4.5 Stars

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Mademoiselle Chanel - Fascinating portrayal of Coco Chanel.

Mademoiselle Chanel is a historical fiction novel about the renowned designer, Coco Chanel.  The story begins with the death of Coco's mother when she was a young girl.  Left with five children to care for, Coco's father split up the family sending Coco and her two sisters to an orphanage run by nuns.  Even at a young age, Coco had a knack for sewing, and upon her release from the orphanage became a seamstress.  In her spare time, Coco designed unique hats and various women that she met became interested in her work.  Slowly and with the help of a few wealthy men and women, Chanel began to build her own business.  As she became successful in her work life, her personal life was full of turmoil.  She went through several lovers before she found the love of her life, but their relationship ends in tragedy.  Despite her suffering, Coco forges ahead growing her business until she becomes a household name at the center of which is her popular fragrance, Chanel No. 5.  This story is rich and fascinating, telling not only of Chanel's life, but of the historical events taking place around her.  Chanel lived through WWI and WWII, and just like all Europeans who lived through those harrowing times her life was impacted as well.  Whether or not you're interested in fashion, Mademoiselle Chanel is an excellent read.