My review (see below for giveaway)
When I saw this book come up at France Book Tours, I couldn’t wait to sign up and to be able to read it. I’d watched Coco Avant Chanel (with Audrey Tautou as Chanel, directed by Anne Fontaine), so I was already familiar with Chanel’s early life. I loved this book for its great detail, especially about those parts not covered by the film–her early (pre-teen) life and the time after her romance with Boy (Arthur Capel) comes to a sad end. I was completely unfamiliar with the period covering pre/during/post WWII.
The author takes an historical subject and makes it (and Mlle. Chanel herself) come alive. This was a book I absolutely couldn’t put down, and I don’t often say that about historical novels. His descriptions were vivid yet not overdone, and he has an ease with words that meant I never found myself outside the story looking in. It was so enjoyable that I recommended it to several friends.
I’d definitely recommend the book to anyone wanting a good introduction to Mlle. Chanel that doesn’t want to pick up a traditional biography (or wade through primary material).
Release date: March 17, 2015
For readers of The Paris Wife and Z comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel–the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.
Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielleís exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.
Transforming herself into Coco–seamstress and sometime torch singer–the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become 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, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles 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.
An enthralling novel of an extraordinary designer who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.W. Gortner is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, translated in over twenty-five languages to date. His new novel, Mademoiselle Chanel, traces the tumultuous rise to fame of iconic fashion designer, Coco Chanel.
In 2016, Random House will publish his eighth novel, Vatican Princess, about Lucrezia Borgia. Raised in Spain and a long-time resident of the Bay Area, C.W. is also dedicated to companion animal rescue from overcrowded shelters.
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Open to US only:
5 printed copies
+ 1 beautiful, handcrafted beaded bracelet
inspired by Coco’s black-and-white signature colors
and camellia design
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