Mini-Review — Meet Me in Monaco

19 Jul

This month my book club read Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. It reminded me a lot of The Gown, which we read last year, in that the book’s foundation is the marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. Like The Gown, the novel focuses on fictional characters on the periphery of the wedding — Sophie, a French perfumer chosen to create a bespoke fragrance for Grace Kelly and James, a British photographer charged with capturing an iconic image of the movie star and her prince. This novel is a lighter read with a slow-building romance and not as many dark elements. But there were themes to talk about — the emerging independence of women in the 1950s and the importance of preserving family legacies. I liked the main characters a lot, and Grace Kelly’s appearances added much to the narrative. The settings of southern France and Monaco are beautifully depicted, and our group was unanimous in wanting to travel there! I was starting to get mad at the authors very close to the end of the book, but they redeemed themselves. 😉

If you are a fan of The Gown, Grace Kelly and/or her movies, or just like a well-written historical romance, then check out Meet Me in Monaco. Please note: this is a general market offering and there are some adult situations. However, the book is overall a clean read.


Audience: Adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions are mine alone.)

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.

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today, Globe and Mail and Irish Times bestselling historical novelist. Her debut novel, THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, was awarded the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year, and her novels have since been shortlisted for the 2016 and 2020 Irish Book Awards, the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award, the 2020 RNA Historical Novel of the Year and the 2021 Grand Prix du Roman Historique. Her latest novel, WHEN WE WERE YOUNG & BRAVE/THE BIRD IN THE BAMBOO CAGE was a national bestseller in the USA. Hazel’s co-written novels with Heather Webb have all been published to critical acclaim, winning and being shortlisted for several international awards. Hazel was selected as a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors. She is published in twenty-five territories and her books have been translated into eighteen languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, she now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children and is represented by Michelle Brower of Trellis Literary Management, USA.

Heather Webb is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction. In 2015, Rodin’sLover was a Goodread’s Top Pick, and in 2018, Last Christmas in Paris won the Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR Award. In 2019, Meet Me in Monaco was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Goldsboro RNA award in the UK, as well as the Digital Book World’s Fiction prize. To date, Heather’s books have been translated to fifteen languages. Up and coming, her next solo novel, THE NEXT SHIP HOME, is inspired by true events and reveals the dark secrets of Ellis Island as two unlikely friends challenge a corrupt system, altering their fate and the lives of the immigrants that come after them.

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