I’m going to start by saying that this really isn’t the kind of book I’d normally read. In general, I have some kind of bizarre prejudice against any book that’s set more than 10 years in the past; partly, I think, because authors often adopt a sort of vaguely patronising tone, crooning about years gone by and using it as an excuse to use flowery language and generally be nostalgic about a past they probably weren’t alive to see. 


So, when The Chaperone dropped through my door and I read the blurb, I immediately dreaded reading it. And for the first couple of pages, I did find the writing style a bit difficult. Once I’d got past it, though, the book was a good read. 


More after the jump

The novel charts the rise of star Louise Brooks, alongside the story of a woman who was sent with her to New York to be her chaperone in her teenage years. Both women are interesting characters who have a certain level of depth; they kept me interested throughout, though I’ll admit that I often found myself hoping for more of the Cora story, and less of the Louise. 


There was a level of sensitivity to all aspects of the book, despite dealing with some difficult subjects: the Ku Klux Klan, slavery, feminism, adoption, child abuse… it ranged from bad to worse to good, and back to bad again, with just enough fanfare to make the reader realise that the issues were important, but not enough to overwhelm. 


I’d definitely recommend it, especially if you’re not usually a fan of books set in the past either. 

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