Coco Chanel’s life revisited by Merle Jones in her novel entitled “Mademoiselle”

Eliane at the orphanage, Alouette at the beginning of her career, Doré at the top of the fashion world and La Grande Mademoiselle for the rest of her life. Eliane Doré is called many ways, and it’s because she had many lives. In her nineties, even if she is a fashion icon, her life remains a mystery. But time has come to reveal herself to the world. Eliane entrusts a talented reporter whose named Andrea Vincent with this task. Both complicated and touching, Eliane Doré story will turn every character’s life upside down.

The ex journalist Merle Jones dedicated her novel entitled Mademoiselle to her mother who she calls a “born survivor”. Obviously, the character of Eliane Doré has been both inspired by her mother and Coco Chanel. References to Coco Chanel’s life are numerous, from the time spent at the orphanage to her relationships with Nazis, including her several affairs and the death of the love of her life in a car accident. As Coco Chanel, Eliane Doré is tough, ambitious and independent. Three qualities which make her a heroin of fashion. Her quest? Freedom. To be free she needs money and with money comes power. That’s how she makes her fashion empire grow more & more every day.  To succeed, Eliane Doré builds up a solid armor to cope with the bumps of life and to save face. Appearance is all she has, as she says when she is forced not to work because of health issues: “My work is my life. […] What am I to do with myself ?”. Now Eliane has reached independence she wants immortality.

Thanks to a clever mise en abyme, Merle Jones let the reader into the secret of Mademoiselle’s life. As we go along, we understand that the biography is probably an excuse to make Andrea Vincent meet Eliane Doré. Since she had a daughter with  Duke Conway, Mademoiselle seems to have another idea in mind to become immortal. Mystery surrounds Mademoiselle’s intentions until the end of the book, so if you intend to read it, be prepared to love but also to hate Mademoiselle.

 

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