Mistress of the Ritz: A Novel
As Melanie Benjamin states at the end of her novel, Mistress of the Ritz “is ‘inspired’ by a true story and real people, rather than based on them” due to the lack of historical information available; as a result, Benjamin was forced to make up more than she has done so far in her career. Mistress of the Ritz is a masterful story of a marriage set against the dramatic backdrop of Nazi-occupied France.
The so-called Mistress of the Ritz, Blanche Auzello, and her husband, Claude, run the Ritz in 1940 when the Nazis overtake Paris and establish operations at the iconic hotel. But the couple’s marriage faced trials and problems long before that. And as their marriage breaks further, ground like Paris under the boot-heel of occupation, both will discover things about themselves and one another that neither suspected.
This story is powerful, heartbreaking, even head-spinning at times with how it moves about in time, and, above all, hugely enjoyable. While World War II novels have worn me out a little lately, this one, when seen through the eyes of a splintering marriage, felt less like a war story than a love story during a war. Mistress of the Ritz should not be missed.
|Page Count||384 pages|
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