Mistress of the Ritz

Mistress of the Ritz

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 Hotel Ritz in Paris--from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue. Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Mistress of the Ritz
Author:Melanie Benjamin
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Mistress of the Ritz Reviews

  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister

    4.5 stars!

    A mesmerizing and atmospheric tale centered around the Hotel Ritz in Paris during WWII.

    Claude Auzello is the director of the Hotel Ritz where he and his wife, Blanche, reside. They have a tumultuous relationship, Blanche constantly feeling Claude’s attention is focused on everything but her. Blanche spends her days mingling with the glamourous guests who visit the hotel, while Claude caters to his guests every whim. Never a dull moment within the walls of the hotel, Blanche takes it al

    4.5 stars!

    A mesmerizing and atmospheric tale centered around the Hotel Ritz in Paris during WWII.

    Claude Auzello is the director of the Hotel Ritz where he and his wife, Blanche, reside. They have a tumultuous relationship, Blanche constantly feeling Claude’s attention is focused on everything but her. Blanche spends her days mingling with the glamourous guests who visit the hotel, while Claude caters to his guests every whim. Never a dull moment within the walls of the hotel, Blanche takes it all in, most of her days ending in a drunken state while seated at the hotel bar. As the war progresses, German soldiers move into Paris, setting up their headquarters at the Ritz. Claude patiently serves these army men, all the while terrified for what will come from this war.

    I loved this story! Claude and Blanche were fascinating and endearing characters. I felt for them and was invested in their marriage and their decisions on how to handle their wartime situation. The Ritz was one of my favourite “characters”. The author, Melanie Benjamin, does a phenomenal job creating a vivid and luxurious atmosphere which made me feel that I was truly witnessing the glitz and glamour nestled within the richly decorated walls of the hotel. I was completely captivated in this engrossing story from start to finish and will be thinking of it long after I write this review.

    I read plenty of WWII novels, yet this was a fresh look at a different aspect of this time in our history. Though this novel is only “inspired” by true events, there is much interesting and informative detail to learn within these pages. The beautiful writing and enthralling storyline inspired me to look deeper into the history of the Ritz and how it was treated during these devastating times.

    This was a Traveling Sister read that we all loved. I highly recommend to historical fiction lovers.

    Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing and Melanie Benjamin for providing me with an ARC to read and review.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    I’m sure many of us knew that the Nazis claimed hotels in their occupied areas, but have you heard about the Auzellos?

    The Ritz is a glorious hotel in France where the rich and famous stay. Blanche, an American, and Claude Auzello, her French husband, have welcomed into their hotel the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Chanel. Their busy work lives keep them from facing their challenging marriage.

    In June 1940, the Nazis arrive in Par

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    I’m sure many of us knew that the Nazis claimed hotels in their occupied areas, but have you heard about the Auzellos?

    The Ritz is a glorious hotel in France where the rich and famous stay. Blanche, an American, and Claude Auzello, her French husband, have welcomed into their hotel the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Chanel. Their busy work lives keep them from facing their challenging marriage.

    In June 1940, the Nazis arrive in Paris, and of all places, they set up their headquarters at the Ritz. Now living amongst top Nazi officials, the Auzellos’ marriage is in more trouble than ever. You see, Blanche joins the French Resistance while living in the lions’ den.

    Will Blanche, Claude, their marriage, and the Ritz survive the war?

    Mistress of the Ritz is edgy and suspenseful from the start. Even though I was vaguely familiar with the Ritz being a headquarters for the Nazis, I did not “know” the Auzellos, and their characters and storyline captivated me. To think their marriage was troubled, and not only a war, but a complete takeover of their hotel by the Nazis brought them closer together.

    I was completely immersed in the setting, especially on site at the Ritz. I could feel and experience the luxury, glitz, and glamour. The story of this couple and all that Blanche took on was extremely compelling, and I loved all the well-developed characters. The celebrity sightings were always fun as well (Picasso!).

