Updated: Aug 5, 2019
A delightfully sweet romance layered with historical fiction, life lessons, and difficult choices.
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!
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