Friday, March 27, 2015

MADEMOISELLE CHANEL by C. W. Gortner (Review & Giveaway)

Mademoiselle Chanel

Author C.W. Gortner

on Tour March 20-April 8, 2015 with

Mademoiselle Chanel

Genre: historical fiction
Release date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: William-Morrow/HarperCollins, 384 pages
ISBN: 978-0062356406


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.


A terrific new telling of an old story, Mademoiselle Chanel is a transfixing account of one of the most prolific and, alas, controversial cultural icons of our time. What amazed me to no end about its author, writer of historical fiction and former fashion executive C. W. Gortner, was the ability to take on the voice of a female character of such a magnitude (the novel is narrated in a smooth and mellow first person POV) and modulate it with masterful penmanship and unrelenting flair.

"Remember, Coco, you're only a woman. Only a woman who must continue to reinvent herself if she is to survive. I catch sight of myself in one the room's hands, covered in precision rings, are as raw as a stonemason's, knotted, marred by a thousand needle pricks - the hands of the Auvergne peasant I am at heart, the foundling, the orphan, the dreamer, the schemer. My hands reflect who I am. I see in them the struggle that has always existed between the humble girl I once was and the legend I deliberately created to hide my heart."

Through all the myths and rumors that clothed the passionate and focused fashion designer like her signature crepe de chine, Gortner lines up all the stepping stones that marked her whirling rise to fame, revealing, against the foil of her triumphs and mistakes, Chanel's fiercely independent nature.

The result is uncompromisingly stylish, convincing, and vibrant, in the vein of Coco's most sterling and incomparable legacy. 5 Stars!
***Review copy graciously offered by the publicist in exchange for an unbiased and honest opinion

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

My life didn't please me, so I created my life.”  

Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”

If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”


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. Visit his website. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter Subscribe to his newsletter

Buy the book: HarperCollins | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*** 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



  1. wow, thanks for your fantastic review! I like also that you added really neat pictures of Coco. Emma at FBT

    1. You're most welcome, Emma! We cannot talk about Coco without using some visual aids, can we? Thank you for the opportunity to review this fabulous book.

  2. Thank you so much for your terrific review and glamorous post. I'm truly honored and hope your readers enjoy "Mademoiselle Chanel."

    1. You are most welcome! It was a deeply satisfying read and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

  3. Great review and I love the pictures. She was really a very fascinating woman.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com