my take: Laura Moriarty writes believable characters in mid-west settings ... appealing to this mid-west girl. The Book Chicks read The Center of Everything a few years back and afterwards I read her other books on my own...I liked them well enough to keep going. She writes in that spot above "chick lit" and below "literature" - great for curl up reading.
For me, the great thing about historical fiction is learning about little known events ... interesting happenings they don't teach you in school. (see also The Color of Lightning) I love being transported to another time: mores; sights; sounds; language.
In The Chaperone see and hear Wichita, Kansas and New York City in the 1920's. Discover a film star, her weird family, her chaperone, and her interesting family. Take in some obscure American history. Enjoy.
my source: cruising around on Amazon.com ... bought it in hardcover!
my verdict: Very good read. Two thumbs up.