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Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel
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HarperCollins 2015
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Description

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 become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to 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 trademark.

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Street Date:
03/17/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062356444
ASIN:
B00L7X6YV8
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. (2015). Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. 2015. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner, Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Mademoiselle Chanel
fullDescription

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 become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to 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 trademark.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Journal of Books
      • content: "Enticing . . . well-researched and well-crafted historical novel that leaves the reader satisfied on many levels. "
      • premium: False
      • source: Shelf Awareness
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl
      • content: "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!"
      • premium: False
      • source: Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "Well-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today."
      • premium: False
      • source: Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Historical Novels Review
      • content: "Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. "
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 12, 2015
        The formidable task of telling the rags-to-riches story of fashion doyenne Coco Chanel is almost pulled off in this lengthy book by historical novelist Gortner (The Tudor Vendetta). We learn of her father who abandoned his five children, that Gabrielle Chanel’s first entry into fashion was as a milliner, how she came to be called “Coco,” the birth of the Chanel logo, the origin of her famous perfume—named for test-sample bottle number five; and her creation of the famous “little black dress.” Here, too, are the legendary artists and politicians who peopled her fabulous life—Cocteau, Stravinsky, Picasso, Churchill, to name a few—as well as her tumultuous relationships with a handful of financially successful men. And then there is her life during the German occupation of France, living at the Ritz, no less, where she had a liaison with a high-ranking German officer (Hans Gunther von Dincklage) leaving some questions about the nature of her true sympathies during WWII. Despite the colossal amount of facts we have about Chanel’s life, we never get a real sense of the woman who turned fashion upside down in the 1920s, whether because the story is told in first person, or because the urgency to cover a voluminous amount of material leaves us with plenty of information but not enough heart and soul to get at the core of who this charismatic woman really was.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2015

        Gortner's (The Tudor Vendetta) Coco Chanel is an innocent, unimpeachable in her intentions. The truly evil (jackbooted Nazis), nauseatingly insipid (every female in her family), or anarchically catty (the bohemians of Paris) force Chanel to make imperfect decisions in response to their failings, not from any character defect of her own. Why have an affair with a German officer? Not to enjoy creature comforts in a time of deprivation, oh no--but because it is her only option. Why take an interest in her nephew's fate? Because he is her sister's child--not because he is, as is believed by many, her own son. This self-delusion torpedoes Gortner's whitewashing of Chanel. In failing to acknowledge even in her thoughts the rumors Chanel certainly would've heard, the first-person omniscient narration is wasted. Someone so alienated from her own reasons for action hardly represents the expectations-defying icon that Chanel should prove to be. Instead, she is a figure of a fan fiction who is afraid of upsetting its long-dead subject. VERDICT Historical fiction readers looking for insight into World War II Paris should try Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and nonfiction readers will get more nuanced insight from Ronald C. Rosbottom's When Paris Went Dark. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.]--Nicole R. Steeves, Chicago P.L.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2015
        Gabrielle Coco Chanel comes to life in Gortner's tale inspired by the life of fashion's most famous name. Born into poverty and abandoned by her father, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings spend their childhoods in an orphanage. Blessed with exceptional sewing skills and a drive to succeed, Gabrielle leaves the convent at 18 to become a seamstress by day and a dance-hall performer by night. She discovers a passion for millinery, which propels her into the world of luxury and high fashion. When she meets the rich and powerful Etienne Balsan, Coco finds the freedom to pursue her creative interests. But it is her relationship with Arthur Boy Capel that turns her minimalist hat designs into an international couturier business. Detailing a life spent among the most influential people of the time, the story of Coco Chanel takes readers through some of the most powerful moments in world history, all seen through the eyes of one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. Gortner (The Tudor Vendetta, 2014) brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman's unstoppable ambition.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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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 become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to 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...

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