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Mistress of the Ritz

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,194 ratings  ·  537 reviews
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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by Delacorte Press
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3.81  · 
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 ·  2,194 ratings  ·  537 reviews

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4.5 stars

"How can you recognize a Semite?" Throw her in the back of a Nazi truck with her hands tied too tightly behind her back, and point a German gun at her head."

Ahh, the Ritz. A grand and glamorous hotel which hosts Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald to name a few. It is the place to see and be seen. It is where Blanche Auzello, who is American, and her French Husband and Hotel Director, Claude Auzello live. They use the glamour of the Ritz to mask the trouble in their m
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
When the Nazi’s occupied Paris the Luftwaffe (including Hermann Goering) took over half of the Ritz as their headquarters. The other half was inhabited by civilians among them Coco Chanel. The director of the hotel (Frenchman Claude Auzello) and his American wife (Blanche) are forced to continue to operate the hotel to the usual stellar standards in order to survive. Based on a true story that is mostly unknown, Mistress of the Ritz fictionalizes the marriage and resistance work undertaken by th ...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
4.5 stars!

A mesmerizing and atmospheric tale centered around the Hotel Ritz in Paris during WWII.

Claude Auzello is the director of the Hotel Ritz where he and his wife, Blanche, reside. They have a tumultuous relationship, Blanche constantly feeling Claude’s attention is focused on everything but her. Blanche spends her days mingling with the glamourous guests who visit the hotel, while Claude caters to his guests every whim. Never a dull moment within the walls of the hotel, Blanche takes it al
Norma * Traveling Sister
Captivating, affecting, & illuminating!

MISTRESS OF THE RITZ by MELANIE BENJAMIN is an engaging, suspenseful, and hauntingly beautiful historical fiction novel that totally captures something extraordinary here as well as fully capturing my heart. I was immediately taken with this story and found myself totally mesmerized and in awe of MELANIE BENJAMIN’S ability to weave such a fantastic story that is based on real-life people and actual historical events with her own liberties of juicy ficti
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I expect three things from historical fiction:
•A good story
•The ability to paint a picture so true I feel immersed in the time and place
•To learn something I previously didn’t know.

The Mistress of the Ritz manages all three. Based on true events, the Auzellos are the “master and mistress of the Ritz”, he the manager of the famous hotel. The story gives us their history from their tempestuous beginning through their 17 years of marriage when the Nazis arrive in Paris and take over the hotel. And
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I love love love a Melanie Benjamin book! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I’m sure many of us knew that the Nazis claimed hotels in their occupied areas, but have you heard about the Auzellos?

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 Par
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
This novel takes place during the Nazi’s occupation of Paris. I was quite aware of this part of history but this book talks pretty specifically about the Ritz. It’s a very interesting piece of history which is “inspired” by true events. Quoting the author “So I would say that Mistress of the Ritz more than any of my other novels, is “inspired” by a true story and real people, rather than based on them. With so few details to go on -- and so few true glimpses into Blanche and Claude’s characters, ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ah, the Ritz Paris. Doesn’t it bring to mind glitz, glamour and opulence? The iconic hotel is as much a character in this book as are Claude and Blanche Auzello, the hotel director and his American born wife. In the pre-WWII years, the hotel was in its glory and the Ritz was a symbol of the finest in luxury and elegance.

The book opens in 1923 when Blanche and Claude meet, and they eventually marry. Blanche is an American-born flapper, headstrong and independent, while Claude is a traditional Fre
Theresa Alan
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
American Blanche falls for Frenchman Claude. After a brief, dizzying, whirlwind romance, they marry. The bliss quickly turns to petty fights, in part because of their different cultural upbringings. However, they both enjoy the glitz of the Ritz in Paris, where Claude is the hotel’s director. They revel in hobnobbing with the likes of Hemingway and Coco Chanel and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But when Nazi’s take over the hotel during World War II, Claude has keep his disdain and anger toward them to hi ...more
Brenda - Traveling Sister
4.5 Stars

I read Mistress of the Ritz with a few of our Traveling Sisters and we all really enjoyed this one with us having similar thoughts on it.

