Searching for Grace Kelly by Michael Callahan takes us to New York City in the 1950’s and vividly brings alive the sights, sounds, and happenings of the era. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Kristin Kalbli and she does a wonderful job. I haven’t had the pleasure of listening to her before but I thought she perfectly evoked all of the emotion of the characters and liveliness of New York. Searching for Grace Kelly is a story about friendship and of discovering oneself. It is funny, sad, and hopeful. I truly enjoyed every minute I spent listening to this book.
Laura Dixon is a small town debutante who attends Smith. Coming to New York to work at Mademoiselle for the summer has been her dream since she was a young girl. Upon arriving at New York’s Barbizon Hotel (where the famous Grace Kelly once lived) she meets Dolly, from a working class family, in New York to go to secretarial school and the British Vivian who cares not a whit for rules or regulations and lives life on her own terms. Although different in personalities and upbringing the girls forge a friendship that will carry them through the summer and have an everlasting effect on their lives afterwards.
Laura has big dreams for her future and they don’t include marrying well as her mother wishes. She wants to be a writer and New York is the perfect place to see that happen. Her only detour is the love triangle she finds herself in. Dolly’s only dream is to be loved and find the perfect man who fills that desire but she seems to have the worst luck in doing so. When she finally meets a man he turns out to be very mysterious and secretive. Vivian works as a cigarette girl at one of New York’s popular clubs and dreams of being a singer but being a troublemaker herself she finds herself dating one too. These men will change the lives of these girls forever.
I liked all of the girls but I think Laura was my favorite. She had a set of standards and morals she set for herself and she stuck to them no matter who was wooing her. Dolly irritated me at times but that’s probably because she felt her life depended on finding a husband and that’s not something I feel is true although in the era of this novel it was. Vivian I liked because she was such a rebel. I think any woman can relate to these girls as they grow and learn more about the world around them and themselves.
For fans of historical fiction and the fifties, Searching for Grace Kelly is the perfect pick! Highly recommended – especially in audio. It’s a wonderful audio production and the narrator Kristin Kalbli really brought New York and the lives of these girls to life for me. Loved it!