Many of you have heard of the Hotel Ritz in Paris. This world-famous hotel is known for luxury and glamour; but, did you know it is also known as a place of secret rendezvous and intrigue? The Paris Ritz has been used as a backdrop in several recent books.
The newest of these books is All the Ways We Said Goodbye: A Novel of the Ritz Paris and comes from my favorite writing team, or “Team W” as they refer to themselves, of Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White. This dynamic trio has released two previous historical novels, The Forgotten Room and The Glass Ocean, as well as numerous novels they have published as solo authors. I am a huge fan of these three
talented writers, as a trio and individually.
All the Ways is three interconnected stories that take place with the Ritz as its backdrop, during World War I, World War II, and the 1960s. The protagonists of this tale are Aurelie de Courcelles, Daisy Villon, and Barbara Langford. All the characters are so well developed, and the storyline so seamlessly crafted, that you never feel as though you’re reading a disjointed novel. I loved Loved LOVED this book and purchased a hardcover copy upon its release last month.
Another outstanding and recent historical novel sharing the Ritz setting is Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin. This novel was highlighted in BookBub’s “The 25 Most Wanted Books of the Summer” in 2019. Based on the real-life of Blanche Auzello and her husband Claude, the manager of the Ritz during World War II, this is the story of their life, their love, and their fight to end the Nazi occupation of Paris. Blanche led a double life for many years. To some, she seemed nothing but a bored socialite. What few people knew, including her husband, was that Blanche was a valued member of the French resistance.
If reading nonfiction is more to your liking, and you’d like more information on the Ritz during this time period, be sure to read The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo. There is no shortage of information on political and military figures, movie stars, literary giants, artists, etc., and their varied activities at the Ritz. Ms. Mazzeo presents a helpful Cast of Characters at the beginning of the book, which provides a very useful thumbnail sketch of these individuals.