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  • Good read

    I enjoyed the book, however as the author said, she was “inspired”by the research as there was limited information available in the archives, so, much of the story was the authors take. However, it was an excellent read with very interesting characters.

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  • What a compelling tale!

    Mistress of the Ritz is a historical novel based on the actual lives of Frenchman Claude Auzello, in the early 1920s the assistant manager of the Hotel Claridge in Paris, and American actress (though not in great demand) Blanche Ross, who meet in Paris in 1923 and marry - perhaps too quickly - shortly thereafter. On the day Blanche accepts his marriage proposal, Claude is called by widow Marie-Louise Ritz for an interview for the position of assistant manager of the world-famous Hotel Ritz on the Place Vendome, Paris, making him what he considers to be the luckiest man in the world. As he is passing Blanche on his way out for the interview, she teases him with advice - to demand the position of manager, as he is not an "assistant" anything. Though he is not normally an overly confident man he does as Blanche suggests. Elderly Mrs. Ritz, tickled by his spunk, laughingly agrees and hires him. This was his dream-come-true, to manage the Paris Ritz. Claude is walking on air as he and Blanche marry. But the honeymoon trip is a comedic farce, and American flapper Blanche is not a typical, docile French woman nor will she tolerate the French lifestyle Claude takes for granted. Blanche doesn't cook or clean, she is not willing to give up her American friends just because Claude wishes it, nor will she tolerate the traditional ban on women at the Ritz bar, and even Claude does not expect her to sit quietly in the background in the public rooms of the Ritz. And Claude, an excellent, competent manager and concierge of the most famous Hotel in Europe - no, the world! - finds himself completely overwhelmed and outgunned by the former Miss Ross. When he as a last resort moves them into the hotel and decides to just sit back and watch, life improves for them both. They dine often in the hotel dining room or go out for meals, and Blanche sets herself up in a corner of the bar and people watches, gossips, laughs, and tipples while Claude works. Within days she is the darling of the employees and sought out by visitors of the Ritz. In mere weeks she is known far and wide as the Mistress of the Ritz. She becomes a favorite of the worldly visitors of 1920s and 1930s Paris - Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Cole Porter, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich (though Claude stands firm on the ban of even these women in trousers in the bar), Gertrude Stein and her friend Alice, Coco Chanel. Anyone who is someone in the world of the arts. And then Germany overruns France and invades Paris, the German military setting up their headquarters in the Ritz. Claude decided that the only thing he can do is protect the reputation of the Ritz by maintaining the standards set by Cesar Ritz, even in these impossible times. He spends his days accommodating the German hierarchy - guests despite the fact that they are not welcome guests - and keeping the hotel to the high standards demanded of the best of the best, standards set by Cesar and Marie-Louise in every Ritz hotel in the world. No matter how hard it is, no matter how perturbed Blanche becomes at his servile attitude with the German military, he will continue to do his best to accommodate the 'guests'. And the Ritz is one of the few quality Paris hotels that are allowed to accept guests other than the military overlords though those old classic artistic guests are no longer in Paris while the world is at war. But can the Ritz - and the Auzello's - survive the occupation of France? Is there a happily-ever-after for Claude and Blanche? Only time will tell. I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Melanie Benjamin, and Dell Publishing. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this book of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.

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  • Mistress of the Ritz

    I enjoyed the book andvearn about how the ritz was abused during the war

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  • An inspiring story of two brave people

    Thanks to LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program & Bantam Books/Random House Books for an advance reader copy. All comments and opinions are my own. I've read a fair share of World War II historical fiction, but this one truly stands out. Based on actual events and real people, meticulously researched and skillfully written, Mistress of the Ritz is memorable on many levels. The main characters are intriguing, with multi-dimensional personalities revealing various motivations and behaviors. Blanche is an American flapper who came to Paris to have fun and reinvent herself. She impulsively marries sedate Claude Auzello, a Frenchman dedicated to The Hotel Ritz as its director. Their marriage is tempestuous, and when the German Army takes over the hotel in June 1940, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality in order to survive. Unforgettable supporting characters that enrich the story include Blanche's quirky friend Lily and the Ritz's bartender, Frank, as well as Coco Channel and Hemingway. Who can be trusted? Who is part of the Resistance? Who is spying for the Germans? The chapters alternate between Blanche and Claude's points of view as the suspense escalates. What makes this special is despite the turmoil of war this is an "inspiring story of two brave people who discover the best in each other." And don't miss the author's answers to questions about writing Mistress of The Ritz, which follows the novel.

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  • Langue

    Pourquoi ne le retrouve t'on pas en francais ? je l'attend depuis longtemps ! merci de me repondre bonne journee

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