From Goodreads: “Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamorous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.
James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.“
Well this was a lovely romantic story set around Grace Kelly’s wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco.
It was told from the perspectives of Sophie Duval, a struggling French perfumer based in Cannes, and James Henderson a British newspaper photographer on assignment to photograph the American actress at the world famous film festival. When Grace Kelly hides from James Henderson in Sophie’s shop, their three worlds collide in a rather delightful way.
I loved the setting of this book, well who wouldn’t enjoy spending time on the French Riviera even if it is only in a book? Being transported back to 1950s Cannes was just wonderful. Listening to the descriptions of Grace Kelly and the fragrances Sophie is working on made the book all the more enchanting.
Sophie was a lovely character who I liked all the way through, hoping that things would work out for her business and personal life. I couldn’t make up my mind about James. Sometimes I liked him, especially when his thoughts are full of his young daughter Emily, but I really didn’t like the way he behaved as a photo-journalist.
Although Grace Kelly is minor character in the book I really enjoyed when she appeared and interacted with the Sophie and James. I loved hearing about what she was wearing and how she mesmerized everyone she met including the paparazzi. At times the story took a darker turn, especially when she was hounded by the press. These parts really reminded me of the way the paparazzi treated Princess Diana, and it made for rather uncomfortable listening.
There were lots of heart warming moments throughout, but also some heart-stopping parts that had me gasping and groaning as events went in completely the opposite way to what I was expecting! Towards the end of the book I’d got so involved with Sophie and James’ lives that I was almost crossing my fingers that everything would work out for both of them.
I loved Nancy Peterson’s narration, especially her portrayal of Sophie, Natalie, Sophie’s assistant and Angeline West, the American reporter following Grace Kelly. Unfortunately I wasn’t so keen on Jeremy Arthur’s narration, as he British accent for James Henderson wasn’t quite right and it ended up really niggling me. His portrayal of the other characters was fine though and the story was so good that it didn’t ruin my listen.
Even though I struggled with some of the narration, I still recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction, especially in relation to Hollywood.