A couple days ago I read Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin. By luck of the draw my next book was The Parisians by Marius Gabriel. Interesting reading them one after the other.
Basically same story, one focusing on the French manager of the Ritz and his American wife, Claude and Blanche Auzello; the other about an American chambermaid working at the Ritz. Since they are both based in history I was not surprised so many characters were the same – the high ranking German officers staying at the Ritz, Coco Chanel, the Auzellos, French actress Arletty, resistance fighters, as well as locations such as Gestapo headquarters and Fresnes prison – after all, both set in WWII Paris .
But the story lines were so similar, American chooses to stay in Paris as war begins, horrified by what is happening, resistance fighters enter the picture, trips to Fresnes prison follow, American soldiers liberate Paris just in time….
I’m really not complaining. These are both fictional accounts of the types of things that did happen at that place and point in time. Both good books, just wouldn’t recommend reading them back to back 😉.
If I had to pick I’d prefer Mistress of the Ritz over The Parisian. I preferred the writing of ‘Mistress’ and it seemed to follow facts a little more closely, although author notes in The Parisian does clearly state that it should be considered complete fiction.
Think it’s time for me to jump genres for a while!!