    Melanie Benjamin is a skillful storyteller. She takes her time in building her stories, which completely works for me because she gets the details just right. Benjamin’s writing flows and is so easy-to-read, and I remain ever a fan.

    Overall, this is a beautifully-written. engaging, and powerful book, and it gets my highest recommendation for fans of historical fiction.

    I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • Debra

    4.5 stars

    Ahh, the Ritz. A grand and glamorous hotel which hosts Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald to name a few. It is the place to see and be seen. It is where Blanche Auzello, who is American, and her French Husband and Hotel Director, Claude Auzello live. They use the glamour of the Ritz to mask the trouble in their m

    4.5 stars

    Ahh, the Ritz. A grand and glamorous hotel which hosts Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald to name a few. It is the place to see and be seen. It is where Blanche Auzello, who is American, and her French Husband and Hotel Director, Claude Auzello live. They use the glamour of the Ritz to mask the trouble in their marriage. Then in June 1940, the German Army sweeps into Paris and uses the Ritz (and other hotels) to set up their headquarters. Their safe haven from the world and their troubled marriage, is not so safe anymore. Both have secrets, both live secret lives which they live while trying to walk a fine line between keeping their "guests" happy and their staff alive.

    The books begins with the couple meeting and showcases the issues in their marriage, their cultural issues and through the use of differing POV, chapters, the reader is given each character's inner thoughts, motivations and secrets. Some have found the beginning to be slow, but I actually enjoyed the pace. I appreciated how the Author took her time introducing each character and their marital issues. I thought this was nicely done to show how they grew to keep secrets, had misconceptions about the other, lacked effective communication skills and how this affected each other throughout their marriage and especially during a time of great danger. They loved each other, but how well did they know each other?

    This book was inspired by the real-life couple and the use of the Ritz during the invasion by the Nazi's during the war. As not much is written about the real-life Claude and Blanche Auzello, the Author did fictionalize their lives. I enjoy books about real life events and people. Even though very little is know about the actual couple that these characters is based upon, the contribution to the Ritz and the war effort have been documented even if minimally. While reading this, I couldn't help but wonder, "would I have been so brave?", "would I have risked so much?"

    I enjoyed the story which showed how people resisted in their own way, how people found courage and offered help to others at great risk to themselves. This book is historical fiction, but it also examines a marriage over a course of time. This is a book about love, about courage, about pain, about loss, about fear, about the war, about resistance, and the hardships of war. This is a great book for discussion as it touches on many issues. I was captivated by the book and was sucked into these characters lives. There are many characters, including the Ritz itself.

    This was a Traveling Sisters Group Read.

    Thank you to Random House Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • Brenda - Traveling Sister

    4.5 Stars

    I read Mistress of the Ritz with a few of our Traveling Sisters and we all really enjoyed this one with us having similar thoughts on it.

    An extraordinary real-life American woman, a proper Frenchman and a glamorous Iconic hotel

    Mistress of The Ritz explores the lives of brash and reckless real life Blanche and proud Claude Auzello The Mistress and Master of the Ritz. The story starts off slow and it’s all about the characters here. The story delves into their marriage where secrets and

    4.5 Stars

    I read Mistress of the Ritz with a few of our Traveling Sisters and we all really enjoyed this one with us having similar thoughts on it.

    An extraordinary real-life American woman, a proper Frenchman and a glamorous Iconic hotel

    Mistress of The Ritz explores the lives of brash and reckless real life Blanche and proud Claude Auzello The Mistress and Master of the Ritz. The story starts off slow and it’s all about the characters here. The story delves into their marriage where secrets and lies threaten their marriage along with The Hotel Ritz in Paris. The real-life people and events are the inspiration of this story and Melanie Benjamin skillfully weaves them into the story well giving her own fictional account to the story and characters. She brings vibrant life to the Ritz and what it must have been like hosting the German’s in this beloved hotel.

