Category: Coco Chanel

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.

Posted Friday, 3 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Mademoiselle Chanel” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My connection to Chanel:

My fascination with Chanel took center-stage when I selected my first Rosamunde Pilcher novel to read {The Shell Seekers} giving me a window into the world of Chanel No. 5. I had briefly hinted at this connection whilst tweeting Mr Gortner in January after learning I had become a part of the blog tour for Chanel. (the tweets are in a slideshow at the bottom of this review) I was fourteen and starting to seek out adult literature in all it’s glory after having read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton the year before when I was thirteen. I had reached the point where I was separating myself from what I had read as a young adult and what I wanted to shift forward into as an adult reader.

Romance was in my life ever since I first picked up the novella collections featuring Victorian Christmas stories penned by leading authors in the field such as Mary Jo Putney. I wanted to seek out new genres and other ways in which stories were told, which is why The Shell Seekers held such an appeal to me. It was a unique novel as it was practically a time slip as much as it was a multiple point of view story told from different pairs of eyes per each chapter you entered. It was part war drama and part multi-generational saga, yet at the heart of it all was the discovery of Chanel No. 5.

I hadn’t realised it at the time, but this novel in particular led me to realise how much I appreciated reading historical fiction, although a few years prior I should have known this after reading Judith Pella’s Frontier Lady. It was the scent of Chanel No. 5 which staid with me as I read the novel itself — it is hard to describe how I even would have known the scent, but as I read the story, I smelt the parfum, and that is the easiest way to explain it. I was so stirred by the emotional context of the novel shortly thereafter I had put the book down, I immediately sought out the parfum!

I had seen the Chanel counter at the malls, as much as anyone else, but I hadn’t connected to the scent of the fragrances themselves. The Shell Seekers provided the gateway yet it also proposed a dialogue of conversation revealing a particular unknown connection through my maternal line of heritage! Apparently, long before my own encounter with Chanel No. 5, my grandmother and mother had long since held this fragrance as their most beloved scent! It was at this time the torch was thus passed down to me, and I inherited my Mum’s bottle of the fragrance which I used sparingly until it ran out in my early twenties. The scent itself smelt differently on me, as it was very subtle and yet unique, and this is when I learnt the most about parfum; to each wearer our own chemistry changes how it is reflected to those who smell it on us.

I haven’t been able to wear it after this moment of my life as I started to develop allergies to most commercial fragrances, however, even as I use essential oils I still have very fond memories of Chanel and of Chanel No. 5. It united me with a legacy of how three women in my own family came across Chanel No. 5 in our own uniquely different ways and found a connection through the parfum itself. If I hadn’t picked up The Shell Seekers and been drawn in by the allure of Chanel No. 5, this story of my life would not have been written. Nor would I have known how others reacted to when I wore the fragrance as no one knew it was this particular scent, only that when I wore it, I was known. Anonymity was gone.

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.Mademoiselle Chanel
by C.W. Gortner
Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: , The Tudor Vendetta

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Pages: 416

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Unabridged Audiobook, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #MademoiselleChanel, #CocoChanel

Author Biography:CW Gortner

C.W. Gortner is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, translated in over twenty-five languages to date. His new novel, “Mademoiselle Chanel”, traces the tumultuous rise to fame of iconic fashion designer, Coco Chanel.

In 2016, Random House will publish his eighth novel, “Vatican Princess”, about Lucrezia Borgia. Raised in Spain and a long-time resident of the Bay Area, C.W. is also dedicated to companion animal rescue from overcrowded shelters.

WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 3 April, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, 20th Century, Adoption, Belle Epoque Era, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Coco Chanel, Courtesan & Cocottes, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Fashion Industry, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Parfum Industry, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, the Edwardian era, the Roaring Twenties

Author Guest Post | C.W. Gortner relates the beauty of inspiration behind how Coco Chanel’s effervescent presence in fashion and parfum have endured her legacy forty years after her death. {on behalf of “Mademoiselle Chanel”}

Posted Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , 6 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I had the opportunity to become introduced to the writings of Mr Gortner whilst I participated on his blog tour for The Tutor Vendetta, marking a special moment for me as it was Gortner’s writings which had first intrigued me to start hosting for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I had the chance to interview him about his writings and the Spymaster Trilogy, and now, only a handful of months since I first picked up a novel of his, I have the beautiful opportunity to dig inside an historical biographical fiction novel about Chanel! Chanel as I will reveal on my book review lateron tonight, held a key part of my personal growth with an affection for parfum which went back through my own maternal line of heritage without my realisation until I ‘met’ Chanel via a novel which changed my life.

I wanted to ask Mr Gortner about what inspired him to focus on Chanel but also, on how Chanel’s life has continued to have an impact on everyone who crosses path with either her personal history of what she’s left behind for us to discover about her or a part of her legacy in the fashion and/or parfum industries where she not only set a certain standard but directly had an impact on the direction of where both industries were going to break out into new territories.

It was further interesting to me, the synopsis for Mademoiselle Chanel mentions a previous novel I have held quite close to my heart: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald as I had the pleasure of reading and discovering Zelda through such an authentic voice as portrayed in her biographical fiction novel from Therese Fowler as to be full of thanksgiving for the novel to cross my path via the First Impressions programme at Book Browse. I believe this speaks to the authenticity of the work as a whole, as I had previously encountered Gortner’s passionate dedication to research in the Spymaster series, and this tip-off with Chanel, gave me a bit of insight of what I might find inside the pages herein.

You see Zelda wasn’t simply spoken about in a third person point of view or a narration thus far removed from her living hours; no, to me Zelda’s voice was captured so surely by Fowler as to give definition to her character and a direct line of insight into who Zelda was whilst she was alive. On this note, I am perceiving the same must have been felt by early readers and the editors on behalf of Gortner’s take on Chanel. To knit together such a convincing portrait as if Chanel herself were echoing her thoughts directly into the pen of Gortner and thus, presenting us with a story which speaks as true as the woman who lived the life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Mademoiselle Chanel

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

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

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Unabridged Audiobook, Ebook

Public Library | Add to Riffle

Converse on Twitter via: #MademoiselleChanel, #CocoChanel Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, 20th Century, Adoption, Belle Epoque Era, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Coco Chanel, Courtesan & Cocottes, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Fashion Industry, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Parfum Industry, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, the Edwardian era, the Roaring Twenties