The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly
In her second venture into historical fiction, after documenting Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy and her debutante days in London, author Kerri Maher turns her attention to another American woman who moved to Europe: the iconic Grace Kelly. Maher describes Kelly’s life before and after her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco. This in-depth exposé helps the reader to understand why a successful actress would give up her career and move to a small country overseas to become a wife and mother, albeit for a prince.
The story moves back and forth between Grace’s time trying to make it as an actress on Broadway and later trying to live up the expectations of a Monegasque princess. Maher does an excellent job of showing how hard Grace had to work, while not always being successful. Maher draws the curtain on what royal life is really like, and how lonesome it can be to be an icon. She also divulges interesting facts about Grace’s love life before marrying the prince, and how surprisingly modern her attitude was, even at that time. Famous historical characters such as Oleg Cassini (to whom Grace almost got engaged), Edith Head, and Alfred Hitchcock all make appearances in the book.
This is great historical fiction and great character development. The reader ends up feeling slightly sorry for Grace, as they learn that she spent her whole life chasing approval from the men in her life, and seldom achieving it. The glamorous life has its drawbacks. Maher depicts this, and she manages to humanize the icon of Grace Kelly without turning soppy. Highly recommended.