Laura Moriarty is the author of "The Center of Everything," "The Rest of Her Life," and "While I'm Falling." She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
Moriarty's engrossing work of historical fiction centers around Cora Carlisle, a woman selected to accompany aspiring entertainer Louise Brooks to New York City from Wichita, KS. Louise, who would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1920s and 1930s, here is only 15 years old but already well aware of how to use her beauty to her advantage. For Cora, a traditional, married mother of two who is a stranger to Louise at the beginning of the journey, the trip represents an opportunity to learn more about her own ambiguous past. The book is narrated by actress Elizabeth McGovern, perhaps best known to audiences as Lady Cora from the British period drama Downton Abbey. McGovern deftly provides Moriarty's characters with distinct speech patterns and accents, which will help listeners navigate this work's long stretches of dialog. VERDICT Highly recommended for general and literary fiction collections. ["Moriarty is a wonderful storyteller; it's hard to put this engaging novel down," read the review of the New York Times best--selling Riverhead hc, LJ 3/15/12.-Ed.]-Nicole Williams, Englewood P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Moriarty (While I'm Falling) skims the surface of 1920s life in Wichita, Kans., where homosexuality, contraception, and being just about anything other than white and Protestant is considered a moral offence. In the summer of 1922, prim, married Cora Carlisle chaperones a young Louise Brooks, the silent film star, to New York. Cora keeps mum about her own childhood journey from the New York Home for Friendless Girls to a new life with an adopted family in Kansas, because she intends to search for her birth mother once she and Louise arrive. What follows the trip for Louise is history: film stardom until the advent of sound. What follows for Cora is at first a letdown for the reader, and then highly dubious, given her naive and conservative nature. Though what happens in New York gives Cora a new moral order, for the rest of her life she keeps it, too, a secret. The novel, which in its final stretch races to 1982, attempts to portray Cora as a heroine buffeted by the bigotry and priggishness of the Jazz Age, but glosses over events and neglects the inner lives of many of its characters. Agent: Tracy Fisher, WME Entertainment. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
""The Chaperone" is the enthralling story of two women . . . and how their unlikely relationship changed their lives. . . . In this layered and inventive story, Moriarty raises profound questions about family, sexuality, history, and whether it is luck or will--or a sturdy combination of the two--that makes for a wonderful life."--"O, The Oprah Magazine" "In her new novel, "The Chaperone," Laura Morirty treats this golden age with an evocative look at the early life of silent-film icon Louise Brooks, who in 1922 leaves Wichita, Kansas, for New York City in the company of 36-year-old chaperone, Cora Carlisle. . . . A mesmerizing take on women in this pivotal era."--"Vogue" "With her shiny black bob and milky skin, Louise Brooks epitomized silent-film glamour. But in Laura Moriarty's engaging new novel "The Chaperone," Brooks is just a hyper-precocious and bratty 15-year-old, and our protagonist, 36-year-old Cora Carlisle, has the not-easy mission of keeping the teenager virtuous while on a trip from their native Kansas to New York City. After a battle of wills, there's a sudden change of destiny for both women, with surprising and poignant results."--"Entertainment Weekly" "Throughout "The Chaperone," her fourth and best novel, Laura Moriarty mines first-rate fiction from the tension between a corrupting coastal media and the ideal of heart-of-America morality. . . . . Brooks's may be the novel's marquee name, but the story's heart is Cora's. With much sharpness but great empathy, Moriarty lays bare the settled mindset of this stolid, somewhat fearful woman--and the new experiences that shake that mindset up."--"San Francisco Weekly" "Film star Louise Brooks was a legend in her time, but the real lead of "The Chaperone" is Cora Carlise, Brooks' 36-year-old chaperone for her first visit to New York City in 1922. As Cora struggles to tame Louise's free spirit, she finds herself moving past the safety of her own personal boundaries. In thi