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Meet Me in Monaco - Book Review

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, reviewed by Dale Rutherford

William Morrow, 2019. Available from Chapters (here) or from your local independent book store (here). This book was a Christmas gift from my sister, who had already read it, loved it and thought I would too. She was right. Beautiful in its simplicity, Meet Me in Monaco, is a light read, full of everything you want in a January curl-up-on-the-couch read. I was captivated from the first page to the last, loved the main characters, Sophie and James, and even the “baddies” Lucien and Mrs. Duval played their parts well. Due to their respective involvement in the courtship and eventual marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, Sophie Duval and James Henderson meet by chance and a friendship begins. Sophie is the owner of Duval, a small perfume company based in Grasse, France with a shop in Cannes. I loved both of these settings and found this an interesting background for her side of the story. I was immediately sympathetic to her desire to continue her family’s business in the tried and true methods of old, to see it come back to life and to save it from uncertain times. There were wonderful themes here that the authors explored; of memories evoked by scents and creating fragrances as individual as the wearer, and eventually the need to move forward out of the past. Sophie’s relationships with her mother and Lucian also gave me reason to cheer her on. As an amateur shutterbug myself, I sympathized with the photographer in James who would much rather have photographed sunsets and beautiful landscapes than find himself amid the thousands of press people chasing Grace Kelly’s every movement. However, in his need to capture just the right shot for his paper, he meets Sophie, something sunsets and landscapes would never have given him. Naturally, they fall in love and of course we want them to be together, but there are problems, people and things that stand in their way. James has a ten-year-old daughter, at home in London, England. Sophie has Lucian and a meddling mother. And Grace has Prince Rainier of Monaco. Meet Me in Monaco is well written with realistic characters, flowing and beautifully descriptive narrative, creative and genuine dialogue and wonderfully vivid settings. Much like Grace Kelly is portrayed in this novel, Meet Me in Monaco is charming and quite simply, beautiful.

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