Fiction,  Historical Fiction,  Melissa Ann

Book Review: Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

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Book Review: Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

The lowdown from Goodreads

Publication Date May 21st 2019

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

Book Review: Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

Intriguing, Memorable, Captivating

This novel took me to a time I don’t know much about. As a history student, I know the facts. But Melanie Benjamin takes us to the streets of Paris during the German occupation. Throughout her writing, I’m able to connect more with this time in history. When I think about this time, I’m able to visualize the characters I met in  Mistress of the Ritz.

I always love a book with secrets. Add in secrets in a marriage, & that makes for tension, drama & keeps me turning the pages. I know Sarah raves about Melanie Benjamin’s The Girls in The Picture. I can see why. There are books that are slow to engage. Mistress of the Ritz grabs me immediately.

THE VERDICT

I’m Really Into This book! History lovers & people watchers would love this Mistress of the Ritz. It’s rich with history, imagery, sacrifice & doing what our heart knows to be right.

Special thanks to Melanie BenjaminDelacorte Press & NetGalley for providing my copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MELANIE BENJAMIN

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin Book Review Melanie Benjamin | Photo by Deborah Feingold

Melanie Benjamin | Photo by Deborah Feingold

Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling historical novels The Swans of Fifth Avenue, about Truman Capote and his society swans, and The Aviator’s Wife, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Her upcoming historical novel, The Girls in the Picture, is about the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends—screenwriter Frances Marion and superstar Mary Pickford.

Her novels have been translated in over fifteen languages, featured in national magazines such as Good HousekeepingPeople, and Entertainment Weekly, and optioned for film.

Melanie is a native of the Midwest, having grown up in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she pursued her first love, theater. After raising her two sons, Melanie, a life-long reader (including being the proud winner, two years in a row, of her hometown library’s summer reading program!), decided to pursue a writing career. After writing her own parenting column for a local magazine, and winning a short story contest, Melanie published two contemporary novels under her real name, Melanie Hauser, before turning to historical fiction.

Melanie lives in Chicago with her husband, and near her two grown sons. In addition to writing, she puts her theatrical training to good use by being a member of the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. When she isn’t writing or speaking, she’s reading. And always looking for new stories to tell.

Momma, wife, baker, reader & smart ass. I am Really Into doughnuts, inside jokes, trash TV, pizza, 48 Hours & George Michael.

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