An extraordinary real-life American woman, a proper Frenchman and a glamorous Iconic hotel

Mistress of The Ritz explores the lives of brash and reckless real life Blanche and proud Claude Auzello The Mistress and Master of the Ritz. The story starts off slow and it’s all about the characters here. The story delves into their marriage where secrets and
My first and only read from Melanie Benjamin was The Aviator's Wife and I enjoyed it so much that I knew I needed to read her latest. I join quite a few before me who thought the later half of the book was the strongest and what ultimately redeemed this book overall.

Claude and Blanche Auzello run The Ritz hotel in Paris, during the Nazi occupation of German forces of WWII. The book begins with the Nazi's using the hotel as their headquarters and are forced to serve and live alongside their capto
Writing and reading historical fiction is often a difficult task. The author often travels a fine line between what is real and what is imagined in the lines of a book. It can be hard for a reader to fully appreciate a story when the details are frequently overused and murky. However in this book, Melanie Benjamin has been able to capture a piece of history and make it into an interesting story that was much enjoyed by Jan and I.

I so enjoy an historical fiction book that when completed has me s
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A compelling read about a marriage set against the backdrop of World War II and the glamorous Ritz Hotel in Paris, France. Claude's infidelity and Blanche's brash American attitude cause troublesome times as the couple struggle with their marriage and manage life in the face of war. The couple is hiding one huge secret that would place them both in the crosshairs of the Germans. Claude, as the director of the hotel, has to bow and scrape to the Germans in order to keep his job

Benjamin's prose fl
Stephanie (Stephanie's Novel Fiction)
rounded up to 4.5 stars

I knew when Melanie Benjamin was writing a book set in Paris, one of my most beloved cities in the world and at the sumptuous Hotel Ritz on the Place Vendome no less, that I wanted to read it! Throw in the fact that it's set during WWII, and this was a must-read book for me.

Mistress of the Ritz is a fictionalized account of the lives of husband and wife Claude and Blanche Auzello, shifting time between the 1920s, when the couple met in a whirlwind love affair and got marri
Davida Chazan
When it comes to the French Resistance of WWII, the names Blanche and Claude Auzello aren’t all that well-known. Thankfully, Melanie Benjamin has just written a biographical, historical fiction novel about them, and especially about Blanche, who during the Nazi occupation of Paris, was known as the “Mistress of the Ritz” and she was the wife of the hotel’s manager, Claude. You can find my review of this amazing book on my blog here (Thanks for the free book, @PRHGlobal/@prhinternational.) https: ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
As is often the case when I read historical fiction, this book made me want to read some actual history about the people or events depicted in the novel. Unfortunately, it seems that there is very little information about Claude Auzello and his American-born wife Blanche. Claude managed the Hotel Ritz in Paris during World War II and he and Blanche both lived in the hotel. The author didn’t have many facts to go on, but she still managed to create an interesting story about Paris during the war ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4 French Resistance stars to this historical fiction tale

A fascinating glimpse of what life was like at the Paris Ritz during the German occupation and American liberation. We get to know Claude, the French manager of the Ritz and his American wife Blanche. Their tempestuous marriage is chronicled in this historical fiction story by Melanie Benjamin. Part of their issues stem from cultural differences, part result because they aren’t completely honest with each other.

There are many famous patron
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've long been a fan of Melanie Benjamin's writing and absolutely loved Mistress of the Ritz. The story is based on true events during the Nazi occupation of Paris and is a pageturner! Melanie Benjamin is a fabulous storyteller and all her research shines in this book!
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Melanie Benjamin excels at doing the necessary research and writing novels that have real people as the main it Anne Lindbergh, Mary Pickford or Truman Capote. In her novel "The Mistress of the Ritz", she introduces us to the little known true story of Blanche and Claude Auzello during the WWII German occupation of Paris. Claude is the director of the Ritz Hotel. Blanche ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first novel that I have read by Melanie Benjamin, I am ashamed to say, but it surely will not be my last. Mistress of the Ritz drew me in right from the start. I loved the way Melanie Benjamin developed her characters. If I closed my eyes, it would have been easy for me to picture Blanche and Claude Aurello as they were during the years of 1923 when their story first began through 1945 with the Nazi occupation of Paris and how it changed each one of them. I must admit that I had neve ...more
I received a digital review copy of Mistress of the Ritz from publicist Ariel McCarter. I decided to review this book because it deals with the French Resistance during World War II.

