Mistress of the Ritz: A Novel
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Random House Publishing Group 2019
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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."A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within."—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network 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.Advance praise for Mistress of the Ritz"No one writes of the complexities of women's lives and loves like Melanie Benjamin. In Mistress of the Ritz, Benjamin brings wartime Paris brilliantly to life. . . . Intense, illuminating, and ultimately inspiring!"—Elizabeth Letts, New York Times bestselling author of Finding Dorothy
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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/21/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780399182259
ASIN:
B07GVQFPFF
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Date Added:
May 17, 2019 15:09:09
Date Updated:
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      • value: spy
      • value: Historical Fiction
      • value: France
      • value: WWII
      • value: espionage
      • value: Historical Romance
      • value: History
      • value: World War 2
      • value: French resistance
      • value: Paris
      • value: F. Scott Fitzgerald
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      • value: spy novels
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      • value: suspense books
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      • value: gifts for mom
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      • bioText: Melanie Benjamin is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls in the Picture, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, The Aviator's Wife, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, and Alice I Have Been. Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.
      • name: Melanie Benjamin
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title
Mistress of the Ritz
fullDescription
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.

"A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within."—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network
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.
Advance praise for Mistress of the Ritz
"No one writes of the complexities of women's lives and loves like Melanie Benjamin. In Mistress of the Ritz, Benjamin brings wartime Paris brilliantly to life. . . . Intense, illuminating, and ultimately inspiring!"—Elizabeth Letts, New York Times bestselling author of Finding Dorothy
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2018

        Notable for historical fiction often drawing on real-life characters or events, Benjamin checks into the Paris Ritz, run by free-spirited American Blanche Auzello and her serious-minded director husband, Claude. The hotel's high-flying glamour can't mask tensions (owing partly to buried secrets) that plague the couple--or the trouble that comes when the Germans march into town and make the Ritz their headquarters. Following the LJ-starred The Girls in the Picture.

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from March 18, 2019
        This impeccably researched, lyrically told historical about a brash American woman and her French husband during WWII is a remarkable achievement. Blanche Ross Auzello doesn’t care for being a proper, quiet wife, much to the dismay of her somewhat stuffy husband, Claude, the manager of Paris’s luxurious Hotel Ritz. In June 1940, Claude returns from military service to find that a host of high-ranking Nazi soldiers have commandeered the hotel as their Paris headquarters. For the next four years, he and Blanche play unwilling hosts to the Germans—and, unbeknownst to each other, both begin working in the French Resistance. They narrowly avoid disaster until immediately before the Americans liberate Paris, when Blanche gets into trouble Claude can’t resolve, and a shocking secret about Blanche’s past is revealed. Benjamin (The Aviator’s Wife) skillfully weaves in a host of historical figures—including Coco Chanel, alleged to be a Nazi sympathizer, and Ernest Hemingway—whose vibrant presences make Benjamin’s protagonists and engaging group of supporting characters shine all the more. Even readers who aren’t big fans of historical fiction might be swayed by this outstanding tale. Agent: Laura Langlie, Laura Langlie Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2019
        An American ex-flapper and a Parisian hotelier weather the German takeover of the Paris Ritz.Benjamin's new novel is a lively portrait of the opulent grand hotel which drew Picasso, Hemingway, Cole Porter--and Hermann Göring. In fact, more than a year before June 14, 1940, when invading Germans marched down the Champs Elysees, Göring and others were visiting Paris hotels to vet future Nazi headquarters. As the Occupation wears on, hotel director Claude Auzello and his American wife, Blanche, find it increasingly difficult to maintain their facade as the happily married team who run the Ritz. Their relationship was already challenged by Claude's announcement that he had reserved Thursday nights for his mistress. In his insistence that infidelity is a French male privilege, Claude can be insufferable, and Blanche, over the years, has been known to desert him, temporarily. On one such escapade, she befriends Lily, a young radical who goes off to fight in the Spanish Civil War before returning to Paris to draw Blanche into the Resistance. Blanche is disappointed by Claude's apparent willingness to toady to the Nazis who have become the Ritz's most privileged guests (along with a certain high-profile collaboratrice, Coco Chanel). The narrative ricochets between the 1920s, when the couple met, and the novel's present: the Occupation and its antecedents. Thanks to alternating points of view, readers are mostly privy to the secrets Blanche and Claude keep from one another. However, the delay in revealing the most critical secret of all, far from enhancing suspense, hamstrings the full exposition of Blanche as a character. The Auzellos were real people, and the facts of their lives are only a Google away. As Benjamin points out in her author's note, the Auzellos' story, though captivating, has not been often told, and the record is sparse. Benjamin hews closely to what is known, but the fully realized humanity of the Auzellos gets lost in the unknown--the realm where novelistic imagination is required.The Ritz itself is the most well-rounded character here.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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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.

"A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within."—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network
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,...
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Random House Publishing Group