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Once Upon a Time
By J. Randy Taraborrelli
Read by Edward Herrmann

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Once Upon a Time

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Once Upon a Time
Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
By J. Randy Taraborrelli
Read by Edward Herrmann
Time Warner AudioBooks, (2003)
An Abridged Audio Recording on 4 Cassettes
ISBN: 1-58621-492-6
Genre: Biography

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - June 15, 2003

Grace Kelly began life in 1929, as the privileged daughter of a bricklayer-turned millionaire. She attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and went on to pursue a significant career as a model and screen actress, starring in such movies as High Noon, Dial M For Murder, and Rear Window. Had she remained a 'mere' actress, she would have likely become one of the most respected actresses of her time, as she was already an Academy Award Winning star. However, her acting career was cut short when she met and married Prince Rainier III of Monaco. With this one act, her fame was assured, and she became 'America's Princess', despite the fact that she had to give up her American citizenship when her new title was conferred upon her.

Princess Grace, as Grace Kelly was known after her marriage, lived her life in a fairly tale. At least that is the image portrayed in the media. Yet, was her life as idyllic as we have been lead to believe? J. Randy Taraborrelli's new book, Once Upon a Time explores the reality of Princess Grace's life, her marriage to Prince Rainier, and the myths that have grown up around her.

This abridged audio recording of Taraborrelli's monumental biography of Princess Grace offers the listener a detailed, yet succinct glimpse into the reality of Princess Grace's life, and her untimely death. This recording is expertly read by Edward Herrmann, whose voice often 'appears' as the voice over narrator in many televised history programs. He is also a seasoned actor who has appeared in numerous movies and television shows. This audio edition also includes an introduction by the book's author.

As you will learn from this book, Grace's life was not perfect. Yet she was able to meld the imperfections that she found in her life into something wonderful and satisfying. This biography of Grace Kelly not only looks at her admiringly, as a movie star and a princess, but it also tries to present a clear picture of her day-to-day life. This picture includes information about how she felt about herself and the choices she made, her marriage with Rainier, her children, and the problems and successes that she had during her life.

For those that are unfamiliar with the story of Grace Kelly and her elevation to 'Princess', Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier will provide a comprehensive introduction to the woman and her history. For those who have followed this story for years, this book offers some unique insights into her life that you might be unfamiliar with. For example, Taraborrelli explores Grace's bouts with depression that she suffered after her marriage when she realized that she would no longer be able to 'make' movies. It also explores the problems she faced with boredom once she became a princess and a 'proverbial bird in the gilded cage'. Taraborrelli also examines how Grace strove to overcome the drawbacks that being a 'royal' entails and how she came to accept the role that she had created for herself.

This biography is detailed, well researched, and it offers an intimate glimpse into the reality of 'royal' life. In large measure this book is based upon numerous interviews and conversations that Taraborrelli had with those who knew Grace best, including her relatives. In the process of interpreting Princess Grace's life, Taraborrelli also succeeded in rendering a detailed portrait of Prince Rainier. In addition, while exploring the myths that surround the image of Princess Grace, Taraborrelli also answers the question, did Grace live 'happily ever after' or was the fairy tale just a facade?


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