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The Grace Kelly Dress

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Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love in this beguiling new novel from Brenda Janowitz.

“Exactly the type of book I love: charming, smart, and brimming with heart.”—EMILY GIFFIN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly-lookalike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride's handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice—one that could put all she's worked for at risk: love, security, and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname "Rocky," has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there's just one problem: Rocky doesn't want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn't her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan's heart. But what she doesn't know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother's life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress's history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky's wedding, they'll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

“Not everything is right the first time,” her mother said carefully. “Take Grace Kelly’s wedding dress. Do you think that was the first design Helen Rose came up with?” -THE GRACE KELLY DRESS

"A charming, heartfelt novel about three generations of women who are connected by the gorgeous gown that each wears on her wedding day. Fast paced and entertaining from beginning to end." -Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone

"Brenda Janowitz's gift is understanding and revealing the nuances of complicated families, of love embraced, love lost and love reclaimed. With The Grace Kelly Dress she has stitched together a seamless intergenerational modern-day fairy tale, with a very contemporary twist." -Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The High Tide Club

"Brenda Janowitz writes with extraordinary humor and heart, her writing growing in beauty and maturity with every book. This is a book that has to be added to your nightstand immediately." -Jane Green, bestselling author of The Friends We Keep

384 pages, Paperback

First published March 3, 2020

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About the author

Brenda Janowitz

13 books761 followers
Brenda is the author of eight novels, including THE GRACE KELLY DRESS, which has been optioned for film by Hallmark/ Crown Media, and THE AUDREY HEPBURN ESTATE, which was chosen as the Reader’s Choice by the CBS New York Book Club with Mary Calvi. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Real Simple, The Sunday Times (UK), Salon, Redbook, USA Today, Bustle, The Forward, the New York Post, Publisher’s Weekly, Hello Giggles, Writer’s Digest Magazine, WritersDigest.com, and xojane. She is the former Books Correspondent for PopSugar.

Brenda attended Cornell University and Hofstra Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review. Upon graduation from Hofstra, worked for the law firm Kaye Scholer, LLP, and did a federal clerkship with the Honorable Marilyn Dolan Go, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 898 reviews
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,349 reviews3,004 followers
December 14, 2019
3.5 stars

Maybe other readers will disagree but I was hoping for a little more heart to the story. I did enjoy the book especially the seamstress parts of the story, but emotionally it fell kinda flat. I feel like this had the potential to be a teary-eyed type of story but I didn't quite get there.

Rocky is super successful in the tech world and is engaged to be married. A Grace Kelly inspired wedding dress has been worn by other women in her family and now it's Rocky's turn to wear the gown. The only problem is Rocky doesn't want to wear it and she can't bear to tell her mother the bad news. The story alternates between Rocky in the present day, Rocky's mother, Joan, back in the 1980s when she was engaged, and Rose, a seamstress in Paris in the late 1950s who is tasked with making a wedding gown for a very wealthy client.

I absolutely loved the parts of the story featuring Rose and could have read a whole book devoted to the making of the gown and her love life. I also enjoyed getting to understand Joan better as you got to see her as both a young adult and as mother to Rocky. Unfortunately, Rocky didn't really do much for me and was the weakest part of the story. Like I mentioned before, I would have loved for this to be an emotional read but I did find it lacking in that department. It is though a decent book to curl up on the couch with while enjoying a lazy weekend.

I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
March 5, 2020
Three generations of women, from different periods of time and their connection to a heirloom wedding dress that was inspired by Princess Grace of Monaco. As each woman tries to be her true self, there are struggles of the heart and the family. We have dressmaker, Rose in 1958 Paris, daughter Joanie in 1982 and granddaughter, Rachel (Rocky) in 2020 who all alternate chapters in telling the story from their perspectives.

I felt that each of the three characters had a strong voice that made their storylines interesting and I honestly didn't feel one time period was better than the other.

Thanks to Netgalley and HARLEQUIN-Graydon House Books(US and Canada) for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads review published 03/03/20
Publication Date 03/03/20
Profile Image for Tina.
540 reviews918 followers
August 29, 2020
A delightfully charming book steeped in tradition! The perfect book for these trying times.

