My Days with Princess Grace of Monaco by Joan and Grace Dale
ARC, e-book, 352 pages
September 4, 2014
Source: Received for review from publisher via Netgalley
“Get to know the real Princess Grace, from the first years of her marriage to the last days of her life. "My Days with Princess Grace of Monaco: Our 25-Year Friendship, Beyond Grace Kelly" chronicles what it was like to be best friends with an iconic princess, with 70 never-before-seen personal photos, letters and diaries that give a behind-the-scenes look at Grace Kelly's life after she became Princess Grace. Gain rare insight into her final days through a detailed account of her last family vacation the month before her tragic death. This is also the true story of the historic events depicted in "Grace of Monaco," in which Grace Kelly was to return to Hollywood at a time when Prince Rainier almost lost his crown and country.”
This memoir is of Joan Dale’s life, but focusing on her time spent with and intimately knowing Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. Joan did not know Grace during her Hollywood glamour days, so if you are looking for that perspective, you will be disappointed. But if you are looking to know Grace the princess you will become deeply acquainted with her in this memoir. Joan often references how she was referenced as “unknown woman” in all of the photos that she appeared in with Princess Grace – she was always there, but entirely unknown. Joan’s husband was Prince Rainier’s closest advisor and accordingly they were frequently present with the Prince and Princess.
We get all of the details of the balls, dinners, and other fabulous events that they attended – including extensive explanations of what EVERYONE was wearing (it almost felt like an awards style episode at times). At the same time, we are treated to the intimate moments when the families were just alone by themselves.
Much of this book is comprised of and composed from letter from Joan Dale’s collection – there are letters to and from Grace, Joan’s parents, her husband, Prince Rainier, and others. It is a great writing strategy to include these intimate peeks into Joan’s life. Additionally, there was an extensive collection of personal photos from Joan Dale providing a visual peek into the Dale and Grimaldi lives.
While I found this book an enjoyable, lighter read, it wasn’t without its issues – which I feel like comes with the territory when the memoir is written by someone who isn’t actually a practicing author. There is A LOT of repetition. Mostly this is involved with the letters. Within the text Joan’s letters are transcribed, but then immediately following each letter the author explains the events that are introduced in the letter. However, the narrative tends to tell exactly the same thing as the letters just with a little more detail – it felt very repetitive. Additionally, while the memoir does focus on Joan’s life with Grace, there is a lot just about Joan’s life as well. While this makes sense, as it is Joan who is writing the book, those portions of the book are much less interesting to the reader – especially if someone is picking up the book to learn about Grace Kelly. Additionally, I frequently felt that Joan was defensively explaining her relationship with Grace – as in, she feels the need to make it clear that she was actually one of Grace’s closest friends. She goes to great lengths to make this point and it made it feel a little pushy.
I did learn a lot about the private side of Princess Grace and it was an enjoyable, light read, but it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping the book would be.
This book is the combined works of Joan Dale (friend of Grace Kelly’s) and her daughter, Grace Dale. Joan Dale passed away prior to the publication of the book. You can visit the book’s website for additional information about the book. There are some great videos and documents available on the site that round out the reading experience. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
You can also watch the book trailer below.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court