Mistress of the Ritz


Melanie Benjamin is the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, and Alice I Have Been. Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

The Mistress of the Ritz will lure you in, just as Blanche and Claude lured the elite, wealthy, and well known, into the posh Ritz Hotel; with “her” tapestries, works of art, chandeliers, sumptuous dining, and decadent decor. The Ritz holds her own place in the cast of characters in this revealing tale of love and war. Because where else would the duchesses and princesses find bathrooms in each suite, and telephones and electricity throughout ?

“No one knows anything, while seeing, hearing everything. This is how it is in Paris these days. ”

The lives of the French people became divided into two distinct sections: how they lived and saw people and situations before the German invasion, and how this all changed after the invasion in 1940. This same distinction was evident in the life of the Ritz, her guests and the debonair French manager, Claude, and his wife, Blanche, the American actress & flapper.

As history unfolds with the 1942 tragedy of Vel d’Hiv, the lives of the Parisians and especially, the Jews, change forever. Blanche and Claude are living out their marriage in the Ritz, surrounded by Germans. Relegated to the far side of the hotel, they must live under the constant surveillance and scrutiny of the German officers and the hotel staff, as they continue to host guests and serve the Germans; never sure who’s who.

With the daily disappearances of staff, familiar faces of guests and friends; Blanche and Claude must each find a sense of purpose in this new life. Claude and Blanche love each other,madly, but can they trust each other, implicitly? With the help of friends like Blanche’s Lily and Claude’s contact, Martin, and the dependable barkeep, Frank, the bonds of marriage are stretching quite thin as the Parisians wait and watch for the coming of the Americans and always, always, counting on the Resistance.

The love and life of Blanche and Claude on full display at the Ritz; along with the daily developments of the war will keep you aching to know who merely survives the war, who lives and dies, but mostly how do they “go on with life?” What purpose can war serve?

So many believed, “Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz. The Ritz will provide. The Ritz will protect…. But will it now? Now that its famous front door is manned not by a top-hatted doorman in a black overcoat, but a Nazi soldier? “

The Mistress of the Ritz is highly recommended; a 5 Star hotel and a 5 Star read.

Reviews Coming Soon:

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/572987/the-last-year-of-the-war-by-susan-meissner/9780451492159/

The Beautiful Strangers by Camille di Maio https://www.camilledimaio.com/the-beautiful-strangers

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