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 Gabrielle's 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, a 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 woman 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 trademarks.
©2015 C. W. Gortner (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
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"Fiction Not Biography"
I love a good biography and was so pleased when I found this title about Coco Chanel. I started listening and realized too late that I had made a mistake--this was not a biography. It is instead a fictionalized novel based on the life of Chanel. The story felt overly romanticized and too clean and neat to be the actual telling of a real life. I was left wondering--as I tried to progress with the book--what was true and what was fiction.
I am trying not to review books that I hate and award only one or two stars because it seems so negative and not always helpful. However, in this case I thought it best to point out that this is a work of fiction. To me, reality, history and facts all matter a great deal. What's more, truth is often far more engaging and compelling than fiction. So, if you are looking for the "real" Coco Chanel I would keep searching. Can't recommend.
"Best book I've read in years"
Interesting historical fiction story about the rise of Coco Chanel. Rags to riches in France over the course of WWI and WWII. She's an inspiration.
Great read! Much better than I expected. The detail was thorough. I always thought Coco was a collaborator with the Germans but this book cleared that up. She was a survivor on all levels. I even ordered my first bottle of Chanel no. 5!
"Beautifully written and enticing"
The story of Coco Chanel is captivating. It is written as though in the first person which adds depth and personality to the characters in her life. The accents were well done if even sometimes dramatic.
"Was curious about her so........."
I decided to listen. I enjoyed the story, but I would have liked the narrator to have had a French accent. I think it would have enhanced the story more. All in all a good listen.
I have always been a huge fan of the fashion line Chanel, so it was great to find out more about the original designer. Gabrielle's story is amazing, with a ton of ups and down, and you get to find out a lot about the history that was going out during her time. The reader was absolutely fabulous as well, it really felt like she could of been Gabrielle telling her story (even though this book is in english!) Definitely a must read/listen!
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