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Meet Me in Monaco: A Novel by Hazel Gaynor
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Meet Me in Monaco: A Novel

by Hazel Gaynor

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Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “Meet Me in Monaco” by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, William Morrow Publishing, July 2019

Kudos to Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, Authors of “Meet Me in Monaco” for writing such a beautiful, romantic, breathtaking and elegant story about Royalty, Love, Dreams, and second chances. I love the way the characters and landscape are vividly described in this novel. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, and Romance. The authors describe their dramatic characters as creative, down to earth, complicated and complex. The timelines for this story are the 1950’s and 1980’s.

The American Actress Grace Kelly was always in the public eye. The Public loved her and the Press hounded her. Grace Kelly’s life became more complicated when she met, got engaged and married the Prince of Monaco. Can you imagine an actress becoming a princess? Actually, the truth can be stranger than fiction, as we just saw another actress give up her career to become married to royalty. Now the paparazzi was in a frenzy. To escape a reporter, Grace Kelly steps into a small perfume shop, and the owner Sophie Duval, hides her. The photographer, James Henderson steps into the shop and inquires if the actress is there. Of course, Sophie protects Grace Kelly, making a friend. The photographer leaves with Sofie’s business card.

James Henderson is assigned as one of the photographers taking pictures at the wedding. Sophie is invited to the wedding, for making Grace a signature perfume. Somehow, love is in the air, and there is an attraction between the two of them.

Both James and Sophie have major problems and complications in their lives. Is there a possibility that love can conquer all? There are tragedy and betrayals and problems. I would highly recommend this beautiful and emotional novel. There are some Kleenex moments. Happy Reading! ( )
  teachlz | Jul 13, 2019 |
I very much wanted to like the intertwined love stories of Grace Kelly and Sophie Duval. The book reminded me in a small way of the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts romantic comedy Notting Hill. Same type of misunderstandings and red herrings , evading the press, trying to snatch moments here and there in a new relationship while the pressures of life and family threaten to ruin everything.

So, on the one hand, it's a fair book filled with nice ideas and a bit of historical detail. Just a bit, though, and that's what ruined it for me. Two authors unable to pull my imagination firmly into the world they created and keep it there through skilled descriptions. For all I knew, Monaco could've been the coast of California. Or Oregon. The magic simply didn't exist for me in the telling. ( )
  JenniferArr | Jul 1, 2019 |
As I sit back and sigh contentedly over this lovely read, the words that come to mind are…enchanting, romantic, tantalizing, glamorous. This is one of the most satisfying reads I have had in a while.

Before Meghan Markle’s wedding there was the wedding of Grace Kelly to the Prince of Monaco. Through Gaynor and Webb’s exquisite descriptions of the vistas, the clothing, and the scents I felt like I was part of the story. The book also has several very memorable quotations. More a love story than historical fiction, it should please readers of both genres.

I love how the story follows the notes of a perfume. Part One: the Head notes – “The initial impression of a perfume; the notes that greet the nose immediately and evaporate quickly.” Part Two: the Heart notes – “The main body or heart of the parfum; scents that emerge in the middle of the dispersion process. Part Three: the Base notes – “Notes that assert themselves when the others have evaporated; scents that diffuse slowly, with respect to time. The notes that linger the longest”.

Romance…friendship…chance meetings. A chance meeting of James, Sophie, and Grace set this whole story into action. I loved both James and Sophie and wanted them to find happiness…preferably together. Difficult choices. Regrets – “We thought we had it all the time in the world. What fools we were.”

Thank you to Tall Poppies and Edelweiss for an advance reading copy of this book. Opinions expressed here are my own. ( )
  BettyTaylor56 | Jun 26, 2019 |
Meet Me in Monaco

A delightfully sweet romance layered with historical fiction, life lessons, and difficult choices.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SUMMARY
The beautiful actress Grace Kelly is visiting the Cannes Film Festival in May 1955 where she is relentlessly pursued by a British photographer. Kelly enters a perfume shop where she is tucked away in an office by the shop’s owner, Sophie Duval just as the pursuing photographer enters the shop. Because of this act of kindness the two women form a bond that lasts a lifetime.

Sophie, a struggling perfumer, confronts the photographer, James Henderson and sends him on his way, but before he leaves he snaps a quick photo of the shop owner. In the days and weeks that follow, James can’t seem to forget his encounter with Sophia. He sends her a copy of the photo. After dealing with the death of a good friend, James is given the coveted assignment to cover the wedding of the century, and sail with Grace Kelly’s wedding party to Monaco. Before sailing to Monaco he sends a letter to Sophia requesting a date. Perhaps a romance will bloom!

REVIEW
MEET ME IN MONACO smells as delightful as the Duval parfumerie in Cannes. You can just smell the scents of jasmine, violets, lavender and tuberose wafting from the shop’s beautiful glass bottles, on the streets of Cannes and from the fields of Grasse, where Sophie’s family has grown their flowers for generations. I couldn’t stop myself from inhaling the pages.

Sophie’s character is smart, confident and independent, while James is an enigma, surprisingly sensitive at times and aloof at others. Grace Kelly’s meeting and marriage to Prince Rainer, and her interactions with James and Sophie are expertly woven into this cleverly layered fairy tale/romance. The writing was enjoyable and the story was full of life lessons, difficult choices and enlightening information about the creation of fragrances, and head, heart and base notes of perfumes.

One of my favorite parts of the book is James’s evident love and dedication to his ten-year-old precocious daughter, Emily. This pleasurable book would pair well with a glass of wine, a cheese tray and a lavender scented candle. Readers of romance will enjoy this light and bright story.

Thanks to Edelweiss for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher HarperCollins Publishing
Published July 23, 2019
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Jun 10, 2019 |
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"A fragrant French bonbon of a book: love, glamour, perfume, and paparazzi all circling around the wedding of the century..."--Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS. Named one of Popsugar's best books to put in your beachbag this summer and one of the best books of July! Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly's whirlwind romance and unforgettable 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 to fend 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.… (more)

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