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The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly

Review

The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly

Historical fiction fans will enjoy this new novel about Grace Kelly. Toggling between various time periods, Kerri Maher traces the highlights of Grace’s life from her upbringing in Philadelphia through her acting career, and then ultimately her marriage to Prince Rainier and her transformation to Princess of Monaco.

Grace Kelly’s early years left indelible marks on her that seemed to impact the decisions she made throughout her life, particularly in the personal arena. Undervalued and underappreciated by her family, Grace frequently waged an internal battle over whether to pursue her own happiness or to seek her parents’ often unattainable approval. As a result, she made choices and became involved in relationships that were unhealthy or not usually in her best interest.

"Maher humanizes [Grace Kelly] and provides a glimpse into a world that looks far different from what the media portrayed it to be when she was alive."

While Grace Kelly’s name is familiar to many people as the American who became the Princess of Monaco, the path of her career and her success as an actress is not as well-known today. Maher delineates her road to Hollywood, which included a Broadway show and live action television. THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES provides fascinating details about the filming and release of her most successful movies: High Noon and three Hitchcock pictures: Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. These portions of the book stand out and emphasize how much Grace sacrificed when she married Prince Rainier.

The two wrote letters back and forth for months, but had not spent significant time in each other’s company when he proposed. Moreover, they did not fully discuss certain aspects of their life, such as her acting career. After accepting his proposal, Grace learned that a $2 million dowry was expected to be paid to the principality, she had to submit to an invasive test to make sure she was not barren, and in the event of divorce their children would not leave Monaco. Had Grace paid closer attention to the reservations she held about the way this information was imparted, she might have saved herself a lot of heartache. Instead, she and her father each paid a million dollars to Monaco, and the wedding went forward.

Maher’s novel moves back and forth in time, frequently landing in years when something important happened in Grace’s life. The time period shift can be a bit confusing, and readers occasionally may need a few paragraphs to become reoriented when a new year is introduced.

The book shines a light on the myth that Grace Kelly lived a fairytale life as Princess of Monaco. Society and the media focus on the storybook aspects of these types of tales that involve marrying into royalty for women such as Grace Kelly, Lady Diana and even Kate Middleton without including what real life is like in these roles. While the glamorous aspects receive all of the attention, Maher emphasizes what Grace sacrificed and how lonely such a life can actually be.

THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES is ultimately a story about the actual Grace Kelly versus the individual presented to the world --- her sacrifices, her inability to find the love she so craved, and her sadness at never being able to act again. Maher humanizes her and provides a glimpse into a world that looks far different from what the media portrayed it to be when she was alive.

Reviewed by Cindy Burnett on February 28, 2020

The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly
by Kerri Maher

  • Publication Date: February 25, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 0451492072
  • ISBN-13: 9780451492074