Today I’m ecstatic to bring you a review of Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin, one of my favorite historical fiction authors! A huge thank you to Wunderkind PR, Random House, and Delacorte Press for my gifted copy. Every book I’ve read by Benjamin has been one to savor.
Oh, how I love love love a Melanie Benjamin book!
The Ritz is a glorious hotel in France where the rich and famous stay. Blanche, an American, and Claude Auzello, her French husband, have welcomed into their hotel the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Chanel. Their busy work lives keep them from facing their challenging marriage.
In June 1940, the Nazis arrive in Paris, and of all places, they set up their headquarters at the Ritz. Now living amongst top Nazi officials, the Auzellos’ marriage is in more trouble than ever. You see, Blanche joins the French Resistance while living in the lions’ den.
Will Blanche, Claude, their marriage, and the Ritz survive the war?
Mistress of the Ritz is edgy and suspenseful from the start. Even though I was vaguely familiar with the Ritz being a headquarters for the Nazis, I did not “know” the Auzellos, and their characters and storyline captivated me. To think their marriage was troubled, and not only a war, but a complete takeover of their hotel by the Nazis brought them closer together.
I was completely immersed in the setting, especially on site at the Ritz. I could feel and experience the luxury, glitz, and glamour. The story of this couple and all that Blanche took on was extremely compelling, and I loved all the well-developed characters. The celebrity sightings were always fun as well (Picasso!).
Melanie Benjamin is a skillful storyteller. She takes her time in building her stories, which completely works for me because she gets the details just right. Benjamin’s writing flows and is so easy-to-read, and I remain ever a fan.
Overall, this is a beautifully-written. engaging, and powerful book, and it gets my highest recommendation for fans of historical fiction.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II–while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hotel Ritz in Paris–from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.
Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel’s director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests–and each other.
Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.
But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone–the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.
Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.
About the Author:
Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE and THE AVIATOR’S WIFE, as well as the national bestseller ALICE I HAVE BEEN, and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB and THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE. MISTRESS OF THE RITZ, a captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris – will be out in May of 2019.
Have you read Mistress of the Ritz, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR