Book Review: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little

“For so long all I’d wanted was a home of my own. I didn’t understand home wasn’t a place. It was a person.”

― Judithe Little, The Chanel Sisters

The Channel Sisters is Judithe Little's second stand-alone novel. It is a historical-fiction narrative about the Channel sisters and is told from the youngest sister's point of view from the time they spent in a monastery orphanage until her death in 1921.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family years before, they’ve grown up under the guidance of pious nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts beneath the floorboards are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive.

The walls of the convent can’t shield them forever, and when they’re finally of age, the Chanel sisters set out together with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the stylish cafés of Moulins, the dazzling performance halls of Vichy—and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris, where a business takes hold and expands to the glamorous French resort towns. But when World War I breaks out, their lives are irrevocably changed, and the sisters must gather the courage to fashion their own places in the world, even if apart from each other.

My reaction to this novel...

I'm one of those who loves Chanel but can't afford the exorbitant indulgences from the illustrious company, so I'm especially interested in learning how they got started and how the business grew off.

I thought the "Chanel" Sisters title of this book was merely a coincidence when I first saw it. When I first started looking for it on Goodreads, I found out that it was all about them. I immediately began reading it and found it impossible to put it down.

I became really interested in the book when the author mentioned what the Chanel sisters were thinking when she said that, in their words, “people thought they were buying Chanel for glamour and sophistication, but what they were actually purchasing were the relics of their youth, memories of the nuns who educated them and the abbey that provided them with shelter. An illusion of riches sprung from the rags of their past.” These words drew my attention and caused me to reflect on what actually happened to them and how hard they may have worked to achieve their greatness.

I really enjoy how the author wrote it in a way that made me feel like I was there to see their hardships, despite the fact that the novel detailed what happened to them when they were young, their conflicts, love stories, and failures. Even though I don't frequently enjoy reading biographies, this one is wonderfully refined, beautiful, and just lovely. It's awful, but when I read about their prior challenges, I can see how they deserved to be honoured today. Every story of difficulty is extravagant, thus their brand has a genuine claim to luxurious fame.

All readers who appreciate reading and are curious about what happened to the main characters in this great novel should pick up a copy of this book, I would like to recommend it.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)

“It was so much easier to dream when you knew what to dream of”

This is extremely true because if you are clear on your life's objective or desire, you will be on the right track to accomplish all of your goals. If your dream is still uncertain to you, you will regularly worry and be filled with uncertainties whenever you accomplish something.

“You don't accept what you're told you are. You decide for yourself.”

Only we have the power to make our own decisions. Because everything that happens to us is solely a product of our own choices, we shouldn't rely on others to determine who we are and what we do with our life. We are in charge of ourselves.


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.