    The second half takes off and I flew through the pages as fast as I could as we see the secrets and lies unfold. I was completing captivated by Blanche and Claude as they learn the truth about each other. My heart was warmed yet broken after reading this one.

    Melanie Benjamin wraps up that ending well and brilliantly left us wanting and needing to talk to each other about it. It was nice to be able to share how that ending made me feel and see how it made my TS feel. The Mistress of The Ritz makes for a great choice for a group read and you will want to talk about it. I highly recommend

    I received a copy through the Publisher on NetGalley

  • Norma * Traveling Sister

    Captivating, affecting, & illuminating!

    MISTRESS OF THE RITZ by MELANIE BENJAMIN is an engaging, suspenseful, and hauntingly beautiful historical fiction novel that totally captures something extraordinary here as well as fully capturing my heart. I was immediately taken with this story and found myself totally mesmerized and in awe of MELANIE BENJAMIN’S ability to weave such a fantastic story that is based on real-life people and actual historical events with her own liberties of juicy ficti

    Captivating, affecting, & illuminating!

    MISTRESS OF THE RITZ by MELANIE BENJAMIN is an engaging, suspenseful, and hauntingly beautiful historical fiction novel that totally captures something extraordinary here as well as fully capturing my heart. I was immediately taken with this story and found myself totally mesmerized and in awe of MELANIE BENJAMIN’S ability to weave such a fantastic story that is based on real-life people and actual historical events with her own liberties of juicy fictional storytelling.

    MELANIE BENJAMIN delivers a vividly descriptive, interesting, and well-written read here with characters and a setting that totally captivated and intrigued me. I was totally taken and fascinated with both Claude and Blanche’s dynamic relationship as well as with their lives spent in the highly acclaimed Hotel Ritz in Paris.

    I was thoroughly entertained and enjoyed how this story unfolded right from the very beginning. And I was totally wrapped up in this couple’s relationship and loved the suspense of the unraveling of the secrets and lies.

    ** This was a Traveling Sisters Read **

    Norma’s Stats:

    Cover: Lovely, intriguing, majestic, eye-catching and a fitting representation to storyline.

    Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and absolutely love how the title plays so fittingly into storyline.

    Writing/Prose: Well-written, beautiful, fluid, vivid, engaging, and captivating. I totally connected with and absolutely loved MELANIE BENJAMIN’S writing style.

    Plot: Haunting, memorable, fascinating, inspiring, suspenseful, perfectly-paced, original, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. I absolutely loved that this book was inspired by the real-life couple of Claude and Blanche and the setting of the Ritz. As I thoroughly enjoy books that are based on real life events and people. Knowing that just makes the story that much more appealing, memorable and fascinating to read.

    Ending: An exceptional and extremely palpable ending that warmed my heart but also left it a little broken-hearted.

    Overall: 4.5 Stars! I was totally captivated by this book and totally taken with these characters and their lives and with the events that happened at the Ritz. A book that I am glad that I took my time with and savoured every single word! Loved this book so much!!!! Would highly recommend!

    Thank you so much to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine / Delacorte Press & Melanie Benjamin for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC of this book.

    Review can also be found on our Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:

  • Liz

    I expect three things from historical fiction:

    •A good story

    •The ability to paint a picture so true I feel immersed in the time and place

    •To learn something I previously didn’t know.

    The Mistress of the Ritz manages all three. Based on true events, the Auzellos are the “master and mistress of the Ritz”, he the manager of the famous hotel. The story gives us their history from their tempestuous beginning through their 17 years of marriage when the Nazis arrive in Paris and take over the hotel. And

    I expect three things from historical fiction:

    •A good story

    •The ability to paint a picture so true I feel immersed in the time and place

    •To learn something I previously didn’t know.

    The Mistress of the Ritz manages all three. Based on true events, the Auzellos are the “master and mistress of the Ritz”, he the manager of the famous hotel. The story gives us their history from their tempestuous beginning through their 17 years of marriage when the Nazis arrive in Paris and take over the hotel. And from there, things get even more intense.

