"Simone de Beauvois left Ernest Hemingway surrounded by half empty bottles of scotch and rumpled bed clothes, the next morning.The Hotel Ritz wasn't the only thing that was liberated that night in Paris".Scandal, collaboration, a steady stream of cocktails and suspense; the history of the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris is action packed, salacious and makes for an entertaining read. There are high points and low, the heady heights of fashion combine with the seedy underbelly of wartime collaboration and seduction and the pages just fly by.
Much has been written about World War II, yet this fresh perspective opens an intriguing window into the changing fortunes of a top hotel, its guest and its invaders - be they American or German. This melting pot of drama for the rich and famous involves the reader in the intrigues of household names including Hemingway, Chanel, Marcel Proust and Marlene Dietrich - now that would make for an entertaining dinner party - non?
Its not all high fashion and high balls, the stark reality of war certainly retains its presence including the ugly aftermath of post occupation retributions - one minute you're a feted, popular actress enjoying the high life despite the war; the next people are shaving off your hair and calling you names ( and that's if you're lucky). As always, and particularly in the case of Chanel, it helps to have powerful friends.
5 out of 5, I imagine 'papa' Hemingway and I would have had a whale of a time together.