I listened to this as an Audio. The narrator was fantastic and the story writing beautiful.

It is a story with three time lines. The Bride, The mother of the Bride as a Bride, and The Seamstress. The story of a bridal dress that was inspired by Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. The dress was all the rage and every lady in Paris was looking to re-create the look.

This is the story of a family who has passed down the bridal gown that was inspired by Grace Kelly. Each bride has her own story and while this was a pretty light book there are some heavier moments and some mystery.

A perfect little book to take you back in time and fantasize about every little girl's dream...the perfect wedding dress!

As a royal fan and most certainly a Princess Grace fan I enjoyed this clever little book. I also especially loved that my other favourite Princess (Diana) had her own little mention in it. (Whoop Whoop) An all-round enjoyment!! 👰🏻🧵👗🤩👑
Profile Image for Susan (on semi hiatus).
446 reviews127 followers
April 12, 2021
What a Girl Wants

Choosing a wedding dress is an undeniable highlight of wedding planning for most women.

Unfortunately, Rocky won’t be able to participate in that time honored tradition because her dress has been thrust upon her by her mother. Worn by two generations in her family, her grandmother and her mother, it’s now Rocky’s turn. However, the dress doesn’t suit her but she can’t bring herself to rock the boat.

The dress was the epitome of fashion worn by movie star Grace Kelly at her nuptials when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. The year was 1956 and the wedding was viewed by many across the globe.

Deemed one of the most glamorous and visually pleasing ceremonies, the dress was designed by MGM’s head costume designer Helen Rose and became a piece of history. Named The Grace Kelly Dress, wedding dress designers all over the world were asked to re-create the dress for their clients.

What’s a girl to do?

I know what I would do… I LOVE this dress and was familiar with the design and history before reading the book. However, this is Rocky’s story and she has a dilemma.

This story is divided among three voices and three time periods. Rocky, her mother Joanie, and her grandmother Rose are portrayed in the period leading up to their own weddings and the events surrounding them.

For those like myself who enjoy sewing and garment making, this book has added appeal. Rocky’s grandmother is the creator of the wedding dress and a designer at a Paris atelier. I enjoyed her story the most although the book was great as a whole.

I purchased this book from Barnes and Noble.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,024 reviews15.7k followers
March 14, 2020
A sweet, sentimental, multi generational tale. Brenda Janowitz’s storytelling completely swept me up in this enchanting story. Three generations of women connected buy this stunning wedding gown. Rose a Paris seamstress in the late 1950s, Joan a young proper college student in 1982, and her daughter Rocky A rebellious techie in 2020. Each woman had their own voice and their own story to tell. The story jumps around between these three women in short well crafted chapters. I was completely and equally invested in each of these women’s stories and found the pacing absolutely perfect. The gown meant something different to each of these women with the common thread of love.

The short chapters left me wanting more, but I was always happy to get back to the next woman’s story. I started this book with the intention of only listening to a few chapters and ended up finishing it pretty much without a break. The audio is narrated by Cassandra Campbell Who masterfully gave each woman her own unique voice and did a marvelous job with the French accent. I had recently read a book about Grace Kelly and that gave me a better appreciation of this gown and its meaning. Rose took pride in her work and did everything she could to emulate the princess’s wedding gown, while still adding her own touches. Joan added her own touches to the gown and learned that fairytales can have more than one happy ending. Rocky struggled with the gown it really wasn’t her, but it meant so much to her mom. Eventually even Rocky found a way to make the gown work for her. Such a beautiful story of love, family, tradition, expectations, choices, and mothers and daughters.

This book in emojis. 👰🏼 👰🏼 👰🏼

*** Big thank you to Harlequin and Harper Audio for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for Suzy.
345 reviews221 followers
April 8, 2020
4 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Grace Kelly Dress is a charming, multi-generational winner that I just loved!

The story focuses around three generations of women who are all tied together by a dress that was inspired by Grace Kelly’s wedding gown. Rose, Joan and Rocky - all brides in different eras - each have their own style and the thoughts on how they want the dress to look for each of their weddings. These women are all totally different in personality and style, so it was fun to read each of their stories. All told in alternating POVs with short chapters, we learn a lot about each of them and how they all tie together in the end.

