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Mistress of the Ritz

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  189 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.

In March 1940, the Nazis sweep Paris and immedi
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by Dell
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3.83  · 
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 ·  319 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Theresa Alan
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
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 married and the novel’s pres
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
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
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 Ironic 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
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
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
Susan Johnson
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tina Woodbury
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
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
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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.

Maine Colonial
I’m a voracious reader of WW2 fiction and non-fiction, I love Paris and I enjoyed Melanie Benjamin’s Swans of Fifth Avenue (though not so much The Girls in the Picture), so there was no chance I wasn’t going to read this book. On the other hand, I was underwhelmed by a recent book about The Ritz in World War II, Tilar Mazzeo’s The Hotel on Place Vendome. Because of those competing experiences, I went into this with a wait-and-see attitude.

The book started off a little too self-consciously porten
Laurie's Lit Picks
I have read most of Benjamin's historically based novels and enjoyed them all; this is another winner. This time around she focuses on the manager of the Ritz, Claude Auzello, and his wife Blanche. As famous people come in and out of the hotel, as the Nazis make this iconic residence a meeting spot for SS powers, and as danger lurks around every corner as the secret workings of the French Resistance occupy the workers, we see the inner workings of the Paris Ritz. What I found most fascinating ab ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough one. The premise sounds so promising. The novel is set at the Ritz in Paris, where Claude is the director. Blanche is his beautiful but unpredictable American wife. They spend most of their marriage fighting with each other. Claude thinks Blanche should be, in his eyes, the typical french wife. This includes cooking for him and allowing him to have a mistress. But then, war arrives and everything changes.

While I enjoyed this book, like many other readers have pointed out, it was
The Just-About-Cocky Ms M
This one really surprised me. I was skeptical of the shifting times and POVs, and the slow stage-setting, only to be mesmerized by how everything suddenly fit together, like a Flemish bond brick facade--elegant, perfect, and enduring.

And Paris was perfect. And so was the bitter, oppressive, and dangerous world of the Occupation that debilitated and destroyed both bodies and souls. This was not chick-lit or Harlequin WWII. At all.

More substantive review to follow. Thanks to NetGalley for a great
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A drama "'inspired' by a true story and real people."

I must admit that when I began reading Mistress of the Ritz I was unsure about how my response would pan out. By the end I was absolutely fascinated by American Parisian Blanche Ross Auzello's story. Of how she came to be involved with Claude Auzello, who become Director of the famed Ritz Hotel. And most importantly, Blanche's presence and impact at the Ritz.
The tone throughout the novel is right up there with, "The Germans wore grey. You wore
review to follow
Davida Chazan
Oh my! Watch this space for my review of this very special book!
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 remarkable stars!!

This is the story of Claude and Blanche Auzello during the occupation of Paris by the Nazis during WWII and just prior to that. Claude is the Director of the Ritz while his wife Blanche is called the “mistress of the Ritz.” Claude is very good at what he does. Blanche is a “reformed” flapper who loves it at the Ritz, but all is not well in her and Claude's marriage.

When Blanche meets Lily, she is entranced and appreciative of having a true woman friend with whom she can shar
Wendy Golding
I'm unsure of how I feel about this book and story. Almost the whole first half, character development, yes, but a lot of name dropping, was rather dull. However, it seemed to be necessary for the second half of the story about the three main characters; Blanche, Claude and The Ritz Hotel in Paris. It still surprises me, after reading so many books that take place during WW2, that I am still learning new things that happened then. I enjoyed the author's embellishment of the lives she invented fo ...more
Dawn Michelle
First I must say, that I typically like Melanie Benjamin's books. I have read three and of those, I only seriously disliked one. I have two in the wings, and after this bit of trite rubbish, I will not be pushing them to the head of the line any time soon.

I like a little more history with my historical fiction. Real history. Not made-up "history" so one can have a "big fat juicy story" [the author states this multiple times at the end of the book]. And if one has to actually make-up history to
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was really different from other WWII books I’ve read (a good thing)!

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

There is a seemingly endless supply of books set somewhere and sometime during World War II, which makes it rather difficult to find stories that take a new approach to the setting and are able to introduce something that hasn't been seen before. Mistress of the Ritz was a refreshing take on this time period and I truly enjoyed following the characters in this book as they nav
Feb 25, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Mistress of the Ritz is an interesting story. A married couple, Blanche and Claude, run The Ritz in Paris. During the
WWII occupation of Paris, Nazis billeted the Ritz. Imagine catering to people you despise. The story is told from different perspectives which is intriguing. It's always nice to understand how different characters view the same situation. It's a well written thoughtful story about a couple doing their best with the hotel and their marriage during a terrible time. It's a good piec
Jen LaRowe
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received a free copy through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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
Kimberly Mussell
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Melanie Benjamin never disappoints! Her prose and her heartfelt story lines pull you into the story. Not only are you a voyeur of the story, but you become part of the story.
I have not loved a character in such a long time as I do Blanche. Knowing this is based on true events, makes it even better. 5 stars across the board. Thank you NetGalley and thank you Melanie!!!!
Deidre Butkus
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGallery. Blanche’s story is one that I’ve read many times while reading about the Resistance that took place during WWII. But Blanche’s story is different. She is married to Claude, who is the director of The Ritz in Paris during the war. German soldiers take The Ritz as their home, leaving the two vulnerable. The story splits its chapters between Blanche and Claude’s stories and how they keep secrets from one another, but at the end of the day th ...more
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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

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