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Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 17, 2015
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“Sucked me in by the pearls and never let go . . . equal parts grit and glamour . . . if you can’t afford to visit Paris in peak springtime season, reading this book with a glass of wine is a decent substitute.” (Glamour)
“Enticing . . . well-researched and well-crafted historical novel that leaves the reader satisfied on many levels. ” (New York Journal of Books)
“Absorbing, heartbreaking and salacious--like Chanel’s life story . . . a vivid, heartbreaking portrait of Coco Chanel’s meteoric rise to fame and her complicated personal life.” (Shelf Awareness)
“In a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortner’s prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!” (Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl)
“A richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls)
“From her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinating—as is C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation.” (Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex)
“Well-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“In this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend.” (Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train)
“Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. ” (Historical Novels Review)
“Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman’s unstoppable ambition.” (Booklist)
From the Back Cover
She revolutionized fashion and built an international empire . . . all on her own terms
Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother's death. The nuns of the order nurture Gabrielle's exceptional sewing skills, a talent that would propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.
Burning with ambition, the petite brunette transforms herself into Coco, by day a hard-working seamstress and by night a singer in a nightclub, where her incandescence draws in a wealthy gentleman who becomes the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.
Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, Coco's sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As her reputation spreads, her couture business explodes, taking her into rarefied circles of society and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her always.
An enthralling novel about an entirely self-made woman, Mademoiselle Chanel tells the true story of Coco Chanel's extraordinary ambition, passion, and artistic vision.
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-- by Nancy Anne
I found the book believable, and actually was happy that she made capitalism work for her, especially in that era, She absolutely helped women to realize that the glass ceiling could be demolished but she also shows that demolishing the glass ceiling was a hard ceiling to break through....but our great grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers (to a degree, mine was a pampered creature) did the females of western civilization a good thing.
I found the book interesting and the writing enjoyable to read.
So maybe I will take my very old perfume (yes the real stuff, I have had it in sandahich bag for years otherwise it would evaporate) and put it on, nope, just smell it........
Born to impoverishment, raising herself from orphanage to runway, Chanel was always ambitious. She was out to help herself first, and her familial sense of duty came next. While some chafed at the orphange she was placed in upon her mother's death, she found strength there, enriching their lives with her skills at sewing, learned at her mother's knees. Although poor in formal education, her love of reading for escape served her well throught her self-taught life.
She wanted comfort, so she made comfortable fashions. She espoused simple, no frills sillouettes, and the "LBL", now an iconic mainstay of American fashion, was born in a world where women would only be caught dead wearing black. It makes me wonder what she might think of fashion in the 21st century.
Ambitious in life, ambitious in love, she had the money and the panache to pull off one of the greatest rags-to-riches stories in history, one Gortner, a huge Chanel afficiando, has reflected amazingly in this well researched, lovely book, reminiscent of couture Chanel in its presence.
This is THE book if you love Chanel, and will stay with me for a long time. I will be getting this for my collection soon. Read this book