Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

Mademoiselle Chanel by CW GortnerI know that many people will be interested in this novel just because of Chanel’s name, but I think you should be interested in Mademoiselle Chanel for far more reasons than just that. C.W. Gortner has written a fascinating tale of the 20th century by tracing Chanel’s rags to riches story.

I know that this is a fictionalization of Chanel’s life, and admittedly I did not know much about her beyond her fashion sense, but I learned to much in Mademoiselle Chanel.

  • Chanel was quite the drug user, as were many of her friends,
  • She was a feminist who revolutionized women’s clothing. May sound like a minor accomplishment, unless you’ve ever worn a corset,
  • She had a truly sad family life, tragic even,
  • Although popular in the United States, she was not very interested in selling her clothes there,
  • She was a Nazi collaborator during the occupation for France,
  • She may have also been tied up in a spy network

Who would like this book? Obviously if you are drawn to true-life historical fiction, then Mademoiselle Chanel is for you. You don’t need to be a fashionista, I certainly am not, to enjoy Chanel’s forays into the fashion world, for fashion tells so much about the social history of a time. Arts. culture, politics and feminism all come together in this book. It is a wonderful story of 20th century Europe.

I received this book from the publisher for review consideration.


  1. I never really thought I’d be interested in a book about Chanel, but I do love fictional accounts of historical people and the times in which they live. So, this actually sounds like it would be right up my alley. Thanks for the review!

  2. I read a wonderful biography of Chanel – she had an incredible life. She featured in a book I read about the Hotel Ritz during Nazi occupied Paris and there’s another book that looks at her life as it intersects in important moments in history. I’ve never thought to read a fictionalized account of her life but it sounds like a fun read!

  3. Okay, you swayed me. I wasn’t going to add this book to the TBR because I thought it would be like the ones I haven’t had great success with (Z, Studio Saint Ex, Mrs. Hemingway, etc.) but this sounds more like it might read the way “My Notorious Life” (by Kate Manning) did. I loved that book! I’m off to add it to the list….

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