• Once Upon a Time

  • Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
  • By: J.Randy Taraborrelli
  • Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
  • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 05-30-03
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (55 ratings)

Regular price: $17.09

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Publisher's Summary

Actress Grace Kelly was swept away when the handsome Price Rainier, a man she barely knew, asked for her hand in marriage. If she married Rainier, she would be more than just a movie star, she would be Her Serene Royal Highness Princess Grace. Once in the palace, however, Grace found herself trapped in a fairy tale of her own making. Grace and Rainier may have been royalty, but they were also husband and wife, and parents, and, as such, just as vulnerable to the conflicts that can contaminate any household. Drawing upon hundreds of exclusive interviews with family and friends, Once Upon a Time portrays its subjects with passion and sympathy, revealing Grace, Rainier, Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie in ways both startling and compelling.
©2003 Rose Books (P)2003 Time Warner AudioBooks. a division on the AOL Time Warner Book Group.
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Critic Reviews

"Illuminating political intrigue and complex family dynamics...vivid, full-blooded portraits." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By e.grace on 04-30-14

Portrait of a Pristine Princess

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for a sanitized, understated almost picture perfect portrayal of Princess Grace. I have read more in-depth narrative and learned more history about subjects of bios and memoirs in Vanity Fair. I understand this was written with the cooperation of the Kelly family and in that respect serves as an honorable biography of her life.

What was most disappointing about J.Randy Taraborrelli’s story?

I would have liked to learn more about her years in Hollywood and the strides she made as an independent career woman back in the day. Much of her movie star romances and adventures were very glossed over and given more as facts---ones that would be able to be read on-line for instance and are public knowledge/old news. I was hoping also for more detail about her decision to give up her career and marry Prince Rainier. I didn't learn anything new about Grace Kelly,nothing more than I've read over a lifetime in various publications with guarded and carefully chosen public relations requirements.

What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

He was excellent. A good choice for this bio.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Once Upon a Time?

I would mention the chapter numbers when moving to the next. There is no announcement or reference of what chapter you are moving into or reading. Some people like to follow up with the physical book but there is no reference here. Also, the music bridges, while a nice touch are entirely too long between the chapter breaks. At some points I thought the book had ended.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Kathleen McKinney on 10-25-11

Like a lengthy "Vanity Fair" magazine article.

I wish this had been available in unabridged form-I hate abridged versions if I can avoid it. Having said that, this is pretty good. Edward Herrmann is an excellent narrator; it makes me think of the style & content of an article in "Vanity Fair" magazine, only longer. I was looking for something about the Ranier marriage that was not sensational; I got that. The author gives an introduction to the book & he is then interviewed (rather lengthy) after the book ends. It was published in 2003 so is not up to date on the death of Prince Ranier & the further doings of their children.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Alev Haddadieh on 10-07-16

Truly inspiring book.

I'm absolutely fascinated to learn about her commitments to Monaco and her family. Alas, I have finally figured out the meaning of love & marriage 'Obligation & commitment' & 'responsibility'. Life may not have turn the way she wished for.. However, she was a inspiring lady..

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5 out of 5 stars
By Bryan James on 10-06-16

Grace Kelly's most challenging role

Where does Once Upon a Time rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

At the top! It's a beautifully written and engagingly read story of Grace Kelly and her life as 'Princess Grace of Monaco' - her most challenging role and one that required all her acting skills and the personal qualities that made her a Hollywood star; talent, confidence and determination.

What did you like best about this story?

It takes the listener on a journey from her first meeting with Prince Rainier and the protracted conditions required for her to become Princess Grace of Monaco - from medical tests to determine her childbearing ability to the shock of having to pay a $2 million dowry, to her tragic death in 1982.

Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I haven't but I found him an excellent reader,

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There was a period when Grace became deeply depressed and considered leaving Rainier. Part of the marriage settlement stipulated that if the marriage failed she would have to leave the children behind. She asked her lawyer to look into it, report back and 'never mention it again'. Her lawyer told her it was Monaco law and she had agreed to it. So she came to terms with her situation and went on to have a deeper relationship with Prince Rainier, who was aware she had made many sacrifices to stay at his side and tried hard to make her happy. He even agreed to her making another film ('Marnie' with Alfred Hitchcock, which would have been totally unsuitable!). Strong protests from the people of Monaco after the announcement caused her to abandon the project.

Any additional comments?

A sensitive, often funny and illuminating book. (It also charts her childhood and Hollywood career.) It's respectful of the characters in the story but it's not afraid to reveal the truth behind the image of the 'fairy tale marriage'.

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