    Blanche is headstrong, independent and hiding secrets from everyone including her husband. Claude is shocked to learn his wife has “the vocabulary of a dockworker”. It takes him quite a while to cotton to the differences between French and American sensibilities.

    It took me a while to warm to this book. I was worried at the beginning it would be too much romance, not enough history. It tackles some interesting issues, especially when Blanche struggles with liking some of the ordinary German soldiers that work at the Ritz. Or when Claude struggles to maintain his cool when being forced to kowtow to the Nazis, all the while with his own secrets.

    Benjamin takes her time but then weaves enough historical facts into the story to win me over as to the third item on my list. She doesn’t pull any punches, she shows us both the resistance and the collaborators, like Coco Chanel.

    For readers who enjoy Martha Hall Kelly, Pam Jenoff or Kate Quinn, I would recommend they give Melanie Benjamin a try.

    My thanks to netgalley and Delacorte Press for an advance copy of this book.

  • Theresa Alan

    American Blanche falls for Frenchman Claude. After a brief, dizzying, whirlwind romance, they marry. The bliss quickly turns to petty fights, in part because of their different cultural upbringings. However, they both enjoy the glitz of the Ritz in Paris, where Claude is the hotel’s director. They revel in hobnobbing with the likes of Hemingway and Coco Chanel and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But when Nazi’s take over the hotel during World War II, Claude has keep his disdain and anger toward them to hi

    American Blanche falls for Frenchman Claude. After a brief, dizzying, whirlwind romance, they marry. The bliss quickly turns to petty fights, in part because of their different cultural upbringings. However, they both enjoy the glitz of the Ritz in Paris, where Claude is the hotel’s director. They revel in hobnobbing with the likes of Hemingway and Coco Chanel and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But when Nazi’s take over the hotel during World War II, Claude has keep his disdain and anger toward them to himself, while Blanche acts out, but subtly.

    It shouldn’t surprise me that Germans would take over the fancy hotels wherever they wanted, but this was not a story that I’d heard before—the true story of this married couple I’d never heard of.

    For fans of historical fiction, Melanie Benjamin doesn’t disappoint.

    Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel, which RELEASES MAY 21, 2019.

    For more reviews, please visit

  • JanB

    Ah, the Ritz Paris. Doesn’t it bring to mind glitz, glamour and opulence? The iconic hotel is as much a character in this book as are Claude and Blanche Auzello, the hotel director and his American born wife. In the pre-WWII years, the hotel was in its glory and the Ritz was a symbol of the finest in luxury and elegance.

    The book opens in 1923 when Blanche and Claude meet, and they eventually marry. Blanche is an American-born flapper, headstrong and independent, while Claude is a traditional Fre

    Ah, the Ritz Paris. Doesn’t it bring to mind glitz, glamour and opulence? The iconic hotel is as much a character in this book as are Claude and Blanche Auzello, the hotel director and his American born wife. In the pre-WWII years, the hotel was in its glory and the Ritz was a symbol of the finest in luxury and elegance.

    The book opens in 1923 when Blanche and Claude meet, and they eventually marry. Blanche is an American-born flapper, headstrong and independent, while Claude is a traditional Frenchman who likes to not only be in charge of the hotel, but of his wife as well. The cultural differences caused the two to lock horns, often in amusing ways. But both shared a love for the beloved hotel and they reveled in rubbing elbows with the rich and famous who crossed its threshold, among them, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Coco Chanel, who maintained an apartment there for many years.

    The first part of the book focuses on the hotel itself, the couple’s marriage, and their experiences running the hotel. When the Germans arrive in 1940 and take over the hotel as their headquarters, the couple must adjust to their demands and keep up the pretense that all is operating as usual, despite their hatred of the Nazi regime. This takes up much of the novel's last half. There’s plenty of intrigue and there are dangerous secrets the couple keep from each other, and from the Germans. How an ordinary couple makes their stamp on history made for riveting reading.

