Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have again combined in a lovely historical fiction, this one a touch biographical and focused on the actress turned Princess, Grace Kelly
Meet Me in Monaco
A chance meeting during the Cannes Film Festival puts our narrator, Sophie Duval, parfumeuse of her inherited small boutique firm, Duvalls. When Grace Kelly jumps into their shop, just ahead of a photographer chasing a shot, Sophie’s assistant insists that she hide out in the office, much to Sophie’s chagrin. But from there our story begins, as Sophie and Grace strike up a friendship based on the unique blends of scent in the shop, and Sophie meets James, the British photographer with awful French, keen eyes and a camera that captures that “je ne sais quoi’ in the photographs it takes.
Blending the story of Sophie’s fight to keep her firm alive with the moments of lightness and creation of scent for Grace Kelly, and their ongoing friendship is contrasted between her struggles with her alcoholic, verbally abusive and gambling mother and a ‘boyfriend’ who is constantly dismissive of her wants and desires, and conspires with her mother to sell up the shop, the factory in Grasse and her dreams. Contrast these moments with those of James, hired to be a paparazzi and hating every moment, he’s struggling with his own dreams, separation from his daughter and the attraction he finds to Sophie, despite her reluctance to share her heart. While Grace Kelly is the lynchpin to which these characters have come to interact, it is the descriptions and news clips from the days leading to the wedding, Sophie’s explanation of scent and memory capture, her doting on her father while trying to make her own name and line, and the bonds that she’s formed with James, Grace and her assistant Natalie.
Again this is a readable novel with moments that spark interest in every person who’s ever imagined a royal wedding, or wondered about the talent and dedication the creation of a scent take, all mixed with a bit of love, some hardships, sacrifices and plenty of memories. Scents, scenes and moments jump off the pages while the need to cheer Sophie on, wonder about Grace, and worry for everyone involved never ends. Engrossing and wholly encompassing, you’ll travel to the south of France, see Monaco and be transported to the fields in Grasse, wondering at the scents and pictures the words evoke. I adored this book for the ease with which the story unfolded, not without its challenges for the characters, but the sweet and bittersweet moments where love stood prominently and primary, even for only a short time.
Title: Meet Me in Monaco: A Novel of Grace Kelly’s Royal Wedding
Author: Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb
Genre: Biographic / autobiographic, Historic Elements, Historical Fiction, Setting: France
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 23 July, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 32 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.
James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.