I love, love, love short chapters while reading. Not only does it keep things moving at a decent pace, it keeps the story interesting and makes me want to continue reading until I find out what happens! At times, I found it hard to put the book down. I just found each of these women so fascinating - for different reasons.

I’ve read a couple of other books by Janowitz, and although they were both read many years ago, I remember loving them. So glad I decided to request this one. It was definitely worth it!

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin - Graydon House and Brenda Janowitz for my advanced copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,042 followers
September 11, 2019
Janowitz writes a novel told by three different women in three different periods of history. That is not easy to do, but she masterfully keeps the story moving by making the chapters short and the pacing spot on.

The story revolves around a bridal gown that three different women wore and passed down to her daughter. Each generation wants to make alterations to the dress, which was originally modeled to look like Grace Kelly’s wedding dress. In 1982, Joan wants to have puffy sleeves like Princess Diana had when she walked down the aisle. In 2020, Rocky (a nickname Rachel has gone by since childhood), doesn’t want the dress at all. She’s comfortable in motorcycle boots, black pants and shirts that show off her tattoos.

The challenges these women face are primarily with what they think others expect of them. In fact, the mothers of the different generations are incredibly gracious and forgiving, so it’s hard to feel too much empathy for the brides’ challenges. Still, this is a fun, light read.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book, which RELEASES MARCH 3, 2020.

For more reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for Jamie Rosenblit.
943 reviews532 followers
December 18, 2019
Where are my dual timeline historical fiction fans at? Personally for me, I love a historical novel that breaks up the past with a present day narrative and theorizing how the two timelines come together is one of my favorite things to do with these novels. Well, Janowitz ups the ante in The Grace Kelly Dress with a TRIPLE narrative - and it pays off.

The Grace Kelly Dress is set in 1958, the 1980s & 2020 - each time period focusing on a wedding, a family and of course, a wedding dress. Janowitz seamlessly (see what I did there..seamstress, seamlessly...) weaves the stories of Rose, Joanie & Rocky together while also establishing each of the women in their own right.

The Grace Kelly Dress had me captivated, smiling and even tearing up at some points and ultimately, closing the final page wishing it wasn't yet time to bid farewell to these strong women and their lives, as they truly felt like they had become friends.

Thank you to Graydon House for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for TXGAL1.
281 reviews41 followers
July 28, 2020
THE GRACE KELLY DRESS, by Brenda Janowitz, was a quick and enjoyable read. This was accomplished by the short, alternating chapters and the flow of the writing.

The “dress” was the main character in this story which revolved around the lives of three generations of women: Rocky in 2020, Joan, as Rocky’s mother as a bride herself in 1982, and Rose, a seamstress in 1958 Paris.

Chapter 1 began with Rocky’s upcoming nuptials and the ensuing wedding planning, followed by Joan’s life during her engagement in Chapter 2, and the creation of “the dress” by Rose in 1958 in Chapter 3. The story cycle is repeated amongst the three women throughout the book.

I found the chapters short in length and crisp in the storyline. The character that most intrigued me was seamstress Rose. The character I most disliked was Rocky for she frustrated me with her lack of spine. Of course, this trait was used to push the story forward, but I disliked it none the less. The story was beautiful, heartfelt, and thought-provoking.

I recommend this book with a 4🌟 rating.
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,902 reviews197 followers
March 6, 2020
Sentimental, heartfelt, and enchanting!

The Grace Kelly Dress is a sweet, captivating tale that takes you on a journey into the lives of three main characters. Rose, a young Paris seamstress employed by the esteemed Madame Michel in the late 1950s to handcraft dresses fashioned after the one worn by Princess Grace; Joan, a college student at NYCU in the 1980s who is struggling with the loss of her sister and a new engagement; and Rocky, an independent, tech CEO whose modern-day, upcoming nuptials are marred by the pressure to wear the family’s heirloom gown.

The prose is well turned and intriguing. The characters are resolute, independent, and multilayered. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel into a charming tale of familial dynamics, drama, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, introspection, passion, and tradition.

