Review by Terri Summey
The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly by Kerri Maher. Berkley, 2020. 978-0451492074. $26
“And just for the smallest of moments, …, she curled her lip in the faintest of smiles and believed the impossible was hers.” Before Meghan Markle, there was Grace Kelly. Taking on the impossible, from Hollywood “Ice Princess” to real-life royalty, Grace Kelly seems to be the true fairy-tale, happy-ever-after Cinderella story. Born to a middle-class family in Philadelphia, Grace Kelly had dreams of becoming a Broadway star. Thinking that this dream was within the realm of possibility, she fought her family and their ideal version of womanhood, which was marriage and children, to become one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. After a short-lived career spanning six years as an actress, on Broadway, in television, and motion pictures; Grace Kelly traded in her acting career to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco, becoming his “princess” and the mother of his children. Was leaving her Hollywood career and lifestyle behind worth it? Did Princess Grace find her happy-ever-after life as a princess? What was her life like, both in America and in Monaco?
Covering her adult life from 1949 until her death in 1982, this novel will provide you with a look into her life, her dreams, and even her heartbreaks and frustrations. As with most historical novels, Maher used historical events and information from the life of Princess Grace as the basis of her work. However, she also used the creative license of a writer to make some changes. Many of these creative changes are addressed in an author’s note at the end of the book. To understand her subject and get to know Princess Grace better, Maher traveled to Monaco. While there, she spoke with a cab driver about her project. His comment was, “we could not help but love her.” Through Maher’s writing, the spirit and personality of Princess Grace shines through and you will see why Hollywood and Monaca grew to love her.
There were a couple of reasons that I selected this book to review. Throughout my life, I heard about this amazing woman who when from Hollywood leading lady to Princess of Monaco and I remember the car accident that took her life. I was intrigued to learn more about the life of Princess Grace, even in a novelized format. With COVID-19 and the closure of the Emporia Public Library, I needed an alternative format and I found this e-book through Cloud Library to read on my iPad. I loved learning more about the life of Grace Kelly, both as a rising star in Hollywood and her decision to walk away to become the Princess of Monaco. As with other historical novels, Maher’s work has inspired me to learn more about Princess Grace through historical sources and to watch her movies. The book does not present the story of Princess Grace following a historical timeline, as it jumps around to different time periods in her life, which became a little confusing. For more information about Kerri Maher, check out her website at www.kerrimaher.com or an interview, youtu.be/6PXqnSyLzOw.