The Girl in the White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly. Kerri Maher. Penguin Publishing Group. February 2020. pb, 384pp.; ISBN #: 9780451492074.
“And someday you’ll realize that what you’ve got isn’t worth trading. I think I’m starting to see your point, she thought. I just hope it’s not too late.” Grace Kelly’s dream was to become a Broadway actress. Then she learned about the power of Hollywood. In the early stages of her career, her parents were not supportive. Criticism was the norm but Grace’s love of acting overcame the fiercest opposition from family and critics. Her physical appearance made her the white-gloved Cinderella model in acting. However, she possessed characteristics that called for grit to survive the rougher aspects of her chosen career.
Maher loosely depicts the love affairs Grace had in her rise to success – Don Richardson, Alfred Hitchcock, Oleg Cassini, Clark Gable and others – momentary flings that failed to satisfy that empty yearning she so frequently knew. What truly thrilled her was totally immersing her in someone else’s character. In a world where Grace takes pride in her independence and strength, where can she turn when others expect her to be meek and obedient?
The narrative plot of Grace’s life story cascades back and forth between her youth and her final years in Monaco as the wife of Prince Rainier. The reader will frequently question whether all the glitz and glamour are worth the sacrifices that were mandatory in the world of acting with its ever-present high expectations. It is fascinating to see the relationship she formed with directors, agents and producers in the trade.
At the same time one can sense her star-struck haze when she finally is awarded an Academy Award.
Overall, however, this account is a glitzy account of Grace Kelly’s life. Insecurity and a yearning for approval dominate most of her thoughts, feelings and relationships. Her marriage contract paralleled her demanding Hollywood contracts. Her marriage to Prince Rainier is ultimately disappointing and full of mainly the “image” royalty was bound to present to Monaco and global subjects. Her rise to the life of a Princess was costly indeed, including a diminishing role as a mother of lovely children whose father vied for the children’s attention and love.
Kerri Maher provides a realistic, stark portrayal of the life and times of Hollywood actors and actresses, Broadway shows, movies and their effect on the public audience who never stop craving more of stars’ “stage life.”
Fascinating historical fiction recommended as an intriguing and wonder-full read!