Julie's Reviews > Mistress of the Ritz

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin
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really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, own, signed-copy

Is there any hotel as famed as the Ritz in Paris? Benjamin presents the little-known story of its director, Claude Auzello, and his American flapper wife Blanche. When Nazis take over the hotel during the occupation of the city, the Auzello’s whole existence changes. Their occasionally petulant but passionate marriage becomes even more strained. Little do they know that their spouse is contributing to the Resistance. Claude and Blanche keep their involvement from one another for fear of risking the other’s life. Blanche thinks Claude is having affairs while Claude thinks Blanche is being a careless, drunk busybody. Inevitably, their secrets become their undoing. It is only when you almost lose something that you realize its true value, whether it’s a hotel, freedom, or even your wife.

Set against the splendor of the Ritz and full of larger-than-life characters, Benjamin delivers another great piece of historic fiction. She captured the atmosphere and the opulence, and I enjoyed rubbing elbows with Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway at the bar. Despite the luxury, the harsh realities of war are a constant reminder that everyone has something at stake, something to protect, and something to grieve. The Auzello’s story is a perfect example of that.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

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Reading Progress

February 9, 2019 – Shelved
February 9, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 9, 2019 – Shelved as: own
February 9, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
February 10, 2019 – Started Reading
February 11, 2019 –
page 133
February 14, 2019 – Finished Reading
February 21, 2019 – Shelved as: signed-copy

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