A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II - while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris - from the New York Times best-selling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.
"A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within." (Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network)
Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls, every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the duke and duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel’s director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage and off the secrets that they keep from their guests - and each other.
Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For in order to survive - and strike a blow against their Nazi "guests" - Blanche and Claude must spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.
But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone - the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.
Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.
Praise for Mistress of the Ritz:
“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.... Intense, illuminating, and ultimately inspiring!” (Elizabeth Letts, New York Times best-selling 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 best-selling author of The Lost Girls of Paris)