I’ve read every book about Grace Kelly that has come out in the last 35 years and have seen at least a dozen documentaries. Grace Kelly is my favorite “Old Hollywood” actress; her three Hitchcock films are some of my all-time favorite movies. My oldest daughter’s middle name is Grace, and coincidentally, my youngest daughter shares her birthday; it is safe to say I know the subject well. I was curious about this fictionalized account of her life.
For the most part, I think Maher did an admirable job with The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly considering there is little first hand material to work with. She didn’t shy away from Grace’s penchant for older, married men, but she even admitted in the author’s notes that she had to decide which relationships she was going to portray if she was going to cover thirty years of Grace’s life. So she left out some relationships to help the flow of the book.
At times Grace is wildly independent, but much of the story has her portrayed as sort of a doormat. From everything I’ve read about Princess Grace, she was that way. She defied her parents’ expectations of her and insisted on going to New York to study acting. Grace defied the studio by refusing to do a film and was promptly suspended. Yet deep at heart, Grace was a conservative lady who was raised to marry some nice, hopefully wealthy, man and have kids. She managed to do that in spades.
Yet the fairy tale ending wasn’t quite what Grace expected. Prince Ranier was difficult to live with, Grace missed her friends and family, and just as importantly, her work. Having children helped fill the void, and Grace became involved in many charities to give her life more purpose.
There was one thing that I don’t think was portrayed in the book well. By all accounts, Grace Kelly had a great sense of humor. That was one thing I found sadly lacking in this portrayal.
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