Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review of Searching For Grace Kelly by Michael Callahan

Title/Author: Searching For Grace Kelly by Michael Callahan
Publisher/Date published: Mariner Books, January 27th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: For a small-town girl with big-city dreams, there is no address more glamorous than New York’s Barbizon Hotel. Laura, a patrician beauty from Smith, arrives to work at Mademoiselle for the summer. Her hopelessly romantic roommate, Dolly, comes from a working-class upstate town to attend secretarial school. Vivian, a brash British bombshell with a disregard for the hotel’s rules, rounds out the trio of friends. Together, the girls embark on a journey of discovery that will take them from the penthouse apartments of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village to Atlantic City’s Steel Pier — and into the arms of very different men who will alter their lives forever.

So this story is set in 1955, which is an important thing to remember and something that I didn't figure out till about 3/4 through the book. I'm not sure if that's my fault or if it was just the first time it was mentioned, but it's something to keep in mind while reading this book. And as I hadn't read anything set in New York in this time period before, it was very interesting!

Searching For Grace Kelly centers around a group of friends, at times they feel more like girls who casually know each other and sometimes share things, as they do live very separate lives while living in the same building. In the end I believe they were friends, but they just didn't always show it.
I liked Laura, I could understand wanting to break free from her mother's smothering parenting and the rules of society and just LIVE. A thing that bugged me was that even though she kept saying she wanted to be a writer, she never really did anything to try and actually BE one. I mean, throughout the novel she never once wrote a story, the only thing she wrote was in a diary and didn't even stick with that. But I liked that she was bookish and went to a lovely bookstore. I wish we had a bookstore like that one somewhere around here.

I also really liked Dolly, though I was confused by her love interest and in the end it makes sense, but OMG, at times I just wanted to shake Dolly because she was so down on herself and negative! She seemed like a lovely girl and she should have some faith in herself instead of constantly comparing herself to Laura and Vivian and thinking she came up short. I mean, I get it, we all do it, but it was hard to see her doing it.
Vivian never really grew on me, she was impulsive and made a LOT of bad choices and I'm not really sure about her family dynamic, but she worked with the other two girls.

There's a whole lot of drama going on in Searching For Grace Kelly, far more than I originally expected when picking it up. In the beginning I had some trouble getting into the story, but towards the end of the book I REALLY wanted to know what would happen and I'd actually forgotten about the foreshadowing at the very beginning of the book and so what happened at the end was a bit of a surprise for me. I think what gave this book a little extra was that I realised that my grandma was a young woman in this time period, starting a family and everything, and even though she wasn't an American, this made it a little more special to me.
But while it was interesting, I never really felt that connection to the story or the characters and I was very easily distracted while reading it. I did end up enjoying it and am glad I stuck with it.

My rating: 3,5 stars


  1. Ha! Yeah, if you didn't know a book was set in 1955, that would be confusing. I hate it when the time period isn't obvious.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. I would hate not knowing the book was set in 1995, it would drive me crazy, also their friendship sounds a little weird. :(