Thursday, May 26, 2022

Mistress of the Ritz-Book Review

 


This book was introduced to me by a friend who read it for her book club.  She said it was a book all the club enjoyed.  After reading it, I can see why.  It has everything I like in a story: history, romance, secrets and true to life characters.  The story is inspired by the true life story of Claude and Blanchette Auzello.  Claude was the French director of the Ritz and Blanche was his American wife.


The Story Line

This compelling novel takes us to the glamor of the Ritz and introduces us to all the wonderful characters who enter its doors.  We see bits with Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more memorable characters from the 1940's.

The story begins in the 1920's when Claude Auzello meets Blanche, an American who has come to Paris in the hopes of becoming an actress.  Claude sweeps Blanche off her feet and they settle into life at the Ritz, where Claude becomes the director.  Life at the Ritz is glamorous and the guests are pampered by Claude and his staff.  Blanche enjoys meeting all of the memorable characters in the Ritz bar.

Life goes along at the Ritz with the glamor of the place and the work of Claude putting a tamper on their marriage.  Blanche and Claude get along but sometimes their differences also draw them apart with each of them living their own lives and keeping secrets.  Everything changes in June 1940 when the Nazi's invade Paris and take over the Ritz as their headquarters.  The Ritz staff is kept but moved to the back of the building and now must cater to the Nazi's every wish, all the while being afraid of every move they make.  

I don't want to spoil more of the plot but the French Resistance plays a big part in the rest of the book and secrets are kept, even from those they are closest to.

The Book on Amazon



My Thoughts on the Book

I really enjoyed the book.  It is the first book I had read by Melanie Benjamin, and I will certainly check out more of her books.  I highly recommend this compelling book.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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7 comments:

  1. Wow, this sounds like a fascinating story, Mary Beth. I like the history angle, especially where The Ritz becomes Nazi headquarters after the invasion of Paris. European history during World War II has always fascinated me. Thanks for introducing me to this book.

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  2. I love history, especially anything about World II. This sounds like something I would really like to read. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  3. This sounds like a book I would enjoy as well. I love that period of history and have read many books written about that time. So many twists and turns are happening during upheavals in people's lives. I'm sure I would enjoy this book, thanks Mary Beth for putting it on my radar!

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  4. Sounds like a fascinating story with a fabulous setting. I would hate to live in an "occupied" situation during a war, never really knowing who your could trust or who might betray you to save their own lives. Somehow I don't think Paris would be quite as enchanting under Nazi rule and occupation. I would imagine this would be a spellbinding novel.

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  5. This sounds like a wonderful, thought-provoking, can’t-put-it-down novel based on Claude and Blanche’s true life story. Thanks so much for introducing me to it!

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  6. Another book that sounds wonderful - eventually I'm going to become a reader of fiction. I'm amazed how all of you avid readers can read so many books!

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  7. I think i would enjoy this book. With its historical background and wonderful setting, well thought out, true to life characters and adding in some romance it sounds fascinating. Thank you for this great review!

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