Author(s): C. W. Gortner
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.
"Sucked me in by the pearls and never let go ... equal parts grit and glamour ... if you can't afford to visit Paris in peak springtime season, reading this book with a glass of wine is a decent substitute." -- Glamour "Enticing ... well-researched and well-crafted historical novel that leaves the reader satisfied on many levels. " -- New York Journal of Books "Absorbing, heartbreaking and salacious--like Chanel's life story ... a vivid, heartbreaking portrait of Coco Chanel's meteoric rise to fame and her complicated personal life." -- Shelf Awareness "In a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortner's prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!" -- Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl "A richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown." -- Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls "From her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinating--as is C.W. Gortner's Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation." -- Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex "Well-written and historically accurate ... An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today." -- Kirkus Reviews "In this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend." -- Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train "Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. " -- Historical Novels Review "Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman's unstoppable ambition." -- Booklist
A former fashion executive, C. W. Gortner is a lifelong admirer of Coco Chanel. His passion for writing led him to give up fashion, and his many historical novels have been bestsellers, published in more than twenty countries. He lives in San Francisco.