Meet me in Monaco 5th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon

For the Grace Kelly Blogathon this year, I wanted to do something a bit special and review a recently published novel involving her called Meet me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.

Meet Me In Monaco

I was a bit skeptical about reading the book, as I didn’t particularly enjoy Ms. Gaynor’s novel, The Girl from the Savoy but there was something that magnetized me into reading this novel: The presence of Grace Kelly.

Meet me in Monaco is set against the 1950s French Riviera. Our main character Sophie is a perfumer who learned the trade from her beloved, but deceased father, while the leading man is James (Jim) Henderson, a British photographer who is re-adjusting to life after WWII. It’s a chance first meeting for Sophie and James when Grace Kelly hides in Sophie’s shop trying to evade the paparazzi- and it sets off a chain of events that connect these three characters for over 30 years. 

The narrative in the book begins during the 1955 Cannes Film Festival with the main portion taking place during 1956 with Grace’s courtship and wedding to Prince Rainier. Grace fans are in for a real treat as several things are mentioned that her fans will get a kick out of: her dog Oliver (a gift from Mr Cary Grant!), her taste in French perfume, the first meeting of Rainier, and even the voyage to Monaco. However, readers will also come to love the fictional characters in this novel that really drive the romance plot. James to me, in my view of fictional characters, is the dream guy- a British photographer who’s a romantic at heart. He’s a WWII vet and there’s a bit of a backstory with that along with his ex-wife, Marjorie, and his daughter whom he adores (Her name is Emily- so personally, that was awesome). Sophie was also a likable character and someone you can identify with; I just wish she would have been more courageous at making some business decisions. However, what I enjoyed most about her was that she always kept her father’s memory alive- it was sweet that whenever she was down, she always remembered his advice.

What makes this book believable is the focus is not on Grace Kelly. We are not getting the inside details of her voyage to Monaco or her wedding plans, rather we are hearing about it through the perspective of the main characters. This style of writing makes Grace’s presence very real. Because she only pops up in person about 4 times, the reader becomes just as excited to see her as James and Sophie do. Its really fun too because there are some passages that appear in letter or telegram style. There’s even a few magazine and newpaper sections written in the book, and that makes it really authentic.

SLIGHT SPOILER: The one problem I have with the novel is the 26 year time jump. There are so many questions that never get answered because of this, and it makes the ultimate ending feel short changed.

Meet me in Monaco was given a bunch of accolades this year with a reviewer calling it a “French bon-bon of a book”. I can’t say I argue and even if your not into “lite” historical fiction books, you can appreciate the Grace Kelly connection. It’s  a very breezy read and just an overall cute book!

Click here to go to the Author’s website and learn more about the book!

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Be sure to check out my co-hosts pages of Day 2 and Day 3 and check out Day 1 of the Grace Kelly Blogathon! I want to thank Ginnie for hosting and coming up with this marvelous event! I am always happy to be invited to co-host with you! To Samantha- It was so fun joining you this year for this event! I love being part of this with you two fabulous ladies and I say it every year, but I truly believe Grace Kelly would be flattered with all of the love!!

And to all my readers and fellow writers- Thanks again so much for participating. Without the audience there is no reason for me to write- you all keep me going!!!

DAY 1: The 5th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Grace fans of all ages: The 5th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon is kicking off today! I hope you are all ready for three days of Amazing Grace as we celebrate this lady who although had a short life, left a lifelong influence in Hollywood, Monaco, and the World!

Remember I am hosting Day 1 (Nov 10) while Ginnie and Samantha are hosting the other days of Nov 11 and 12 but feel free to submit to any one of us across the three days and we will be sure your entry gets posted!

Let the Grace admiration begin!!

CHECK OUT DAY 2 HERE and DAY 3 HERE

ENTRIES

Maddie Loves her Classic Films tells us the 5 essential Grace movies YOU need to watch

Down these Mean Streets explains her take on Rear Window

The Stop Button on The Bridgest at Toko-Ri

Popcorn and Flickers discusses Grace: Icon vs the Actor

The Classic Movie Muse enlightens us on Grace’s secret hideaway

Thoughts all Sorts explaining her love for Rear Window

MORE TO COME!!!!

Grace Kelly at 90: 5th Annual Blogathon

The year 1929 was a stand out year in world history. Prohibition was still on, flappers were dancing, and silent movies were waning as talkies were rising. Not only was it the end to a roaring decade, it also saw the birth of some of the most prominent woman in the world: Audrey Hepburn, the future Jacqueline Kennedy, and of course the dazzling actress-turned- princess, Grace Kelly.

This year Grace would have been 90 years old, and one has to wonder: what would she be like today? Its hard to think of Grace being, “an old lady”, as of course she would have still been a serene woman. But I think being a doting grandmother; and now, great-grandmother would have been most important to her.

To celebrate Grace’s 90th birthday: Ginnie (The Wonderful World of Cinema), Samantha (Musings of a Classic Film Addict) and I (Emily; The Flapper Dame) have decided to bring back the Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon for its fifth year.
The rules and guidelines are the same as last year, but here they are again as a refresher:

– You can write about any topic relating to Grace- her movies, Hollywood relations/ friendships, collaborations with Hitchcock and Edith Head, her time as Princess of Monaco, her family- possibilities are endless- just make sure Grace is the center of the topic (naturally!)
-The blogathon will run November 10-12, 2019
-Duplicates are allowed, since her filmography is only 11 movies!
-Blog posts must be new material
-Maximum of 2 entries per person
-You CAN participate if you don’t have a blog- a guest post is acceptable!

and REMEMBER
1– Don’t participate if you don’t like Grace Kelly- in the past, Ginnie had participants who BASHED Grace- that’s not acceptable! AND

2- If you want to participate, YOU MUST subscribe first.
You can subscribe to to the. Blogathon with Ginnie, Samantha, or me on Twitter or by email- just let us know and we will mark you down!