    I went into this book blind, and I suggest other readers do the same. If you haven’t yet, don’t read the blurb, which gives away too much information.

    Historical fiction can be a troublesome genre for me as it too often becomes a thinly disguised romance novel. Not so with author Melanie Benjamin. She notes that this is a story that is inspired by, not based on, true events. Just when I think I’m burned out on WWII based novels, along comes one like this that generates a renewed interest.

    The historical record is sparse, but as I do so often, I immediately went to the internet to read everything I could find. I appreciate that the author didn’t play fast and loose with the facts, filling in only when necessary. She made history come alive in these pages with people I came to care about. People who are just like us, flaws and all. I’m glad Claude and Blanche’s story has been told.

    • This was a buddy read with Marialyce, and one we both enjoyed and recommend. For our duo review of this and other books please visit her blog,

    • Many thanks to Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Tammy

    When the Nazi’s occupied Paris the Luftwaffe (including Hermann Goering) took over half of the Ritz as their headquarters. The other half was inhabited by civilians among them Coco Chanel. The director of the hotel (Frenchman Claude Auzello) and his American wife (Blanche) are forced to continue to operate the hotel to the usual stellar standards in order to survive. Based on a true story that is mostly unknown, Mistress of the Ritz fictionalizes the marriage and resistance work undertaken by th

    When the Nazi’s occupied Paris the Luftwaffe (including Hermann Goering) took over half of the Ritz as their headquarters. The other half was inhabited by civilians among them Coco Chanel. The director of the hotel (Frenchman Claude Auzello) and his American wife (Blanche) are forced to continue to operate the hotel to the usual stellar standards in order to survive. Based on a true story that is mostly unknown, Mistress of the Ritz fictionalizes the marriage and resistance work undertaken by the couple. I found the second half of the novel to be more compelling than the first half where the Auzello’s argumentative marriage is displayed to the nth degree. I got it. They had a troubled marriage. Although the big reveal is anticipated, the final three paragraphs are not. All in all, this is a worthy addition to WWII historical fiction.

  • Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

    This novel takes place during the Nazi’s occupation of Paris. I was quite aware of this part of history but this book talks pretty specifically about the Ritz. It’s a very interesting piece of history which is “inspired” by true events. Quoting the author “So I would say that Mistress of the Ritz more than any of my other novels, is “inspired” by a true story and real people, rather than based on them. With so few details to go on -- and so few true glimpses into Blanche and Claude’s characters,

    This novel takes place during the Nazi’s occupation of Paris. I was quite aware of this part of history but this book talks pretty specifically about the Ritz. It’s a very interesting piece of history which is “inspired” by true events. Quoting the author “So I would say that Mistress of the Ritz more than any of my other novels, is “inspired” by a true story and real people, rather than based on them. With so few details to go on -- and so few true glimpses into Blanche and Claude’s characters, my imagination was given free reign”.

    The first half of the book is pretty much devoted to Claude and Blanche’s marriage and how different American and French men are. I found that while some of this back and forth between the two was interesting and even humorous at times, I think too much of the book was devoted to this. While reading on and on I wondered how in the world these two could really relate to each other??? According to the book they did spend a lot of their time apart, having different schedules and at times different suites. “Because truly, they had no idea what to do with each other after such a startling beginning . . . . .So that it was easy, at times, to forget that they might actually need to rely on, to trust in--to love--each other.”

    The Nazi’s took the Ritz for themselves although allowing the manager, Claude, and Blanche and some well known residents such as Coco Chanel to remain on one side of the building and use a separate entrance. Claude and the entire staff were at their beck and call always fearful that something done not quite right could lead to their dismissal, imprisonment or worse. There is some insight into what is going on in Paris during this time through the eyes of Lily, Blanche’s close friend.

    The book picks up the pace in the last third and I definitely enjoyed this focus on what else was going on “behind the scenes” to be more interesting than the discussion of their marriage.

    All in all I found this to be a good read with interesting characters.

    This was a Traveling Sisters read. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.