American novelist Melanie Benjamin has a knack for finding women whose atypical story has not always been told. After having been very well documented, it is therefore the life of Blanche Ross Auzello that she will choose to relate this time.
So far, we have enjoyed all the books of American novelist Melanie Benjamin: The aviator’s wife, which looks at the life of Charles Lindbergh’s wife, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, which tells of the very special friendship that united the writer Truman Capote with the socialite Babe Paley, Hollywood Boulevard, which lifts the veil on the very beginnings of Hollywood cinema, and now, The lady of the Ritz.
This lady, who really existed, has a name: Blanche Ross Auzello. And as the title allows us to guess, she has long ensured the comfort of all the wealthy clients of the mythical Ritz hotel on the Place Vendôme, her husband Claude being none other than the manager of the establishment.
A palace that keeps busy
In June 1940, when the German army invaded the streets of Paris, it was at the Ritz that its senior leaders – including Hermann Göring himself – chose to establish their new quarters. A real nightmare for the Auzello couple, who will therefore have to get used to seeing Nazi soldiers armed to the teeth walking around the hotel. Because as incredible as it may seem, the Ritz will never close its doors during the Occupation. It was up to Blanche to manage to accommodate Hitler’s customers and passing civilians, even if she was the first to have a lot to hide.
A fascinating read that allows us much more than to discover the history of the Ritz: it allows us to meet a woman whose career has been quite unique.
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Under the eternal Finnish sun
We don’t often have the chance to read novels whose action is set in Finland. And as a bonus, this one allows us to discover the hottest beach in the country: Palm Beach Finland. But bad luck, it is precisely there that a woman will not take long to be cold. In a rather burlesque way, what is more. Because throughout this frankly entertaining book, there is no lack of black humor!