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Mistress of the Ritz

A Novel
Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

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.

Advance 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)

©2019 Melanie Benjamin (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“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)

What members say

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Much enjoyed !!

A lovely book and well researched and believable characters. Sad and descriptive about the fate of the Jews in German occupied Paris, together with interesting information about the residents of the hotel Ritz.

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Excellent t. Atmospheric .

I really enjoyed this novel based on true events and characters. The reader gives a superior performance gripping the listener throughout.

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Terrible narrator

Couldn’t listen to the story on audible, I found the narrator terribly annoying. I will buy the book and read it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-06-19

Humble and Thankful

When I first started the story,I was not sure where it was going. As I got into the story, I felt moved and angry at these forgotten years in our history. This moved me to a place of sadness but to human dignity that we should not forget. The evilness of this war, is a reminder that we should never forget. The book takes you there.😢

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-06-19

Great narrator!

I can’t imagine this story without this narrator, now that I have finished it. Her raspy voice was perfect for Blanche. The story was also intriguing. I keep thinking that there can’t be any stories left to tell about WWII, and I am glad I didn’t miss this one.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-07-19

2nd half was good

I had a hard time with the beginning of the book. very descriptive and seemed too long until it got to more suspenseful thinga. in the end I did enjoy just thought it could be done on a more condensed version.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Faith Briggs
  • 25-06-19

Wonderful story

I admit it was a little hard to get into but once I was in I couldn't stop listening.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gwelda W. Treece
  • 17-06-19

Too slow

I felt that the story was much too slow and boring.
The performance was very good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary C. Higgins
  • 03-06-19

I love this

I have read and listened to many WWII genre books, and this is what drew me to listen to Mistress of the Ritz. I found the writing and the narration mesmerizingly beautiful. The story encompasses the history of a marriage, as well as the Ritz in Paris before, during and just after WWII. The character development intertwines beautifully with the various storylines.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AZ Desert Gal
  • 31-05-19

One of to best stories I've heard so far!

All war stories are hard to listen to, but this one has the spunky defiance and wry humor to carry the listener through the time and feel the wisdom and love learned by the characters who survive this tragic time in Paris. Well done by author and by narrator. Five stars.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Denise C.
  • 14-08-19

Fabulous, gritty, emotionally real and complex!

A truly gripping and engaging WW2 story inspired by am unlikely couple I had never heard of before. I was so involved and just didn't want it to end!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jane
  • 14-08-19

Paris, Nazi horror, & The Ritz

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It seemed a little bit of fluff at first and I had a hard time getting into it because it was supposed to be about the war. Seemed fun so I stuck with it and I’m so glad I did! The prewar and early war years set the stage and the book becomes so much more. It also reminds us of the importance of communication and love. How easy it is to drift or think the worst of someone.. and the Sacrifices and Horror of war and the Nazis. How easy it was for the Nazis to lead people against the Jews - how much prejudice was already present... May the people of the world never forget and guard against this always. Thank you also Melanie Benjamin for allowing Paris to blossom and become a place I do want to visit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mah Jongg Mama
  • 27-07-19

Not My Favorite

I probably would have not finished this book if I had been reading it. It was the narrator that kept me going. She perfectly captured the personalities of the various characters in the story. Listen to this if only to spend time with the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful