I almost didn't sign up to review The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, and that would have been a shame. When I read the synopsis, it totally wasn't my kind of thing - historical fiction, set in 1920s New York (mostly). But then I realized that the Book Club as yet hasn't steered me wrong - there has not been a single book that I disliked or felt was totally not worth the time.
So I took a chance and started reading this one on my Kindle. The formatting had some quirks around chapter headings but nothing too distracting, and the story and characters were so compelling I finished this in less than a week.
The main character is Cora, a married woman in Kansas who agrees to chaperone a teenager who will attend dance classes in New York for a summer. The story held so many surprises, none of which I saw coming, though I bet on second reading the author alludes to some of them beforehand. I love that in a book - each time I thought "OMG!" and had to keep reading.
There's a part towards the end where Cora takes a huge bold step towards arranging her life the way *she* wants it, after living under societal constraints for so long. I loved it - it was unconventional and surprising. It was one of those things where I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it never did. I liked that subtle message of "you can get the life you want, and you don't have to worry it's all going to come crashing down any minute now".
This was definitely a novel with great attention to historical details about how people lived their lives in the 20s, but it also managed to make the characters timeless and relatable in the current day, which is rare. I'm glad to have this one on my Kindle to revisit later and I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a good novel to get lost in.
I'd love to hear from anyone else who's read it!
I was compensated for this review by BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are totally my own.