Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous 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, fending 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.
If you think I’ve been on a historical fiction binge lately, you’re right. I have.
But, guys. There have been so many good ones these past couple of months! And this one is no exception to that! I ADORED it!!!
It’s a love story wrapped up in Grace Kelly’s own story but yet completely separate from her and you just want to cheer on the two protagonists.
It’s a sweet love story that really makes Grace Kelly’s involvement quite serendipitous in it.
James is a brilliant ‘male lead’ and you really love how big his heart is, how much he cares for his friend, for Sophia, and most importantly, for his daughter. Honestly, that type of fatherly love is not seen enough in novels whether they’re historical or not and so this was a very important point for me.
There’s this collision of cultures as well, our French countryside where Sophie hides away to make her perfume scents, James and his ‘grittier’ London, the Hollywood life style and the royalty of Monaco. All of it is just spun together in this excellent tale of perfume, glamour, and love.
It didn’t hurt that to begin with I’m a pretty big Grace Kelly fan, but it really was Sophie and James who won me over. Sophie is such an intriguing character, her love of perfumes comes from her Father but yet she is a genius in her own way and what’s more is that when she finally breaks free of things holding her back it is such a satisfying moment for you as the reader.
It was the same when James decided to change his fate, to do something to make him happy.
Also the way this love story ended may or may not have made me teary eyed. ‘It was perfect, and really I’ve had such a great time reading this that I’ve been raving it about it to my sister and mom, I’m hoping they’ll get the point and read it themselves.
This is such a great novel and it wasn’t too heavy, it’s set in such a great period too so even if you’re not a fan of historical fiction, if you love, well, love and beauty, you’ll probably like this too.
Four cups of coffee from me!
Thank you to Jessie @ Harper 360 for a copy of this to read in exchange for my honest review as part of the blog tour.
About the Authors
Hazel Gaynor is the acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published THE COTTINGLEY SECRET and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s most recent novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller. Her latest novel MEET ME IN MONACO (co-written with Heather Webb) will be published in July 2019.
Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. She is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative Management, New York.
When Josephine Bonaparte appeared to Heather in a dream, she switched gears from fun-loving high school teacher to author & history nerd on the prowl for fascinating stories.
To date, her historical novels have sold in multiple countries worldwide, received national starred reviews, and have been featured in print media including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, and more. In addition, LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS was a Globe & Mail bestseller in 2017, and in 2015, RODIN’S LOVER was chosen as a Goodread’s Pick.
Next up? She had so much fun writing Last Christmas in Paris with her co-author Hazel Gaynor that she decided to do it again! Their novel, MEET ME IN MONACO, set to the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s wedding, will release in the summer of 2019 from HarperCollins.
When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills, geeks out on pop culture and history, or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world, (especially her beloved France). She loves to chitchat on Twitter with new reader friends or writers (@msheatherwebb) or via her Facebook page. Stop on by!
The Rest of the Tour