The Chanel Sisters Judith Little

Author Judithe Little walks on the glamorous path of Coco Chanel and her sister, Antoinette, in her latest novel, ‘The Chanel Sisters’. Image via Instagram @thenovelnetwrk

Book Review: ‘The Chanel Sisters’ is a glamorous portrait of words

Judithe Little’s historical fiction novel invites the reader into the glamour of 1930s Paris and chronicles the real story behind the iconic French fashion house.

The Chanel Sisters Judith Little

Author Judithe Little walks on the glamorous path of Coco Chanel and her sister, Antoinette, in her latest novel, ‘The Chanel Sisters’. Image via Instagram @thenovelnetwrk

Step into the streets of small French villages and travel in the footsteps of the Chanel sisters, Gabrielle “Coco” and Antoinette Chanel, on their way to fame and fortune in Paris. 

Named by USA Today as one of their “Five Books Not to Miss”, Judithe Little’s latest novel, The Chanel Sisters, is an intimate exploration of the mysterious and enchanting lives of these famous women who were the minds behind the global French luxury fashion house.  


This historical fiction novel invites the reader into the glamorous history of Paris and shows you the real story behind the famous Chanel fashion house. 

The story is told from the perspective of Antoinette, the lesser-known of the Chanel sisters. By doing this, Little provides rare access to the lives, struggles, and bravery of these fascinating and powerful women. 

The Chanel Sisters is escapism at its best and will enchant you with its heart-warming and colourful characters and lyrical writing which takes you behind the scenes of the beginning days of Chanel. 


Abandoned at a convent orphanage, Antoinette and her sister Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel are raised for simple lives. But the Chanel girls dream of a glittering and more glamorous future. 

Determined to prove themselves, the sisters begin performing in bohemian cafes and stylish music halls. And soon the bright lights of Paris come calling and, along with that, a small hat shop on the Rue Cambon which changed their lives forever. 

After World War Two breaks out, their whole world is turned upside down. Gabrielle and Antoinette must navigate great loves, devastating losses and fight harder than ever to make their mark on the world. 


If you are a reader who dislikes flowery language and lyrical writing, you might not like this book. As a reader, I enjoy flowery writing, but this was sometimes even too embellished for my taste (Coco Chanel would not approve…). 

However, if you love historical fiction, deep characters sketches and beautiful reimagining’s of history, this book will become a firm favourite. 


  • The nuns said we should be content with our station in life, that it was God-pleasing. But we could never be content where we were, with what we had. We came from a long line of peddlers, of dreamers travelling down winding roads, sure that something better was just ahead. 
  • But these old Aubazine winds, they found us again, moving, rearranging, sweeping up life as we’d know it. 
  • There were no customers. There might never be again. But we weren’t sewing for them. We sewed for our mother, for [our sister], for ourselves. We sewed for what once was, whatwe hoped would be. We should have been at Mass, praying. The needle and thread were our church, sewing our confession, our sacrament, our salvation. 
  • Like everyone else, Paris had taken off her ball gown and jewels. She’d put away her dancing shoes. 


Judithe Little is an American award-winning and best-selling author of two historical novels Wickwythe Hall with The Chanel Sisters being her latest literary offering. 

She grew up in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. After studying at the Institute of European Studies and the Institut Catholique in Paris, France, and interning at the US State Departmen, she earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. 

She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and three children, where she is currently busy writing her third highly anticipated novel. 

‘The Chanel Sisters’ is published by Headline Publishing Group and is on the Exclusive Books Recommends list. It retails for R363.