Mistress of the Ritz

Melanie Benjamin. Delacorte, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-399-18224-2
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. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/01/2019
Release date: 05/21/2019
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-49272-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-49274-0
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