Stevie Carroll's Reviews > The Girl in White Gloves

The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher
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it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed-elsewhere

Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

I don’t know a lot about Grace Kelly/Princess Grace of Monaco, beyond a general vague awareness of her film career and her subsequent marriage into one of Europe’s more troubled royal families, with her attendant involvements in various charitable ventures. I did, however, enjoy Kerri Maher’s previous book – about Kick Kennedy – and so I decided this one would probably resonate even without my having much in the way of prior interest in her latest subject.

Growing up, Grace Kelly’s interest in the theatre was overshadowed by her siblings’ sporting achievements, of which her parents were immensely proud, while only her uncle gave her much in the way of encouragement towards Grace’s own ambitions. Grace is nothing if not determined, though, and manages to secure a place at acting school in New York, followed by a string of modelling jobs and acting roles that allow her to live independently, first in a women’s boarding house and then later in her own apartment. Grace’s work brings her into contact with a wide range of rich and powerful men, and she embarks on a string of affairs with mostly older, mostly divorced or divorcing beaus.

What little Grace’s parents learn of her life in New York does little to endear her career to them, and they thoroughly disapprove of the few men she brings home to meet them. Her uncle and his ‘friend’ are the only family members to support her, and Grace relies mostly on her fellow actors and the women she has met at various points in her journey for support. Just as Grace’s film career is beginning to take off, she meets Prince Rainier of Monaco, and the two begin to exchange letters. At last Grace has found a man of whom her parents approve; however, when the prince proposes, she finds that his love comes at the cost of her acting career.

Told in alternating but ultimately converging timelines, covering Grace’s life from when she moved to New York onwards and during the years after she has become disillusioned with her marriage, this book gives a complete, if fictionalised, biography of a fascinating, if flawed, woman and provides plenty of opportunities for readers to understand how those flaws arose and to sympathise with Grace’s dilemmas and her attempts to re-imagine her place in the world. I particularly liked Grace’s attempts to be a better mother to her daughters than she felt her own had been to her, even as she comes to realise just how some of her own actions must have caused pain to her parents.

All in all, a most excellent read and I’m very much looking forward to the author’s next book, the subject of which was mentioned in passing in the course of this one.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 23, 2020 – Shelved
February 23, 2020 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere
February 23, 2020 – Finished Reading

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