This month we're reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. Don't miss out on the PBS film adaptation by Downton Abbey's creators and starring Elizabeth McGovern (who also narrates the audiobook)! We're meeting online! Same time, virtual place. Register below! (required).
Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star, fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and lack of respect for convention. For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being and she embarks on a mission of her own. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.
Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s,’30s, and beyond—from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers, and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights for women—The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time.
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