Cristina Reads Too Much: Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Getting around to reading a book (other than a textbook) can be tough in college, we know this.  When you’re cramming in between classes, Her Campus Lasell’s got you covered.  

Introducing Cristina Reads Too Much, a weekly segment where we break down and spill the tea about the best books RN and give our honest reviews and ratings. 

The Rundown:

Meet Me in Monaco tells of a fictional romance set on the backdrop of American actress Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance.  The story starts in France in 1955 when perfumer Sophie Duval crosses paths with a frazzled Grace Kelly trying to escape a persistent paparazzo from the Cannes Film Festival.  Sophie allows Grace to take shelter in her perfume shop, and the two women find lifelong friends in each other. Their friendship sets off a series of events that would define the next thirty years of their lives.  James Henderson, the British press photographer from whom Sophie shielded Grace, cannot get Sophie off of his mind after their brief if less than ideal, encounter. It isn’t long before Grace announces her engagement to Prince Rainier of Monaco after their whirlwind romance, and James jumps at the opportunity to cover the “wedding of the century”.  Feeling guilty at the idea of leaving his young daughter behind but unable to resist a good story, James travels with Grace’s wedding party to Monaco and once again crosses paths with Sophie. Initially, Sophie struggles to get over their unfortunate first meeting but eventually puts the disaster behind her as she comes to know James as a person. James and Sophie meet several times while in Monaco, and end up developing feelings for each other in the process.  As the wedding madness dies down, they return back to their separate lives in England and France, but both Sophie and James hold out hope that they will see each other again. Over the next few decades, their narratives intertwine in ways that they never thought possible, and Sophie and James--like Grace Kelly--must ask themselves what they’re willing to give up in the name of love.

My thoughts:

Utterly charming and atmospheric, I hung onto every word of Meet Me in Monaco.  I love the idea of spinning a fictional romance from a true story and the perspective that it provided on Grace Kelly and her royal wedding madness.  This book has lots of fun history, and Gaynor and Webb nicely capture the glamour of the 1950s in their writing. If you’re looking for a palate cleanser that isn’t too superficial, if you’re a classic Hollywood fan, or simply someone who appreciates a delightful love story, you’ll love to Meet Me in Monaco. 

My rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Favorite quote:

“I hope she knew what she meant to me, the difference she made”