Monday, May 27, 2019

Mistress of the Ritz--An Unlikely World War II French Resistance Figure

Although I have never previously read any books by the author of  Mistress of the Ritz, Melanie Benjamin, I do appreciate that her historical novels have focused on real women. All historical fiction requires research on the period, but a credible novel that deals with actual historical people needs additional research to establish what is known about those individuals.  So I salute writers who take this more difficult path.

I received a digital review copy of Mistress of the Ritz from publicist Ariel McCarter.  I decided to review this book because it deals with the French Resistance during World War II.


Protagonist Blanche Auzello seemed somewhat superficial to me as the novel opened.   She experiences growth as a result of meeting Lily, an eccentric political radical.  Blanche's transformation into a woman who wanted meaning in her life and felt compassion for others less fortunate, increased my interest in Mistress of the Ritz exponentially.

Then there is a scene in which Blanche commits what looks like a very foolish and self-destructive mistake.  A reviewer on Goodreads reacted very negatively to this moment in the plot and called Blanche "too stupid to live".  I had to evaluate this turning point differently when I found out from the Author's Note that Melanie Benjamin didn't imagine a disruptive incident at this point in Blanche's life.  Given the real historical consequences, the actual Blanche Auzello must have done something very similar.   Benjamin implies in a subsequent scene that Blanche had subconscious reasons for her actions.  I find this very likely.  There can be complex underlying motives for self-destructive behavior.   

A later event that seemed too coincidental to be believable was also revealed as something that actually happened in the Author's Note.  Blanche was lucky.   In fact, luck seemed to have played a major role throughout the real Blanche Auzello's life.

My favorite character in Mistress of the Ritz was Lily.  Lily is in the historical record, but almost nothing is known about her.  So she is very nearly a fictional character.  I found Lily's invented personality quite appealing, and would have read an entire novel about her.

I did feel ambivalent about this book mainly because of Blanche's marriage to Claude.  What bothered me most was Claude's need to control Blanche.  I think that his domineering attitude gave the ending of the book, which also came from real life, a certain tragic inevitability.


  1. Yes I am totally agreed with this article and I just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article. I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks

  2. Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing. Great websites!

  3. The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

  4. Hello really awesome web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your site and consider the feeds moreover. I am pleased to search out beneficial details appropriate here inside of the published material, thanks for sharing…

  5. Well I truly enjoyed studying it. This article offered by you is very useful for proper planning. 토토사이트

  6. Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your website is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject.

  7. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched all over the place and simply couldn’t come across. What an ideal web-site. 바카라

  8. Rattling wonderful visual appeal on this web site, I’d value it 10 over 10. 토토

  9. First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics, i will be always checking your blog 카지노사이트

  10. 카지노
    Superb Blog!
    Thanks For Sharing Such an Amazing Post.

  11. 토토 I truly value this superb post that you have accommodated us. I guarantee this would be helpful for a large portion of the general population.