Nyna Giles asked herself the same question as the tabloids: How could Princess Grace’s closest friend spend her last years in a homeless shelter? Carolyn Scott Reybold was a successful Ford model and the confidant who stood alongside Grace Kelly at the latter’s legendary wedding to Monaco’s Prince Rainier. But Giles barely recognizes the woman in the tabloids as the mother she knew. Suffering from an undiagnosed psychosis, Carolyn treated Nyna with simultaneous obsession and neglect.
Giles and Claxton present a remarkable and tragic story, seeking not Mommie Dearest-style opprobrium but rather a wistful reckoning. Amid the glamour of 1950s New York, Grace and Carolyn pursued independence through careers built on the fragile foundations of beauty and youth. Intertwining their stories with her own, Giles discovers empathy for her mother’s struggle even as she grapples with the shadows it cast over her own life. The poignant account blends a journalistic pursuit of truth with a novelist’s dramatic sensitivity, drawing the reader into a vivid portrayal of glamour and pain.
The Bridesmaid’s Daughter
By Nyna Giles & Eve Claxton
272 pages; $26.99 hardcover
St. Martin’s Press