The New York Times bestselling authors of The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room return with a glorious historical adventure that moves from the dark days of two World Wars to the turbulent years of the 1960s, in which three women with bruised hearts find refuge at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel.
The heiress . . .
The Resistance fighter . . .
The widow . . .
Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel
France, 1914. As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences.
France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret . . . one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history.
France, 1964. For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart. . . .
Customer ReviewsSee All
All the ways we said goodbye
I really like these three authors, but they really need to pop a little more “lightness and hope” in their stories.
Predicable mediocre romance
I liked the concept but it quickly became just another mediocre romance story. The story is predictable. It’s supposed to feature a series of strong women but they are only strong when supported by handsome , broad shouldered men. Ugh
3.5 is more accurate to my rating. Definitely short of four.
I admit when I first saw this book -- written by three bestselling authors --two of whom I have read many times and admire -- I was put off. It smacked of gimmickry. (Was this just an easy way for successful authors to make an extra buck?) But as the book progressed, I mostly got passed that. Mostly.
It's an historical novel that spans half of the 20th century, made up of three distinct narratives, with parts of each story taking place at the prestigious Ritz Hotel in Paris. (I assume each of the three authors penned one of the three stories, but that's pure conjecture.)
The Stories (no spoilers):
1914 - During World War I, a centuries-old noble French family (de Courcelles) with a castle in the countryside find their daughter (Aurelie) caught between her loyalty to family and country and her attraction to an occupying German solider.
1942 - While French housewife (Daisy) and her two young children benefit from her husband's collaboration with the occupying Nazis, Daisy increasingly finds her loyalty to her husband at odds with her desire to help her country.
1964 - a dowdy and recently widowed Brit, with three nearly-grown children, heads to France to try to discover the truth behind a woman her late husband loved during World War II.
Naturally, the three stories turn out to be linked, though it takes a bit to figure out how. In each there is budding romance (of course), a few family secrets, women coming into their own, and children working out issues with parents.
Unfortunately, I found I was able to accurately predict where each story would lead and how the secrets, once exposed, would impact each storyline. So there were very few surprises for me.
This is another one of those novels where chapters jump around from story to story, from time period to time period -- a structure so many contemporary authors use, which I often find annoying and unnecessary. These story threads could just as easily have been three sequential stories, which would have been much easier to follow. Instead I had to track three separate plots with three distinct sets of characters. And instead of building suspense (I assume that is what authors using this technique are trying to do), all that jumping around just makes it harder for me to immerse myself into each.
Overall, it's a quick read with plenty of drama. But I don't expect I'll pick up another book collaboration by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White. (There are two others.)