Title: Mademoiselle Chanel
Author: C. W. Gortner
Publication Date: 3/17/15
How I Found It: TLC Book Tours
Date Completed: 3/21/15
Summary: A historical fiction look at the life of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel.
What I Thought: For the first third of this book, I could not shake the feeling I had read it before. Finally, I realized that my déjà vu stemmed from when I saw Coco Before Chanel a few years back. The story, obviously, was the same. In some ways, it was a nice reminder of Chanel's humble origins. In others, I was glad to move on to a part of her life about which I knew less.
Gortner clearly did a lot of research for this book. I enjoyed the detailed, imaginative look into the life of the fashion icon. The structure, tone, and execution all reminded me tremendously of Z, which is another fictional biography-style book.
I most enjoyed the middle section of the book. The rise of the Chanel brand and how it came to change fashion so dramatically. I found it all incredibly interesting. I have to admit, the last third of the book or so did not interest me as much. That portion covers the WWII era and details Chanel's suspected involvement with some intelligence agencies. Honestly, I knew so little about this part of her life that I suspected Gortner had taken major artistic liberties...hitting Google shows that, while he certainly did use artistic license throughout the book, the spy thing may be more accurate than we realize.
If you are a Chanel fan, interested in fashion, or love this era of history, I imagine you'll enjoy this book as well. It gets a little drawn out at times and Chanel's parade of eccentric friends and lovers were not nearly as interesting to me as her professional life. Still, it's a fun read if this is what you're into.
*to read what others thought about Mademoiselle Chanel, check out the full blog tour schedule*
Will I Re-Read: Probably not
A Reduced Review: Fans of Coco Chanel will enjoy this fictionalized account of her life. I would have enjoyed seeing more about the clothes and the brand over speculative accounts of her relationships.