Friday, May 17, 2019

Book Review: Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin


Hi all,

I was thrilled to get the chance to read the latest novel by Melanie Benjamin, MISTRESS OF THE RITZ. I've enjoyed her books since THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE. Here is more about this newest novel and my review.


Mistress of the Ritz


Melanie Benjamin



Book Description:

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—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 Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets and lies. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For in order to survive—and strike a blow against their Nazi “guests”—Blanche and Claude must 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.

Release Date: May 21, 2019
Historical Women’s Fiction

Preorder now:



My 5-Star Review:

A beautifully written, powerful story of two extraordinary people who risked everything in a dangerous time in history. Author Melanie Benjamin has outdone herself with this historical fiction novel about Claude and Blanche Auzello, the director of the Ritz and his American wife during the occupation of Paris in WWII. These are two intriguing characters that Benjamin has brought back to life for readers to experience what they endured throughout the war.

I’ve read several other fictional novels set in this time period and also at the Ritz, and have heard of the Auzellos, so I was thrilled to be able to read more about their lives. With glamorous background characters like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and Marlene Dietrich, the Ritz comes alive, only to be trampled down by high ranking German soldiers who occupied the lavish rooms during the occupation. Through the author’s prose, the reader sees Paris disintegrate over time as the horrors of war takes its toll. But the people of France do not give up as the Resistance comes alive and the Auzellos do their part to help rid their beloved Paris of the Germans.

A must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction set during WWII.


About the Author:

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, tells the fascinating and timely story of the first true female partnership - and enduring friendship - in Hollywood, between the silent film star Mary Pickford and her collaborator (and first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Screenplay), Frances Marion. 
Her previous novels, THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, and THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, were New York Times, USA Today and IndieBound best sellers. Her first novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. Her next novel will be out in May, 2019. 

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.



More reviews of Melanie's work:

THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE

THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE


No comments:

Post a Comment

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews