(Review) Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

Author C.W. Gortner

on Tour
March 20-April 8, 2015

Mademoiselle Chanel

(historical fiction)
Release date: March 17, 2015
at William-Morrow/HarperCollins
384 pages
ISBN: 978-0062356406

Free advanced reader copy provided by William Morrow in exchange for a review.
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. (provided by the author)

My Thoughts: 
I'm always interested in reading stories of strong women, and Coco Chanel is a notable strong woman. 
I knew two things about Coco before beginning this book. 
  1. She was a famous trail blazer in designing clothes for women.
  2. She had a questionable relationship with the Nazi's during World War II. 
After reading Mademoiselle Chanel, I feel a personal attachment to Coco. A praise is due to this novel, because Coco is brought to life. She lives and breathes and moves among the pages. Mademoiselle Chanel does not just tell me about the chronological order of her life, but her thoughts, feelings, fears, dreams, creations, joys, insecurities, and even weaknesses. 
Just a few years ago there was a documentary outlining her infamous past with the Nazis. In Mademoiselle Chanel, this period is apart of her life, but Gortner does not center the book on this period. I felt the book encompasses all of her life and not just certain events. 
I've been given a full tour of her life. Coco's early years showed me why she made some of the choices in her adult years. This statement is true for most adults. The pain and sadness, insecurities and fears, often lead people to make certain pivotal choices in adult life. 
I enjoyed reading about her plans, designs, and creations in regards to hats and clothing. Her mind seemed to be in a constant state of designing. She was an artist. A creative genius. 
Coco Chanel was born in 1883, an era when most women married and had children. Coco had a career. She was independent when most women were dependent on a man. She had help in her early years, but was quick to pay debts and move away from dependency. I admire her feisty independence.   
Lastly, Mademoiselle Chanel is a book where I did not always agree with or like Coco's choices. However, it gave a balanced view of Coco. I did not feel the books aim was to persuade me to like or dislike Coco, but to share her full life story, both its thistles and flowers.

Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.  

To read more information about Coco Chanel:
Biography (video)
The Secret Life of Coco Chanel, from Telegraph.co.uk



“Deliciously satisfying . . . The epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant woman became a legend.”— Christina Baker Kline, NYT bestselling author of Orphan Train
“Richly imagined and deftly researched . . . unfolds with the elegance of a Chanel gown.” —Cathy Marie Buchanan, NYT bestselling author of The Painted Girls
“So electric and luminous . . . Divine!” – Erika Robuck, national bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl


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.
Visit his website. Follow him on FacebookTwitter
Subscribe to his newsletter
Buy the bookHarperCollins  |  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble


Friday, March 20
Review +  Giveaway at View from the Birdhouse
Saturday, March 21
Review +  Giveaway at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Sunday, March 22
Review + Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, March 23
Review + Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, March 24
Review + Guest-Post at Jorie Loves A Story
Wednesday, March 25
Review + Interview + Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Thursday, March 26
Review + Giveaway at Writing the Renaissance
Friday, March 27
Review + Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Saturday, March 28
Review +  Giveaway at For the Hook of a Book
Sunday, March 29
Review + Giveaway at Seize The Moment
Monday, March 30
Spotlight  + Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, March 31
Review + Giveaway at Musings of a Writer and Unabashed Francophile
Wednesday, April 1
Review + Excerpt +  Giveaway at Book Nerd
Thursday, April 2
Review  at Unabridged Chick
Review + Giveaway at I Wish I Lived In a Library
Friday, April 3
Review + Giveaway at Macarons and Paperbacks
Sunday, April 5
Review at Crystal Book Reviews
Review + Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, April 
Review + Giveaway at Vvb32 Reads
Review + Giveaway at Chocolate and Croissants
Tuesday, April 7
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace
Wednesday, April 8
Review +  Giveaway at Impressions In Ink
Review +  Giveaway at I’m Lost in Books

You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.


Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] 6 winners Open to US only: 5 printed copies + 1 beautiful, handcrafted beaded bracelet inspired by Coco’s black-and-white signature colors and camellia design Mademoiselle Chanel bracelet


Mademoiselle Chanel banner

France Book Tours


  1. thanks for your super review! Emma at FBT

  2. Hello I am Spanish and I 'm reading different blogs to see what they read in their countries if they are similar or the same as in Spain . I passeth occasionally . Greetings To You.

  3. I enjoyed your honest review. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    I can't wait to read Mademsoille Chanel.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


Post a Comment