, or a daughter facing her demons.
It is also a novel about growth, good or bad. It's the story of America.
Reading The Chaperone quickly made Laura Moriarty my new favorite author. I can't wait to get my hands on her other novels.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet her at a book signing.
Laura gave a talk about the novel, where she revealed that several of Louise Brooks' surviving relatives in Wichita have approached her to compliment her on nailing their famous aunt's self-destructive personality.
At the end of the talk, I approached Laura to have my book signed. It turns out, she recognized me. (I'm a newspaper reporter). I almost died.
I really, really, really hope you guys go out and buy this book. It is brilliantly written and such a worthwhile read.