Publication date: February 2020
Review, short version: One skunk out of four.
Review, long version:
Is this a not-very-interesting novel about an interesting subject, or a not-very-interesting novel about a not-very-interesting subject?
The author is Kerri Maher, the book is The Girl in White Gloves, and the subject is film actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982).
And since Grace Kelly is the subject of more than 30 books, two biopics, and countless print and online articles – and the fascination with her continues to this day – I’m going with the former:
A not-very-interesting novel about an interesting subject.
Worse: Not only a not-very-interesting novel, Maher managed to make Grace Kelly boring.
Kelly was many things, some rather sad, but she was not boring.
Kelly was an A-List award-winning actress who began performing in 1950, and appeared in theatrical productions, more than 40 episodes of live TV drama productions, and 11 movies, one of which – The Country Girl in 1955 – earned her an Oscar.
She appeared in movies with some high-profile leading men: Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Ray Milland, Bing Crosby, Alec Guinness and William Holden.
She had a number of lovers – high-profile and otherwise – before marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 and becoming Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace. Their wedding was estimated to have been watched by over 30 million viewers on live television
She and Rainier raised three children, and she established herself as a gifted philanthropist and humanitarian, dedicating her public life to charities and fundraising.
Yet…somehow, Maher managed to make Kelly boring.
And make the book confusing. One problem I had was the time period switches: The book starts out in 1955 and jumps as follows: 1969, 1949, 1951, 1974, 1952, 1954, 1975, 1955, 1956, 1976, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1978, 1981, and then 1982 with Kelly’s death following a car crash.
I’ll admit I tend to be a linear person, but that has to be too many jumps for even the least linear.
Another issue I had was the author giving us a situation, but giving no reason for it. For example, Maher tells us that after their marriage, Rainier banned all of Grace’s movies in Monaco – yet she doesn’t tell us why.
Rainier’s initial attraction to Kelly was the fact that she was a movie star, and then he bans her movies?
I realize the book is a novel, not a biography, but I thought that, and other unanswered questions, left gaps that needed to be filled.
There are other novels out there about Grace Kelly, though I haven’t read them so can’t recommend them, but only for that reason.
I can’t recommend The Girl in White Gloves, either.
|Grace, glammed-down in “The Country Girl,” and glammed-up to collect the Oscar she won for it (with co-star William Holden).|