The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

 

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Cora Carlisle, by all appearances, is a married, church-going mother of two grown boys during the Prohibition. She believes in temperance, she believes in moderation, and she believes that a woman’s skirt should extend below the knees at all times. But Cora has her own secrets, and when she gets the chance to travel to New York with an aspiring dancer, the very beautiful fifteen year old Louise Brooks, the two of them will both walk away from the experience with very changed lives.

Louise is impulsive, shamelessly flirtatious and very self-centered and bold. Cora is virtuous and reserved. The two women make quite the pair, especially when they leave Kansas and step into the bustling streets of New York city.  Louise is desperate to find a way to stay out of Wichita, Kansas forever, and Cora wants to find out where she came from before she arrived in Kansas on an orphan train as a school-aged child. Temptation finds them both, much to Cora’s surprise, and she must make some very serious decisions about her virtues, her values, and her entire future when the trip ends.

The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty, sneaks up on you, at first you expect a story about two mismatched women staying together in the big city, and you aren’t sure how it could possibly be interesting…Then the depth of the characters, the traumas of their lives, the truths are revealed slowly and by the end of the novel, you can’t stop reading to find out how they will fare before the story ends. Definitely women’s fiction at it’s finest.