Review: Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C.W. Gortner



Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel rose truly from rags to riches. One of the first women to dominate the fashion scene with her designs she had a colorful and controversial life. But her style endures today. This novel tells her story in fictionalized form.

My Thoughts

When I picked up this audio book, I knew only that Chanel’s style was fabulous, that Chanel No. 5 was the best-known perfume ever and that Coco Chanel had hung out with Winston Churchill and been the lover of the Duke of Westminster. That’s a lot, but also not much.

Left photo: Randolph and Winston Churchill with Chanel. Right photo: Chanel with “Bend’Or,” Duke of Westminster.  Photo credits left   right

C.W. Gortner brought Chanel to life. She did not live by any rules but her own. She did not like any style but her own. And, it all paid off handsomely. Until…. Let’s say that World War II was not her best time and leave it at that so there aren’t any spoilers. Her circle of friends and lovers were an interesting and eclectic mix to say the least. I have to say, I could not stand her friend Misha! Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I nearly gave up because of her.

I liked that Chanel gave credit to the nuns who raised her from mid-childhood onwards for teaching her to do precise work–to pay attention to detail. That’s very rare today–to hear ANY sort of praise for anyone religious.

The reviews for this book seemed to feel the author glossed over the World War II “issue”. Not knowing anything of it I cannot comment on the validity of those remarks. Like I said, it was not her best time.

Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C.W. Gortner

My Rating



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