Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel

At Danger’s Ebb
When vigilance sleeps.
Beware my friend,
Thine enemy creeps.

Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883, Coco Chanel was one of seven children raised in Saumur, France. Her father was a street vendor, her mother a seamstress.

When Chanel was seven, her mother died and her father gave Coco and two of her sisters to the Aubazine convent-orphanage in the Corrèze region of central France where they became wards of Catholic nuns of the Etiienne d’ Auzbazine, an order dating back to the twelfth century.

As she matured, she took her schooling seriously and later tried to get along as a cabaret singer in barrooms and cheap dives. During these racy times, she got her name, some say, from the French word cocotte, which means kept woman.

Also during these times, she turned to her mother’s legacy: sewing. But right away she went beyond that and started improvising. Her sewing became her designs and her designs acquired value, as it turned out, in women’s clothing.

Coco Chanel opened her first shop in Paris in 1910. After a few years, her designs had become fashions and were in demand.

Later on, during the 1920s she dabbled in perfume. She took up with a parfumier, Ernest Beaux, in Grasse, France, the fashion capitol of the world. After a lot of toil, dead ends, and hard work, they knew they had something. It was difficult but they kept on. Finally, it was done. It had eighty-three ingredients. But, what to call it? They simply named it after Coco’s favorite number: Chanel No. 5 and sent it to market. The original formula is locked deep in a vault in Grasse and its sales are off the charts. The rest is now legend.

Having died in 1971, Coco Chanel’s fashion and perfume lines remain successful to this day. For example, it is said that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 sells every eight seconds worldwide.

Coco Chanel never married. She had several relationships but couldn’t quite keep them all together. During World War II, the Nazi’s conquered most of Europe, France being one of them. At that time she took up with Barron Hans Günther von Dinklage, a German diplomat of Pomerania and Abwehr agent. This relationship continued after the war, and until her death at the age of 87.

During the war. Coco Chanel was famous enough that the Nazis allowed her to keep a residence, with Baron Dinklage, at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

Thus, in Danger’s Ebb, the supposition is that Coco Chanel, terribly worried about sagging revenue in Europe due to the Nazi regime, hires the Lapresse family, Andre, Charlotte, and daughter Lolli, all master parfumiers, to set up a subsidiary in Noumena, New Caledonia, halfway around the world, to bolster sales against failing European revenue.

It is in French Polynesia that daughter Lolli meets Gilroy Hitchcock, a flying gunnery sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corp. At the time, Hitchcock is temporarily assigned as Chief master at Arms aboard the USS Dunagan (DD 504), a destroyer commanded by Todd Ingram who finds himself thrown squarely against an overwhelming force of nine Japanese destroyers in the Battle of Vella LaVella in the Solomon Islands.

Thus we hope you enjoy this work. Danger’s Ebb is set for release on April 25th, 2024.

Thanks for reading,

John J. Gobbell