The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little. (2020).
**3.5 out of 5 stars**
The unforgettable story of the sisters who changed fashion forever.
Abandoned at a convent orphanage, Antoinette and Gabrielle are raised for simple lives but dream of a glittering future. Their journey leads them through bohemian cafés and stylish music halls to Paris with a small hat shop where a boutique business takes hold and expands. But when war breaks out everything changes and the sisters must navigate great loves, devastating losses and fight harder than ever to make their mark on the world.
Even I, a complete opposite of fashionista, have heard of Coco Chanel and her empire. However, this novel comes from the perspective of Coco’s younger sister Antoinette and explores their childhood, teenage years and adulthood up until 1920. What I found particularly fascinating was the fact that Gabrielle, aka Coco, has often lied about her upbringing and people to this day are unsure what is true and what is not. I found Antoinette to be a likeable woman, and if her actions in this book in relation to getting Chanel started are even slightly true then here is a woman that deserves a lot more recognition. The author has included a timeline and author’s note that seems to indicate that this could very well be the case.
Overall, this was an interesting historical fiction exploring the very beginning of Chanel and delving into Antoinette’s story. Those that enjoy historical fiction may find this a treat.