Protagonist Blanche Auzello seemed somewhat superficial to me as the novel opened. She experiences growth as a result of meeting Lily, an eccentric political radical. My favorite character in Mistress of the Ritz was Lily. Lily is in the historical record, but almost nothing is known about her. So she is very nearly
Tina Woodbury
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This book opens with Claude and Blanche Auzello returning home to Nazi-occupied Paris. Their first stop is the Ritz, a place they call home, and Claude is the director. They are shocked and saddened to discover that it has been overrun by Germans and that they have been displaced in their own home.

This book spans two decades and is told in alternating POV’s between Claude and Blanche. We learn how they meet, their quick courtship, marriage and so on.

Claude and Blanche’s marriage ran hot and cold
Susan Johnson
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I think this is the best of Melanie Benjamin's novels. She writes about the rich and famous and sometimes tends to go overboard on her appreciation and admiration of them. This is slightly different. It is the story of Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the director of the Ritz Hotel in Paris before and during WWII. But for fans don't worry. There are plenty of rich and famous staying at the Ritz including Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald and not too many Jews to spoi ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-publishers
Based on true events. The novel is set in the twenties and thirties in the Hotel Ritz in Paris. The hotel is favored by the likes of Hemingway, Coco Chanel and F.Scott Fitzgerald and run by Claude Auzello and his American wife Blanche. Everything is glitz and glamour at the Ritz until the German Army sets up headquarters inside. What follows changes their lives. A suspenseful and intriguing story of little known Blanche Auzello, a brash American secretly working for the French Resistance while h ...more
Lisa Leone-campbell
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Melanie Benjamin's well researched historical novels have mostly been about popular characters such as Truman Capote and Mary Pickford. In Mistress of the Ritz she veers from this and tells the story of a couple not well known outside of a small circle in France, but what an amazing story she happened to stumble upon.

Blanche and Claude Auziello have lived a very charmed life in Paris, France. He as the director of the Ritz and she as the Ritz's designated mistress who charms guests such as Coco
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a great story! Love the book cover!
This is a work of fiction, inspired by the nonfictional account " The Hotel on Place Vendrome" written by Tilar J. Mazzeo, which describes the events that happened at the Ritz under Nazi occupation and the people involved, including famous guests, employees and the manager, Claude Auzello and his American wife, Blanche.
I was captivated by the whirlwind romance of our protagonists and the day to day life of running the fabulous Ritz hotel in Paris. Although
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Hmmm. I finished this book days ago and realized I hadn't written down my thoughts - lots of which I've forgotten :)

WWII and French Resistance is a topic I should have been all over, but this just didn't grab me. The alternating narratives was a distraction for me, even when the author pulled all the threads together (it took forever to get there, and I was losing interest). I didn't find myself engaged enough with the main characters to care much what happened, plus all the name-dropping of fam
May 28, 2019 marked it as dnf
I had to put this one down. After about 80 pages, I just wasn’t interested in the story.
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
As a big fan of WW2 historical fiction MISTRESS OF THE RITZ was a must read for me. I've previously read THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE by Melanie Benjamin and it's a fabulous book and I was looking forward to reading a new book by the author.

One of the reasons why I love historical fiction is we get to read a-not-so-famous person in a book and we get curious about that person. I do remember reading a little bit of Blanche Rubeinstein Auzello somewhere - either in a novel or article - and I wanted to know more about her. Blanche and the Ritz – somehow this two are still tied together even today.

I was so excited when I receive this copy from NetGalley that I can finally read her story – fiction or not.

Blanche is an American spirited
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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 d ...more