Overall, The Grace Kelly Dress is a nostalgic, absorbing, uplifting tale by Janowitz that highlights the complex ties that bind us as a family and reminds us that happy-ever-afters come in all different forms but rarely resemble those found in fairytales.

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books316 followers
May 14, 2021
Three and a half stars.
Light and frothy like the dress this book purports to be about is this story of three women and one dress. 1958 Rose is a seamstress at a fashionable atelier under the tutelage of Madame Michele. Her task is to make for Diana Laurent a look alike gown similar to that which Grace Kelly wore for her wedding to Prince Rainier. But Rose finds herself in an impossible situation as she falls in love with Diana’s brother Robert. Then there is Joanie who wore the dress for her wedding and wants her daughter to wear it. But Rachel, known as Rocky, doesn’t want to wear the dress for her wedding. But will she feel brave enough to tell her mother that, knowing how much it means to her mother to see the tradition handed down? Neither does Rocky understand why wearing the dress is such a big deal. With three strong strong lines of the three women, from 1950s, 1980 and 2020, the reader gets a clear picture of each woman and the changes in society.
I enjoyed all three stories though I admit Rose was my favourite and Joanie my least favourite for some reason. But all were interesting. I’m not a sewer and can’t imagine such a fuss about a dress, even a wedding dress, but was still happy to go along reading about it.
Light, and breezy. Not one to make the reader think a lot but still fun to read. Recommended for when you just want an entertaining read. A book to take the reader away from the hard things of life for a time and sometimes we all need that.

Profile Image for Anna.
1,132 reviews95 followers
November 3, 2020
Paris 1958, Rose is an apprentice at an infamous atelier known for creating beautiful wedding dresses. Brides are still infatuated with Grace Kelly's wedding dress, wanting something similar for their walk down the isle. Rose is entrusted with designing the gown of a wealthy client, determined to make a truly memorable gown. What she doesn't expect is to become infatuated with the bride's brother. Knowing the risks she resists her feelings, not wanting to cause a scandal for the atelier.
As the gown is passed down through the generations, each woman has her own wedding story.
1980s, Joan is engaged and planning her wedding right after graduating from college. She's excited to be wearing her mother's wedding gown, but is having doubts about her future. Can she find happiness and true love?
Present day, "Rocky" is planning her own wedding. Joan insists Rocky wear the heirloom gown, but Rocky is not sure it fits her style. Not wanting to break her mother's heart she goes along despite her doubts. What she doesn't know is the history behind the dress and the importance of her mother's and grandmother's story.
A sweet story of happily ever after.
Profile Image for Lisa Leone-campbell.
492 reviews45 followers
March 18, 2020
A beautifully written tender love story about three women each a generation apart, one wedding dress and their stories of how they ended up with this iconic Grace Kelly wedding dress.

Rose is a timid French seamstress who reluctantly agrees to make a wedding dress for a well-to-do woman whose only request is that it resemble the wedding dress of Grace Kelly. Very young and naive, as Rose creates the dress she begins to develop feelings for the woman's brother who himself is getting ready to wed. As the two grow closer, Rose is uneasy about finishing the design of the dress.

Joan is in college during the 1980's. She is in a sorority and enjoys the late night parties and the camaraderie of her sisters. When she becomes engaged, she is excited at the thought that the now will be able to wear the Grace Kelly dress. But what happens next sets off a chain of events which will change her life forever.

In the year 2020, Rachel, also known as "Rocky" who owns her own gaming business, becomes engaged. To the excitement of her mother, the Grace Kelly dress becomes hers to wear. But, unfortunately, Rocky does not care for the dress. Never has and never will. She also does not have the heart to tell her mother knowing it will devastate her. As the wedding nears, her anxiety about the dress becomes an obsession. How can she destroy her mother like this? What is wrong with her? What should she do?

As we learn how these three women's lives are intertwined by a wedding dress, by their love and by their struggles, how they are able to endure hardships by their strength and each other so that their future generations will know the story of the Grace Kelly dress.

Thank you #NetGalley #GraydonHouse #TheGraceKellyDress #Brenda Janowitz for the advanced copy.
Profile Image for Marilyn.
855 reviews277 followers
March 29, 2020
The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz was just the type of book I was looking to read during these trying and unprecedented times. I was looking for a book that would be uplifting, one that I could easily get lost in the story and feel lots of varied emotions. This heartfelt and beautiful novel gave me everything I was looking for. It touched upon the importance of family and friends upmost but there were elements of love both new and old and love that was rediscovered in more meaningful ways. It also touched on the element of fate and tradition. The story centered around a gorgeous wedding gown designed with all the elements of love to resemble the dress worn by Grace Kelly. Brenda Janowitz transported the reader from current day Brooklyn 2020, back in time to the 1980’s, and even further back in time to Paris during the 1950’s where this legendary dress was designed and flawlessly put together with enormous amounts of love and pride. The story alternated flawlessly from one time period to the next. All three women, each from her own time, were connected by this beautiful wedding dress that each wore on her own wedding day altering it just enough to make it her own.

I for one am a true believer in the importance of family. Things that have been passed down to me by members of my family are extremely important to me. There are so many memories and just good feelings as I look upon those things in my home. Most of those things are from family members that are no longer with me. That makes those things that much more important to me. I know that one day I will pass these things down to my daughters and grandchildren. I love tradition and The Grace Kelly Dress brought that aspect to the story in a very compelling way.

I really enjoyed Rose’s story the best but it was nice to see how all three generations of women created their own connections and memories with wearing this dress on their wedding day. The Grace Kelly Dress was a fast paced and enjoyable novel. The characters created in this book were believable and very likable and true to the era they were from. I highly recommend this book.

I was lucky enough to have won The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz in a goodreads give away. Thank you to Graydon House Books, Brenda Janowitz and goodreads for this opportunity. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for DeB.
1,000 reviews252 followers
June 12, 2020
4.5 stars My mother hated sewing, and when I wanted to make doll clothes she handed me Speed Sew. In a little school, at the age of twelve, my first real sewing project was a box pleat skirt with an inset zipper- all done by hand. Sewing machines, patterns, more hand stitching followed- oh, the joy- and I’ve loved fabric, clothing, fashion, decorating- ever since. So- “The Grace Kelly Dress” was going to be a winner for me, because it was about dresses - I was a fan before I opened the book.

The triple timeline tripped along, in each delicious version of the dress. Rocky, today, balking at wearing the version of her mother’s and grandmother’s wedding dress with no concept of history and a not seeing those maternal figures as separate from herself, nor as individual women unique unto themselves. Joanie, the mother, who married in the ‘80’s with Lady Di sleeves and whose uptight demeanour was at total cross purposes to Rocky’s. And Birdie- Grandmére, who met her husband and fell in love in France, “at first sight”.

I loved following the tale of the dress, the stitches, the lace, the dress shop in France... wondering who Grandmére was in the fabric of the story, where the tapestry would weave. I could visualize the real Grace Kelly dress, and the cummerbund, the sleeves, and imagine what might be the incarnations of the phases of this dress in this story, much like the women and their lives too.

When I think about this novel, I understand that I appreciate the underlying theme of change which comes about for women in all phases of life. As they mature, wisdom may arrive but it might be difficult to communicate, to bridge generation gaps, to find commonalities or to see each other differently in families. The “dress” is the bridge in this novel, an exquisite device lovingly joining the overall story, the characters and binding personal histories.

I’m not young- I REALLY liked this. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Pam Jenoff.
Author 24 books5,347 followers
March 3, 2021
The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz. This smart, funny, heartfelt book tells of a replica of Grace Kelly's wedding dress made in 1950s Paris and the love stories that surround it when it is made, sixty years later and in the generations in between.
Profile Image for Viola Shipman.
Author 22 books2,586 followers
March 23, 2021
What a wonderful author and person! This book is a must read and it will take you away to another world! The descriptions & fabulous writing will keep you turning each page for more! You can visualize every detail. What a wonderful novel! You will to be able to put it down!

Profile Image for Stefanie.
836 reviews61 followers
March 4, 2020
What a beautiful book.

The Grace Kelly Dress is a dual (actually triple) timeline story about a wedding gown that spans three generations of women.

Told from the perspectives of a mother and her daughter and the seamstress that crafted the dress, this novel takes you on a journey about the importance of family, friends, and true love.

