Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin (Author)
A thrilling tale about the female spy who worked for the French Resistance in secret during World War II. At the same time, her double identity was a hostess for the Germans who invaded the country and stayed at the Hotel Ritz of Paris. Melanie Benjamin is also the author of the bestsellers The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife.
Ritz is the utopia of Paris: only good things happen here as it is frequented by favored guests, the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Duke, and Duchess of Windsor, Ernest Hemingway, or Coco Channel. The property is owned by Blanche Auzello and directed by her husband, Claude. The couple uses the glitz and glamour of the hotels and parties to gloss over their troubled marriage. Inside its hall, many secrets are kept from each other.
1940, the German army invades the country and sets Ritz as its headquarter. Once occupied only by royalty, now the suites of the hotel become a bedroom for the likes of Hermann Goering. More secrets and lies ensue, which threaten their shattered love life even more. The beautiful reckless American woman now has to deceive people in order to survive. Eventually, Ritz falls upon the heaviness of the people live inside it.
The mistress of the Ritz is a suspense that is based on true events. Spanning for decades, it is a love story that shows how a man and a woman find the best in each other amidst war.
Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.
While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.
By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, tells the fascinating and timely story of the first true female partnership - and enduring friendship - in Hollywood, between the silent film star Mary Pickford and her collaborator (and first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Screenplay), Frances Marion.
Her previous novels, THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, and THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, were New York Times, USA Today and IndieBound best sellers. Her first novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. Her next novel will be out in May, 2019.
She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--
“A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within . . . At the glittering height of the twenties and thirties, suave French hotel manager Claude Auzello has turned the Ritz into the jewel of Paris, installing his brash American wife, Blanche, as queen among the movie stars, fashion icons, and crowned heads who make up the hotel guests. But the Auzello marriage is rocked by infidelity and turmoil even as the Nazi shadow rises in Germany, and when the Ritz becomes Third Reich headquarters in occupied Paris, France’s ultimate power couple must decide if they will weather the storm together or crumble under the oppression and brutality of war. High fashion, royal gossip, political scheming, and French Resistance sabotage all swirl together to make Mistress of the Ritz a cocktail as irresistible as anything served at the hotel’s bar!”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
“No one writes of the complexities of women’s lives and loves like Melanie Benjamin. In Mistress of the Ritz, Benjamin brings wartime Paris brilliantly to life—and brings home the terrible dilemmas and moral conundrums forced upon occupied citizens by the war. Blanche Auzello is a martini-soaked flapper with a heart of steel. Benjamin’s fascinating story brings this forgotten heroine vividly to life without flinching from the high price paid by those who fought back against the Nazi scourge. Intense, illuminating, and ultimately inspiring!”—Elizabeth Letts, New York Times bestselling author of Finding Dorothy
“In Mistress of the Ritz, Melanie Benjamin illuminates the little-known story of Blanche Auzello, the fiery American who, along with her French husband, secretly worked for the French Resistance while hosting senior German officials at their storied hotel. This meticulously researched and richly told story could only have been penned by Melanie Benjamin—already an icon of historical fiction, she has truly outdone herself. Important and inspiring!”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
“This impeccably researched, lyrically told historical about a brash American woman and her French husband during WWII is a remarkable achievement. . . . Benjamin 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.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Benjamin’s new novel is a lively portrait of the opulent grand hotel which drew Picasso, Hemingway, Cole Porter—and Hermann Göring.”—Kirkus Reviews