The Girl in White Gloves: Book summary and reviews of The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher

The Girl in White Gloves

A Novel of Grace Kelly

by Kerri Maher

The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher X
The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher
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About this book

Book Summary

"Kerri Maher brings an icon to life in this fascinating, deeply researched novel of the extraordinary Grace Kelly."
--Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Golden Hour

A life in snapshots. Grace knows what people see. She's the Cinderella story. An icon of glamor and elegance frozen in dazzling Technicolor. The picture of perfection. The girl in white gloves. A woman in living color…

But behind the lens, beyond the panoramic views of glistening Mediterranean azure, she knows the truth. The sacrifices it takes for an unappreciated girl from Philadelphia to defy her family and become the reigning queen of the screen. The heartbreaking reasons she trades Hollywood for a crown. The loneliness of being a princess in a fairy tale kingdom that is all too real.

Hardest of all for her adoring fans and loyal subjects to comprehend, is the harsh reality that to be the most envied woman in the world does not mean she is the happiest. Starved for affection and purpose, facing a labyrinth of romantic and social expectations with more twists and turns than Monaco's infamous winding roads, Grace must find her own way to fulfillment. But what she risks--her art, her family, her marriage—she may never get back.

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Media Reviews

"[T]his will be a good choice for readers curious about the inner life of a royal. It's an absorbing take on a complicated life." - Library Journal

"This is great historical fiction and great character development. The reader ends up feeling slightly sorry for Grace, as they learn that she spent her whole life chasing approval from the men in her life, and seldom achieving it. The glamorous life has its drawbacks. Maher depicts this, and she manages to humanize the icon of Grace Kelly without turning soppy. Highly recommended." - The Historical Novel Society

"There is much to relish about this well-researched, riveting tale." - Booklist

"An interesting take on the life of America's favorite actress … For readers who like The Girls in the Picture and A Touch of Stardust." - A Library Reads Pick for February 2020

"Maher beautifully envisions the reality of [Kelly's] fairy-tale life. This deeply researched novel is perfect for fans of Grace Kelly, royal-watchers, and fans of biographical fiction alike." - PopSugar, 22 of the Best Books Winter Has to Offer

"The stunning and very human story of a beloved icon…. Full of nuance and poignancy—this novel is gorgeous." - Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Queen's Fortune

"[A] fascinating, deeply researched novel of the extraordinary Grace Kelly … establishes Maher as a true force in biographical fiction." - Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Golden Hour

"A captivating look behind the scenes at the life of the iconic Grace Kelly… as she searches for authenticity in a world clamoring instead for a picture-perfect princess." - Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room

"Daring and deep. Maher successfully lifts the curtain of mystery that surrounded a princess and a movie star, revealing a headstrong, complex woman with a riveting story to tell." - Fiona Davis, National bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls

"The Girl in White Gloves offers a tantalizing, behind-the-scenes look at Grace Kelly's life. An absolute treat – I loved it!" - Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter "The Girl in White Gloves is a captivating novel of love, family, and the cost of regret. I devoured it one sitting!" - Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling coauthor of Meet Me in Monaco

"Elegant and engrossing journey of transformation, complete with familial tension, betrayal, and redemption." - Elise Hooper, author of The Other Alcott

"In this moving, bittersweet, and deeply honest novel, the real woman behind the myth that is Grace Kelly—glamorous movie star and fairy-tale princess - comes to full-throated life. We are held spellbound by her artistry, desire, thwarted dreams, and indefatigable will." - Sarah-Jane Stratford, Author of Red Letter Days

This information about The Girl in White Gloves shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Different and enjoyable
As a member of the Grace Kelly generation, and familiar with the atmosphere of the world at the times addressed in this book, I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh perspective on this elegant woman’s life. Wish many of our famous folks today had the class and manners to keep their travails private. A readable book for all types of book enthusiasts.

Shannon L. (Portland, OR)

It's tough to be a Princess!
Grace Kelly was the world's Cinderella story. She was elegant and glamorous. She was the picture of perfection. Growing up in the 1950s, she was the princess all little girls wanted to be. According to Kerri Maher's new novel, The Girl in White Gloves, Grace Kelly's life was anything but princess-like. It was more like Megan Markle's, the duchess of Sussex, 2019 reality show.

Growing up in a rich neighborhood, Grace Kelley had a lot of expectations from her family and the Hollywood screen crowd. She had it all materialistically but, sadly, she was not happy and she was willing to leave it all behind to marry and live in a world of royalty. Like any great piece of historical fiction, this was the perfect set up for a very simple story: The unappreciated girl from Philadelphia sacrifices everything close to her just to defy her family.

As a young girl, Kelly spent her time chasing after dreams and the approval of those she cared about. Unfortunately, her family, and most importantly, her father, didn't approve of her ambition to be a Broadway star. Still, she was determined to have it all. This was where the lines between fact and fairytale began to blur. She traded Hollywood for a script-worthy crown and the loneliness of being a princess in a fairy tale kingdom. Her fans and loyal subjects couldn't grasp the harsh reality that the most envied woman in the world was not happy. She was starved for affection and purpose. Social expectations came with more twists and turns than Monaco's infamous winding roads and Grace was forced to find her own way. Each step required that she risk her art, her family and her marriage. The threat was that she could lose them all.

