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 fifteen-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 twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.
The Roaring 20s
I’ve been enchanted with the era of the 1920s, like many other Americans, since I read The Great Gatsby in high school. There’s something in the freedom in that era that speaks to the young at heart and so it is with great pleasure that I have noticed an up-tick in the presence of the ’20s in historical fiction as of late. So when I was approached to read this book by the amazing ladies at TLC Book Tours I immediately jumped at the chance (seriously, it was embarrassing how quickly I wrote back screaming, “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!). And I’m so, so, so happy I did!
Two vastly different women, one AMAZING place in time…
This story centers around Cora Carlisle, a well-respected, near middle-aged matron from the staid Midwestern town of Witchita, Kansas and the young Louise Brooks, a girl destined to be both famous and infamous, their trip to New York City one hot summer in 1922 and how that summer changed their lives. Louise Brooks is a historical figure and one who had an enormous impact on the world of film. When one thinks of the smoldering, dark haired vixens of the silent screen, it is Louise Brooks’s image that comes to mind.
But it is Cora, the woman who accompanies Louise to New York when she is 15 and just at the start of her stage career, that takes center stage in this amazing book.
Cora is 36, her sons are grown and she has a secret…one that compels her to take young Louise to NYC, despite her concerns over Louise’s very absent parents and Louise’s obvious, rebellious tendancies. Still, for Cora, there are few respectible ways to go to New York on her own in this era so she takes the chance.
Cora is a practical woman, a woman who has endured hardships that her peers would never guess at and she is very much a woman who embodies the ethos of women at this time in America: she is a firm believer in the social and moral constructs of her era and yet there is a spark in her that responds to the growing rebellious spirit of the age.
And when she takes her chance and does go to New York, her life blooms in ways she had no way to possibly know would happen and it’s such an amazing processes to take in.
My how I loved this book!
I immediately and completely identified with Cora. I was drawn into this story right from the start and the pages flew by as I was immersed deeper and deeper into this story. This story of growth and liberation enthralled me from the start and never let me go.
I loved Cora’s strength, her ability to grow and her heart. She’s the kind of character that will leave you thinking and feeling long after you’ve turned the last page.
If you are at all intrigued by my review, but you need some more convincing, check out what these other, amazing TLC tour hosts have to say about this fantastic book:
and stay tuned to find out what these upcoming tour hosts have to say: