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Mademoiselle Chanel

Mademoiselle Chanel

Written by C. W. Gortner

Narrated by Rebecca Gibel


Mademoiselle Chanel

Written by C. W. Gortner

Narrated by Rebecca Gibel

ratings:
4.5/5 (19 ratings)
Length:
14 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 17, 2015
ISBN:
9780062373786
Format:
Audiobook

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 17, 2015
ISBN:
9780062373786
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

C. W. Gortner is the author of many bestselling historical novels—including Mademoiselle Chanel—which have been published in more than twenty countries. He lives in San Francisco.


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What people think about Mademoiselle Chanel

4.6
19 ratings / 10 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Gabrielle Chanel was the daughter of a laundress and of a man who deserted his young children when his wife died. The remainder of Chanel's childhood was spent in an orphanage where the nuns recognized her usual talent with a needle. It was her first lover that took her to Paris where her skill, ambition, and independence lead her to becoming Coco, an internationally known couture who still influences design almost fifty years after her death.G. W. Gortner knows the fashion industry, having worked in all levels of it before becoming a fulltime writer. The Chanel story he tells (1895 - 1954) is well researched and reveals a complex and independent woman who was not always likeable. In some ways it is a cautionary tale because while Coco achieved a dizzying level of success, she also suffered from questionable decisions, sadness and loss. This is the second book I've read by Gortner, he has written six others, and I'm surprised he's not better known. He writes very well in a woman's voice and I look forward to reading more by him.
  • (5/5)
    This book is the dramatized biography of Coco Chanel. Told in first person by the biographer, Gabrielle, (Coco, a nickname), Chanel led a life full of drama, passion and intrigue. She was one of 6 children, born into extreme poverty. Her family was described as gypsies with her beloved father frequently leaving on long road trips which caused her mother to fend for the herself and 6 children by herself. After her mother died of disease, her father, who missed the funeral, sent the girls off to the convent and boys given to farmers as workers. Gabrielle, Antoinette, and Julia
  • (5/5)
    The narrator did an excellent job at capturing the tone of Chanel’s life story. I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in knowing more about Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
  • (4/5)
    A good book about an extraordinary lady. Coco Chanel had a true rags-to-riches tale, with plenty of scandal, love, glamour, and a bit of intrigue along the way. While I do wish the author had delved a bit deeper into her personality and motivations, the picture of Coco that emerges in this novel is nevertheless deeply fascinating and I would love to know more about her.
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely loved this book!! It is a book you can't wait to settle down with and wish it didn't have to end. You will want to race out and buy a bottle of No. 5.

    She literally came alive for me in this novel. I didn't know much about Coco, but love her timeless designs. What a breath of fresh air she would have been in the rigid, torturous, corseted, almost comic, fashions of the early 20th century. The longevity of her classic ideas shows even now, years after her death, she knew what women wanted and in what they looked alluring rather than trussed.

    Coco Chanel was an intriguing, complex woman. C.W. Gortner has a talent for telling stories and this book is a delight. I recommend it to all those who love fashion, complex women and Coco Chanel.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    Where do I start with this book that I absolutely adored so much? Yes, I loved it, from start to finish! Thank you to the publisher for giving me the copy for an honest review. I regret that I didn’t get to it sooner, but I am so glad that I did now. I have always been enthralled with the legend of Coco Chanel, and after reading this book, as far as I’m concerned, the person lives up to the legend. Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel was a formidable woman, both in the fashion industry, where she has left an indelible mark like no other designer, and in her personal life, with her many lovers and assorted group of friends. The book is fiction, but C.W. Gortnor has spoken in this book in Coco’s words. It’s like reading her memoirs since the story is told in the first person. His impeccable research has uncovered many, many things about the life of Coco Chanel. Do you want to know how her famous perfume got the name of Chanel #5? I always wondered what happened to #1, #2, #3 and #4. I found out in this book that there were no precursors to #5. If you read this book, you will find out how it got that name. Did you ever wonder how Coco managed to become a world-renowned fashion designer, and one of the world’s richest women? And what happened that forced her to leave France at the end of the Second World War? All this and more are in this book. Coco lost her mother when she was twelve, and because her father did not want to look after her and her two sisters and two brothers, he split the family up. The girls were all sent to a convent to be raised by the nuns. The boys were given to farm families in the area. Even at the young age of twelve, Coco was an artist with a needle and thread and the nuns knew that she would be someone famous one day. They encouraged her in her ambitions. Coco’s mantra from an early age was, “I’m not afraid of hard work,” and work she did. It was her sheer force of will that made her successful in her professional life. Her personal life was not as successful, but with the hours she put into her business, it didn’t leave much time for family, friends or lovers. This book covers her whole life, from childhood, through two world wars, and beyond. C.W. Gorton has made Coco Chanel come alive. I absolutely loved it! I’m sorry I’ve finished it because I could have read more and more about this remarkable woman. I must share a couple of her well-known quotes. “Gentleness doesn’t get work done, unless you are a hen laying eggs.” and “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” Let’s all be fabulous! If you will excuse me I must go put on my Chanel #5. Here’s to you Coco,
  • (5/5)
    Enthralled, captivated, fascinated, enamored, I'm not even sure if these words come close to explaining how great this book was and how captivated I am with this woman. This book was impossible to put down I needed to know more and more and more. This is one of those books that when you get finished you want to go back to the beginning and start again because you don't want it to end. She was definitely a woman before her time she was an absolutely fascinating woman, what she did, not only as a designer but as a single woman in France in the early 1900’s is awe inspiring, she did what she had to do and look what she accomplished, and when you learn where the famous trademark stems from and the origins of her famous perfume it is so interesting. Her rise and how she got there and the people she met along the way is so inspiring I am just awe-struck by this woman. I am far from being a fashionista but I want to go see these older dresses and see more of her life.This book also made me look up everyone she meets along the way and to look at her styles and the scary lobster dress by her rival Schiaparelli . I love Chanel’s more conservative simple dresses; really without her we wouldn’t have the little black dress. And that she stopped women from wearing fruit and birds on their heads that was a great thing.But above all she was a woman ahead of her time; independent, opinionated, beautiful and rich, but she didn’t start out that way and everything she had was from her hard work, yes, yes men helped her along the way but she paid every one of them back and without her talent she would have never become the icon that she became.The life she lived and the people she knew is a who’s who in the artistic world of the time, she was accepting of everyone from the snobs of the British aristocracy, to gay men and women, to the drug addled artists, dancers and musicians, she accepted everyone despite their flaws, she was also a very caring woman though her outward attitude didn’t seem that way I believe from this book that if Coco liked you she would do just about anything for you. Some of the things she did during the war are tough but I believe this version she never wanted to hurt anyone and a person had to survive. I do hope that she was able to find some peace and love at the end of her life.Okay, I could go on and on about this book but I will stop now and just say read this book the minute it comes out, you will not be disappointed!5 Stars (if I could give it more I would)I received this book from edelweiss and the publisher for a fair and honest review
  • (5/5)
    Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner is about the life of famed clothing designer Coco Chanel and made for a gripping, absorbing story. This is a rag-to-riches tale of how a poor French girl called Gabrielle transformed herself into the darling of the fashionable world as Coco Chanel and then took herself even higher to become the Queen of all things dealing with French fashion. She wasn’t always likeable, but she was always interesting. Extremely intense, stubborn, passionate and self-centered she did things her way and although she had help along the way, her career advanced mostly under her own talent and hard work. She is known today as the instigator of the “little black dress”, also for her collarless suits, and her namesake perfume, the iconic Chanel No. 5. She lived through very interesting times being born in 1883 and passing away in 1971, her style helped define the Roaring Twenties with her sporty, casual chic and she continued to build her business into a thriving empire during the 1930’s. World War II threw a dark shadow over her life and she took a number of years off after the war before coming out of retirement and launching a collection in 1954 which put her back on top once more.The author manages to cover all areas of Chanel’s life and makes this story of an fiercely determined, ambitious woman an enthralling read that I enjoyed very much.
  • (5/5)
    I requested this book because I was interested in the life of Coco Chanel. The book is written in the first person which I found unusual for a historical fiction novel but it worked very well. I often forgot that it was being told by the author and not Coco. Gortner’s writing is superb.Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel is famous for her little black dress and her No. 5 perfume. Little did I know just how progressive – and stubborn – she was. Coco was not quite 12 years old when her unmarried mother died. Coco, her mother, her two sisters, and two brothers had already been abandoned by the father. After her mother’s death, the father sent the boys out to work as farm laborers and the girls were sent to a convent. Coco’s talent with the needle and thread eventually became her ticket out of the convent. For a while she was a club singer which is where she got the nickname Coco.She was known for her determination (often plain hard-headedness) and ambition. She used men, as they used her. She had the worst luck when it came to men – usually being involved with society men who were either already married or had to marry within his circle in order to produce an heir to his property. Given these negatives, Coco would pretty much do anything for her friends. She is certainly not perfect but she is likeable.I loved the depiction of how she came up with her famous Chanel No. 5 and the logo used with the packaging. She knew what she wanted and would settle for nothing less!According to this book, while in the convent Coco began dismantling the gaudy hats of the time and simplified them. Later she expressed her dissatisfaction with the discomfort of the fashions of her time so she designed articles that allowed the woman to breathe. She did away with corsets and the frills that were so popular. She chopped off her long hair in a time when short hair on women was novel. She designed hats that the woman wore, instead of the hat wearing the woman. She was innovative in the materials she used. In 1915 with the war going on, adequate supply of fabric was a problem. This led to her acquisition of raw jersey which she turned into coats. Then mixing the jersey with cotton she designed a new line of dresses, cardigans, and coats. Her ability to adapt and stay at the cutting edge of design kept her products selling well.When she became involved with a social set that was into riding horses she designed clothing that made it easier for the woman to mount and ride. She also designed for the yachting crowd.I did not know of the controversy regarding her involvement with the Nazis. Some say she was a collaborator; others say she did what she had to in order to survive. I leave that to the historians. Her interactions with other well known names of the time were very interesting. These included Winston Churchill, the Rothschilds, Sam Goldwyn, Igor Stravinsky, Picasso, and more.This was a delightful read, a journey into European society at a turbulent time.I received a copy of this book from The Reading Room in exchange for an honest review.