The novel is set in World War II and in 1940 the Nazis have occupied Paris and taken over the Ritz for their senior officers and mistresses.
The cast of characters includes an American Olivia Olsen, working as a chambermaid, the famous Coco Chanel and Arletty, one of France’s best-loved actresses. Hitler’s right-hand man moves into the hotel and makes Olivia his favourite. Olivia sees an opportunity to pass information to the Resistance via her contact Jack. Of course, this is fraught with danger, and the Nazi menace ripples through the story.
Coco Chanel sees a business opportunity to work with the Nazis. Arletty, meanwhile, shocks those around her—and herself—with a forbidden Nazi liaison.
But as the war reaches its conclusion, all three women have to confront their liaisons with the Nazi enemy. For in the shadow of war, is anyone truly safe?
This is a dark period in history and the novel evokes this peril in Paris. People are desperate to survive and the actions they take are believable. This is a credible story because it is based on real-life and the main characters did exist and the novel embeds their decisions and actions.
Full marks for the tension, characterisations, atmosphere and great storytelling. Highly recommended. For another great read based on a WWII story set in Paris: The Last of the Stanfields. In a similar vein read Philip Kerr’s novel about Bernie Gunther investigating in Nazi Germany. His latest adventure: Greeks Bearing Gifts
About the Author
Marius Gabriel is a historical novelist. He is the author of The Redcliffe Sisters series, The Designer, The Ocean Liner, The Parisians and a number of other bestsellers. He has homes in Cairo and Lincolnshire.