The Girl in White Gloves goes back and forth between Kelley's struggle to make a life for herself, first in the theater and Hollywood and then in a palace in Monaco. The story is moving and bittersweet. Maher turns her extensive research into a compulsively readable portrait of a woman hungry to find her place in the world.    

The Girl in White Gloves is richly imagined and full of historical detail. Maher explores broader themes of challenging expectations and finding one's voice that set this book apart. The reader gets a genuine reflection of the times in which Kelley lived and Hollywood as it existed in the 50's and 60's. In many places it is a page-turner, full of joy and heartbreak. Who doesn't want to be a princess swept up by her prince charming? And, at what cost does being a princess come when you are already famous, an independent, strong Hollywood sweetheart who does what she wants? Can "Princess Grace" become as meek and subservient as will be expected? 
Although Maher took some liberties with the story, the book feels right. She acknowledges that she has speculated about many aspects of Grace's life and adjusted the timelines. Maher also reminds readers that The Girl in White Gloves is not a biography but a novel with fictionalized characters and thoughts to help tell the story.

Anyone who loves the glamour of classic movies will love The Girl in White Gloves. Kerri Maher transforms Grace Kelly from a legendary screen idol into a real and relatable woman. I was captivated by Kelley's struggle for personal and professional acceptance, and her search for balance between ambition and family. I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into the life of Grace Kelly. Maher hold us spellbound with Princess Grace's desire and indefatigable will. It is intimate and is written in such a way that you actually feel as if you're spying on this icon.

I thank BookBrowse for the Advanced Reader's Copy. I learned a lot about Grace's life and the fascinating era that belonged to Hollywood. I enjoyed Maher's descriptions of life in Monaco and romanticizing about those who marry into royalty. Maher has imbued Kelley with grace, passion and strength. We can imagine Kelley's journey, her deepest thoughts, and her efforts to find a purpose beyond her royal duties. We recognize the constraints and expectations blocking her road to a happy, fulfilled life and how similar they seem to today's British monarchy and its 21st century princesses.

Even after all these years have passed, Grace Kelly's life still remains a source of interest, curiosity, and speculation among those of us from a certain generation. Younger readers will read The Girl in White Gloves and learn of the American's princess' story for the first time.  

Kerri Maher's admirable novel has certainly piqued my interest and I have decided to do my own "research." I think it is time for me to watch every movie referenced in the story and make up my own story about the real life of Grace Kelly.

Lloyde N. (Olympia, WA)

Grace Kelly - American Expat - A woman of style and substance
The well worn phrase "there's two sides to every story" is evident in this new book about Grace Kelly. An American princess in her own right, Grace is forced to make tough decisions her entire adult life. She was the epitome of style and grace, but there were sides to her that are drawn in this book that will intrigue readers wishing to learn more about her. A wonderful read, a book to enjoy.

Barbara C. (Fountain Hills, AZ)

The Ice Queen in White Gloves
The Girl In White Gloves is the story of an icon, Grace Kelly. She has been idolized by movie-goers for years. Her face and name instantly recognizable. But the back-story of her life tells a different story than the perfect "ice queen" happy-ever-after. This book brings her life into sharp detail, from her privileged upbringing with a controlling and critical father, to her early unrequited desire for a stage career, through her many affairs, and finally to her seemingly unhappy marriage as Princess of Monaco. As an author of an historical fiction book, May has researched extensively, and included many interesting, little known facts about Kelly. But, of course, the "fiction" portion of the book - the details of her love affairs, and the long correspondence with Ranier - are conjured from imagination, and probably make the most interesting portion of the book. The impression of Kelly I came away with is that she was an exceptionally beautiful, passionate, self absorbed woman Her many love affairs were superficial, and she never really found "true love". Her marriage to Ranier confirmed the fact that she finally became the "princess" she thought she was but the regal life was not enough for her. I really enjoyed reading the book, and, in fact, in conjunction with reading it, decided to watch all of Grace Kelly's available films.

Sheila S. (Supply, NC)

The Girl in White Gloves
I thoroughly enjoyed this well researched book about Grace Kelly. It encompasses her story from the time she left Philadelphia at the age of 17 to enter the Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC to her death at the age of 52 when she suffered a stroke while driving on a mountain road in Monaco. During this time she went from being an Academy Award winning actress to the beloved Princess Grace of Monaco. I particularly liked the descriptions of her time spent in the heyday of glamorous Hollywood co-starring with the most famous actors of that time. The insights into her Kelly family relationships were fascinating as were those of her marriage to Rainier. I liked the author's use of flashbacks and thought that this was a well written book. I will certainly recommend it to friends.

Betsy R. (Gig Harbor, WA)

Girl in White Gloves
Grace Kelly was famous a little before my time, so I knew next to nothing about her life other than she was a movie star who married a prince. This novel, based on fact, was a riveting glimpse into both her triumphs and her trials. The author did an outstanding job of shifting between time periods; the book unfolded well as a novel. I enjoyed it a great deal and will recommend it highly!

...15 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Kerri Maher Author Biography

Kerri Maher is the author of The Girl in White Gloves, The Kennedy Debutante, and, under the name Kerri Majors, This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and was a writing professor for many years. She now writes full-time and lives with her daughter and dog in a leafy suburb west of Boston, Massachusetts.

Link to Kerri Maher's Website

Name Pronunciation
Kerri Maher: MAY-er

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