Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner (EPUB)
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.
I adore this book. Coco Chanel was a complicated woman who it is not always easy for us to like, but Gortner captures her with an adeptness that gives us a complete picture of both the woman and the legend. His language is beautifully elegant in a way that perfectly suits his subject – sleek and sublime. Not many writers could find the right voice for Chanel, but he nailed it.
Gortner has tackled a difficult subject, one about whom many people have strong opinions. His careful attention to research is evident on every page of this book, which means readers can trust that he is giving them the full picture, even when that means not shying away from uncomfortable facts. A brilliantly written book that is a true delight to read.