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Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb

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Article by Swirl and Thread ©.
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‘Each scent holds a mystery, its own story. That was the first lesson Papa taught me. “To be a parfumeur is to be a detective Sophie”I would inhale and be whisked away in an instant. A touch of jasmine hinted at carefree days in the sun. Woodsmoke conjured a cool autumn night and rich cassoulet for supper. Dry earth evoked our home in Grasse: a stone farmhouse surrounded by sunflower and lavender fields…’

Having read and loved Last Christmas in Paris, the 2017 publication from the dynamic duo, Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, I was thrilled when I heard that they were joining forces again. This time the reader is transported to the dazzle and glamour of the Côte d’Azur in the 1950s with Meet Me in Monaco. It is described as ‘a mesmerizing and meticulously researched novel….a page turning novel of passion, fate and second chances.’We are swept up in a captivating tale set mainly during the time of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and royal wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. Published in paperback by Harper Collins, Meet Me in Monaco is a treat for all fans of these two fine writers.

Grace Kelly has always carried an enigmatic quality, an almost untouchable allure that we, the public, just cannot get enough of. In the pinnacle of her career, she travelled to Cannes for the film festival and was immediate fodder for the paparazzi. Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb used this time as the pivotal era for the setting of this book. Using their creative licence they wrap a very precious love story around this magical time, using Grace Kelly as the catalyst that brings two unlikely individuals together.

Sophie Duval is now the head of the Duval family perfumery, following the death of her father during the Second World War. Sophie is in possession of her father’s treasured journal, containing all his jottings and scribbles for the head, heart and base notes of scents that he gathered over the years. Sophie hopes to continue his dream but with serious financial difficulties mounting daily, she is struggling. Sophie divides her time between their shop in Cannes and her home in Grasse, where the magic takes place. Sophie is working on a new perfume, one that will grab the attention of the world and finally put their boutique perfumery on the international stage but time is not on her side. With mounting pressure from her mother and Lucien, her boyfriend, who are both encouraging her to sell out, Sophie is stressed. But an unexpected visitor to her store changes everything. Could this be the break Sophie has been waiting for?

Grace Kelly rushes into Sophie’s shop looking to escape a hounding member of the paparazzi. As Grace Kelly hides away in Sophie’s back office, James Henderson follows the actress into the shop. James is an English photographer who is also dealing with his own personal issues, working in a job that he is far from happy with and living a life that is not what he had dreamed of. Something happens between Sophie and James that day, though neither are aware of it. A spark is ignited that cannot be quelled.

As we closely follow the path that Grace Kelly takes to it’s tragic conclusion, we are witness to the developing relationship between Sophie and James. They cross paths on many occasions as their friendship grows into something more. Their love story, their passionate and, at times, tragic tale is magically entwined around that of Grace Kelly and her famed marriage in 1956 and her very shocking death in 1982.

Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have done it again, completely capturing the hearts of the readers. With enchanting descriptions and vivid portrayal of the Côte d’Azur Meet Me in Monaco is a nostalgic and delightful tale. Grace Kelly was the epitome of glamour and her appearance in this story adds a real touch of something very special indeed adding to the rather evocative nature of the book.

From the stunning cover to the final sentence, Meet Me in Monaco took me away to a place where I could breathe in the scent of the lavender and jasmine, I could feel the heat on my skin and I could quite easily visualise the glamour, the fashion…and a chilled glass of rosé in my hand!

Pure escapism. Pure magic!

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.