I truly connected with each character in this book, which is a rarity for me. I loved Rocky’s edginess and her need to be uniquely her. I loved Joanie’s personality and her need to free herself from the entrapment of being someone she was not. I loved Rose’s character of embracing her true talent and to know that even though she felt excluded from so many things, that she was actually a huge part of something special.

The chapters of this book were short, flowing between each woman’s story. The book was a quick read and I was very invested in each characters’ story. This book wasn’t just about love, weddings, and the gorgeous gown every bride dreams of wearing. It was about embracing who you are and the people that surround you in life. Take nothing for granted.

TW: Drug Abuse/Overdose, Infidelity.

*I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.
Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,569 reviews330 followers
March 3, 2020
A historical novel seeded in traditions, family, love and the history of one particular dress that brings them all together.

I'm not quite sure I'm the exact right reader for this novel as we don't have a lot of traditions within my family and I've never been married. A lot of this didn't really resonate with me. But what I can relate to is the trying on of a dress and the intricacies of the mother/daughter dynamic. My mother and I took a long time for us to understand each other and my favorite thing about this book is Joan. Seeing her two timelines of when she was a young woman to the mother she is today really evokes the feel of how we, as daughters, need to understand they were once like us before we knew them. And I applaud the hard decision she had to make as I had to make that same decision once upon a time.

There are definitely a lot of cliches within this novel but it's what I needed in my reading journey at this time. Just a feel good story that feels human and something most can relate to.

3.5 stars for me.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,508 reviews615 followers
February 23, 2020
Three women in different generations all connecting to the same dress. Yes, please. What this book did so well was let a gorgeous dress shine in each of the timelines. My favorite was the earliest as the dress was being constructed with love in a design house in Paris. The seamstress (Rose) is using a lace adorned with rose designs to add beautiful design details. The reveal of her connection to the other two women was probably the most emotional moment of the book for me., although not a shocker. The other two timelines felt a bit shallow. I would have loved, for example, to know more about Rocky's father. Much time was spent on Joanie as the mother of the bride in 2020 and the actual bride in the 1980's. It was fun to imagine her dress with the same sleeves as the Princess Di dress. All in all, an entertaining read that reminds us of the importance of our connections to the past whether they be people or heirlooms.

Thank you to Harlequin-Graydon House and NetGalley for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lorilin.
757 reviews238 followers
February 24, 2020
In 1956, Grace Kelly fulfills every Disney dream imaginable and marries her real-life prince in a grand and luxurious wedding. Her elegant four-piece wedding gown becomes an instant inspiration to millions of brides around the world, and seamstresses are inundated with requests for wedding dresses in the gown’s likeness.


Two years later, Rose, an atelier in a small but renowned Parisian bridal shop, works with a young bride who has requested a dress very similar to Grace Kelly’s but with a modern edge. Rose is young but an excellent designer, so she feels up to the challenge. What she doesn’t expect is to be so attracted to the bride’s brother…who also happens to be engaged, yikes. After many emotional twists and turns, she’ll complete the dress—but her life will never be the same.

Fast forward sixty years, Rocky (born Rachel) is preparing for her own wedding. Her mother, Joan, insists that she wear the same Grace Kelly-inspired dress that was passed down to her, but Rocky wants no part of it. It’s not her, and though she doesn’t want to hurt her mom’s feelings, she just can’t reconcile this lacy, elegant gown with her short purple hair, tattoos, and edgy tech CEO personality. But what Rocky doesn’t understand is that her mother has her own reasons for wanting to keep the wedding dress in the family. It isn’t until Rocky works up the courage to tell Joan how she really feels that she finally learns why Joan has such strong feelings about Rocky’s wedding and, especially, the dress.

I don’t usually love historical fiction, but I devoured this book in a matter of hours. The writing is beautiful and surprisingly suspenseful. I was flipping pages like crazy, desperate to know how all the women’s stories would finally connect and come together. I loved seeing how the dress impacted all three generations of women, and I appreciated how unique each story was. What united all of them, though, was their drive to connect with and support the people they loved—not only their romantic partners, but, more powerfully, their mothers and sisters. It’s just a really beautiful book.

