World War II Historical Fiction Based on a True Story
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AUTHOR: Melanie Benjamin
GENRE: Historical Fiction
LENGTH: 400 pages (paperback edition)
FIRST PUBLISHED: 2019
Most of Melanie Benjamin’s books are based on true stories. Mistress of the Ritz is no exception. This book is based off the story of Blanche Auzello, the wife of the director of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The Ritz was a place of fairy tales and glamour until June of 1940 when the German army occupied Paris and used the Ritz as one of its headquarters.
Their current long-term guests (including Coco Chanel) stayed in the hotel alongside the Germans and the Auzellos had to continue to operate the hotel to its usual standards. Their luxurious life was now a life of fear.
This is a story about living (and resisting) under German occupation. It’s the story of a brave couple in a unique situation who did what they needed to do to survive, protect their guests, and help France. It’s a story of secrets and necessary lies told for protection. It’s the story of a tempestuous marriage during a difficult time. And, it’s the story of a strong woman who weathered the hard realities of living in occupied Paris.