THE ROSTER AS FOLLOWS

The Flapper Dame: The Bridges at Toko- Ri (1954) and Review of the Novel Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

The Wonderful World of Cinema writing for Three Enchanting Ladies : TBD

Musings of a Classic Film Addict : Grace‘s Ratatouille Nicoise

Poppity Talks Classic Film– Personal Tribute

The Stop Button – The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

Screen Dreams – To Catch a Thief (1955)

Pale Writer – Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock’s Collaborations

Thoughts All Sort – Rear Window (1954)

Down These Mean Streets – Rear Window (1954)

4 Star Films – Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly part II

Rearl Weegie Midget Reviews – Dial M for Murder (1954)

Crítica Retrô – Grace Kelly Interviews

Overture Books And Film – The Country Girl (1954)

The Classic Movie Muse- High Society

Can’t wait to hear your choices as we celebrate 90 years of this remarkable woman!! Be sure to grab a delightfully cool banner designed by Ginnie (they turned out to be absolutely alluring, Ginnie!)

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2nd Grace Kelly Blogathon

Grace Kelly Blogathon: Mogambo

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This entry is part of “The Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon” hosted by Virginie at “The Wonderful World of Cinema”. I would personally like to thank her for allowing me to participate at such short notice. This is officially my first blogathon- I entered at the last minute- its Grace Kelly, my favorite actress so I couldn’t let it pass me by!  For me, Mogambo was the second Grace Kelly picture I saw, and I watched for the first time on my 17th Birthday.

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(Photo-Wikipedia)

Mogambo… what is Mogambo? According to the trailer, Mogambo means “The Greatest”. And maybe that’s because MGM really had the “greatest” elements going for the film- Technicolor, location shoot, and the “greatest” actor in all of Hollywood, the king of himself, Mr. Clark Gable. Of course, MGM also had the “greatest” source material for the picture, as Mogambo was to be a remake of their own 1932 Jean Harlow pre-code Red Dust (which also had Gable as the leading man- Only Gable can replace Gable folks, even if its twenty years later!)

Like its predecessor, Mogambo was to have the same plot- two women (one married, one single) vying for the affections of Clark Gable in an exotic location- but instead of taking place on an Indochina rubber plantation, Mogambo was to be set in the African jungle. To cast the female leads, MGM turned to some of Gable’s former co-stars: Ava Gardner, who had previously worked with Gable on both The Hucksters and Lone Star; and Gene Tierney, his leading lady from Never Let Me Go. With Gable, Gardner, Tierney and veteran western/ action director John Ford all attached, Mogambo was set to be a smash even before it hit the big screen.

So how does the wonderful Grace Kelly fit in of this? It actually turned out to be a twist of fate, as right before filming began, Gene Tierney dropped out due to illness. Needing to find a new actress for the part, John Ford went to MGM executives and showed them Grace’s 1950 screen test from the film Taxi. Of her test, Ford said Ms. Kelly had “Breeding, Quality and Class” (I agree Mr. Ford, I agree!!!)

At the time Grace only had two films to her name, (14 Hours and High Noon) but MGM execs clearly agreed with Ford when they offered her the role of Linda Nordley (the married woman; Donald Sinden played her husband), as well as the traditional 7 year studio contract. Grace accepted, but careful as ever, signed on the conditions that A– she was able to live in New York and B– every two years she could get time off to work in the theater.

Filming took place from Fall 1952- Winter 1953. During the duration of the shoot, Grace naturally got along with all her co-stars (she found a life-long friend in Ava Gardner; with Clark, while on location, she joined him on hunting trips ) and even impressed everyone at dinner one night by ordering in Swahili! On the downside, behind the scenes, there were also some problems- Frank Sinatra and Ava’s deteriorating marriage (and her abortion during a filming break), Ford’s nasty treatment to all the stars, and of course the allegedaffair” between Gable and Grace.

In the end, however, Grace’s hard work prevailed, as was she was nominated both for a Golden Globe and an Oscar with both noms in the category of Best Supporting Actress. I think Grace gave a good performance and her character proves glamour can exist even in the most un-glamourous of places. Her scenes with Gable and Gardner are well acted and it’s easy to believe she’s falling for Gable, even though she’s a married woman. The costumes are also wonderful as Helen Rose made Grace to be “Safari Chic”.

Today, Mogambo may not be regarded as a “classic” classic, however, it still is a fan favorite and is considered by many to be John Ford’s most under rated work.  I think Grace herself summed it up well as to why we still watch the film today, when she later said,“Mogambo had three things that interested me-John Ford, Clark Gable, and a trip to Africa.”

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(photo- DVD Beaver)

What I like about Mogambo is even though it’s a re-make- it’s a good one that’s worth watching. It’s different to Red Dust and is not a shot by shot, word for word re-make. The film also has nice parallel between Grace and Mr. Gable, in regards to their careers- his last real success and a breakout performance for her. My favorite scene has to be the lake scene with Clark, Grace, and their embrace- it’s just so pretty and it’s really the moment Grace’s character falls for Clark’s (seriously who can blame Grace!!)

After all everyone, with talent like that Mogambo truly is “The Greatest”!

Sources

Spoto, Donald.  High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly.  1st Ed.  New York: Harmony Books, 2009.  Print.

MOGAMBO 1953 Available on DVD