Gaynor, Hazel, and Heather Webb. Meet Me in Monaco. New York: William Morrow, 2019.
Paperback | $16.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062885364 | 358 pages | Historical Fiction
Meet Me in Monaco was one of my most anticipated books of the year, after ranking Gaynor and Webb’s previous collaboration, Last Christmas in Paris, as the best read of 2017 (and possibly one of the best of all time), and while I was unfortunately not brought to tears in any of the tense moments of uncertainty or when the inevitable moments of the characters grieving hit this time, I did find myself just as invested, devouring this one, once again, like Last Christmas, in a single afternoon.
Gaynor and Webb once again manage to recreate the historical atmosphere beautifully, transporting the reader this time to the media circus of Grace Kelly’s wedding to Prince Rainier. I was in awe of all the details and how public it all was, especially given that I knew only the bare-bones facts that attract the average person to her narrative, as the authors make note of in their historical note in the parallels between Grace and both Princess Diana and Meghan Markle. But, as the story is told through the eyes of fairly normal people, I love how it allows Grace’s personality to show through in a way that isn’t clouded by pretense, since both James and Sophie have such unique interactions with her, even while it is juxtaposed by the occasional headline from the self-professed Grace fangirl reporter.
Sophie and James’ relationship is compelling, and it’s beautiful to see how they went from meeting in a rather inauspicious way to falling in love. And while there are odds stacked against them, I could not help but root for them. And ultimately, while this is a romance with a happy ending, I like how it also allowed for character growth and acknowledgment of the problems keeping them apart, before Grace once again (in a way) brought them back together.
Ultimately, I finished this book satisfied, yet longing to know if Gaynor and Webb would release another collaboration, because there’s something about their work together that is just pure magic, and the best romantic historical fiction I’ve ever read. I heartily recommend this one to pretty much everyone, but especially historical fiction fans and lovers of royalty and Hollywood stories.