If you enjoy historical fiction even a little bit, I’m telling you, you NEED to read this one!
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,217 reviews
March 16, 2020
The only other book I've read by Brenda Janowitz was about a dysfunctional family having a Passover Seder. So I did not know what to expect from The Grace Kelly Dress, but I really enjoyed it and definitely need to go back and read more from this author.

The Grace Kelly Dress is a sweet story about different generations of women and the dress that connects them. I liked all three women (I couldn't even choose a favorite) and how their situations were timely, but also relatable. Sometimes their stories connected to one another, as well.

There was one question I had that was never answered, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. The chapters were short and had a lot of cliffhangers throughout. I didn't know much about Grace Kelly's dress, so that aspect was interesting too.

Overall, this is an engaging novel that you'll want to share with previous and future generations!

Movie casting ideas (I had a really hard time finding men to fit some of the key roles):
Rocky: Olivia Cooke
Rose: Ella Wahlestedt
Joanie: Julia Garner
Drew: Alex Landi
Diana: Ellie Bamber
Adult Joan: Gretchen Mol
4 reviews
March 15, 2020
This was more like a YA novel than an adult book. The characters and writing were simplistic and the chapters were just 2-3 pages. This was my first book by this author and I definitely won’t be reading any more of her stories.
Profile Image for Joan Nehls.
412 reviews
March 18, 2020
I was expecting a historical fiction but didn’t get one. Characters and storyline felt flat.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,524 reviews57 followers
Want to read
August 20, 2020
Thank you NetGalley and Graydon House for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Grace Kelly Dress
By: Brenda Janowitz

The Grace Kelly Dress was an elegant and lovely story. Three women in three different eras share a connection through the Grace Kelly wedding dress. I've always thought about objects and their memories. If the dress could speak, what would it say? Imagine the places, faces, drama, gossip and such the dress has been privy to. The concept is fascinating to me. Each of the three women have a love story to tell in their own distinct voices. Through time, there are commonalities and similarities shared by these women. Conversely, differences are also embedded in the womens' stories. Some things are universal and infinite. The author has created a wonderful tale about a special dress and its historical connection to three women. I greatly enjoyed reading The Grace Kelly Dress, and I bet you will, too!
789 reviews36 followers
August 17, 2019
I was of two minds about the book. Some of it was decent reading, but it seemed like Janowitz used some bizarre formula to pull it together. Facts changed, stereotypes were followed and then others were reversed. Let’s call the bride Rocky and her flirty, girly sister who is a lesbian, Amanda.

The story of 3 women and the beautiful gown they wore was just very bungled. Rose, the little seamstress grew up as an orphan in 1940’s Paris, but Janowitz fails to mention WW II, which might help us understand her personality and contextualize the setting. There are people who are relatives, then not relatives. The role of Michele is totally confusing.

Let’s add an adopted Korean, raised as a Jew to the mix...can’t leave anything out of this formulaic novel.

I had to take a deep breath and try to figure out the roles people played, how they got where they were and why so many stereotypical and unnecessary characters were tossed around.

I have liked other books by Janowitz but within a framework, full of potential, the author and editor have filled it with a mashup of types. It’s okay not to have every character type in the book. Better to keep identities stable and characters realistic.

Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this novel.
Profile Image for Gayle Tennant.
376 reviews2 followers
May 16, 2020
This wouldn't normally be a book I chose to read but the title caught my attention as I'm a Grace Kelly fan. I enjoyed the three generations of women as they each love and live their lives . The Grace Kelly copied wedding dress being the central theme. Its a light read for these times but has some themes we can appreciate.
Profile Image for Pam.
544 reviews20 followers
September 24, 2019
Cute. Light weight. Was just ok for me. I loved the author’s The Dinner Party so had high hopes. The book focuses on three women and one of the stories felt very incomplete to me like it was wrapped up quickly because Book was almost over. Overall kind of a let down.
Profile Image for Lori Spielman.
Author 21 books1,529 followers
May 4, 2020
I loved this clever, touching novel, where three generations of women share one common denominator: the Grace Kelly Dress. Brenda Janowitz weaves a romantic, heartfelt tale that will leave you smiling. I highly recommend!
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