Melanie Benjamin’s Newest Novel–Coming 5/21/19!
Mistress of the Ritz is an engrossing historical fiction novel. It tells the story of Blanche and Claude Auzello during WWII, in occupied France. After a quick, whirlwind romance in Paris, Claude and Blanche married. Claude never considered the possibility that his new American wife would have difficulty in accepting her role as a French wife. He should have. Claude expected Blanche to cook, clean, satisfy his needs, and then look the other way when he took a mistress. Blanche assumed that her husband would be faithful to her. She realized too late that she’d made a big mistake. Although their marriage was turbulent, bitter, and hurtful, they stayed together.
Blanche enjoyed her role as mistress of the Ritz until the Nazis stormed in, took over, and used the Ritz as their headquarters. During the German Occupation, the Auzello’s marriage difficulties rose to a new destructive level. Blanche looked upon her husband with disgust whenever he bowed to the Nazis and fretted over them. She was also fed up with him leaving in the middle of the night to be with another woman. So, Blanche changed, made friends, drank, and worked on a new purpose for her life. And, Claude didn’t like it one bit. Claude really wanted to tell Blanche his secret. He wasn’t convinced though, that she was trustworthy enough. What Claude didn’t realize was, that Blanche was hiding something as well. A secret, that was as dangerous, and risky as his own.
Although the pace of the book slows down at times, it is still captivating and enjoyable. If you love reading WWII historical fiction books, this may be just the read for you.
Thank you, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
~4 out of 5 stars~
Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)
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–
And reading, of course.