Coming up on Thursday, June 13th, 2019 at 6:30pm, Melanie Benjamin — the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, and The Girls in the Picture, will be discussing the release of her newest book, Mistress of the Ritz, a captivating novel based on the story of an extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II--while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris. Joining Ms. Benjamin will be Edward Kelsey Moore — author of the New York Times and international bestselling novel The Supremes At Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, and a second novel in the series, The Supremes Sing The Happy Heartache Blues. Together, these two authors have just launched a new, ongoing podcast about our identities called, Who The Hell Are We?.
The book event with Ms. Benjamin and Mr. Moore is hosted by The Book Stall in suburban Winnetka, IL, where a Ritz-y toast will be served up as guests listen in on these two acclaimed Chicago-area writers talking about the art and craft of their work. The presentation will be followed by a book signing with the authors.
This event is free and open to the public. The Book Stall asks that you purchase your books from their store if you will enter the book-signing queue.
Melanie Benjamin & Edward Kelsey Moore
Thursday, June 13, 2019 ~ 6:30pm to 7:30pm
The Book Stall
811 Elm Street, Winnetka, IL 60093
Recently we mentioned a secret project that Edward and his friend, bestselling author Melanie Benjamin, were working on… Well the secret is out! These two friends are launching a new podcast about identity, books, and (apparently) irresistible cocktails. The show is called, Who The Hell Are We? The first, introductory episode is available now, with more episodes to follow soon! Look for it on the major podcast services (iTunes, Spotify, GooglePlay, etc) and showing up on all other podcast servers now, or over the next week or so. Search for Who The Hell Are We? by its name — and look for the cover art with Edward and Melanie’s faces (see photo above). Once you find it you can stream or download the introductory episode — it’s about 40 minutes long — and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to receive new episodes a couple of times a month! The Who The Hell Are We? podcast is free — so enjoy!!
And the hosts of the podcast (that’s Melanie and Ed) would love it if you email your comments on the show, and any suggestions for discussion topics to: email@example.com
Tell your reading (and listening) friends about the podcast, too!
Who The Hell Are We? podcast
New York Times Bestselling authors Edward Kelsey Moore and Melanie Benjamin talk about identity, books, and cocktails. Subscribe at the iTunes store, or with your favorite podcast app.
If you prefer, you should also be able to sample the podcast in a normal web browser window (Chrome, Safari, FireFox, etc) from this iTunes web page: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/who-the-hell-are-we/id1462927166
On the new page, click the button that says: “Play” to hear the episode. (Sorry if the podcast won't work — in that case, do what we do — try asking a young person for help.)
If you haven’t listened to a podcast before, they are very much like your favorite radio show…
We are huge fans of (and friends with) author Melanie Benjamin and want you to know, dear readers, that her new book has arrived online and in stores today. We also want you to know that Melanie and Edward have a secret… which will be revealed very soon!
Melanie’s new book, Mistress of the Ritz, is the much-anticipated story of an extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—all the while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris!
Here are more details for Ms. Benjamin’s new novel:
From Melanie Benjamin, the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife
Nothing unfortunate can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears debonair and witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors, where they’re welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel’s director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, where the daily glamor and glitz busies their minds away from a troubled marriage, and from the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.
Then in June 1940, the German army sweeps into Paris, commandeering the Ritz for their headquarters. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality—one that entails even more deceptions. A reality which could bring an end to the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” will spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.
One secret that is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—is the secret which, in the end, imperils both of their lives and threatens to bring down the legendary Hôtel Ritz itself.
Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense surrounded by a love story for the ages, the inspiring saga of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the upheaval and sacrifice of war.
"Benjamin, who has made a career out of fashioning compulsively readable historical fiction starring real-life women..., does it again here.... The novel improbably but effectively combines a delectable, upstairs-downstairs look at the operation of a luxury hotel; a many-textured and deeply romantic love story; and a compelling drama of the French Resistance.... Readers of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale are the natural audience for this book-club-ready historical novel."
"This impeccably researched, lyrically told historical about a brash American woman and her French husband during WWII is a remarkable achievement.... Benjamin (The Aviator’s Wife) skillfully weaves in a host of historical figures—including Coco Chanel, alleged to be a Nazi sympathizer, and Ernest Hemingway—whose vibrant presences make Benjamin’s protagonists and engaging group of supporting characters shine all the more."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin. Available now in Hardcover and E-book. Also available as an Audiobook on CD, or by instant download.
Chicago Sinfonietta is coming to the end of another orchestral season — this Saturday, May 11th and Monday, May 13th, 2019, they will present Soundsketch, an exceptional program dedicated entirely to musical portraits spanning genres and centuries. Included in the concert is David Schiff’s 4 Sisters, a jazz/classical, impressionistic love letter to icons Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, plus the allusively autobiographical Edward Elgar composition Enigma Variations. This string-centric concert featuring violin virtuoso Regina Carter will be a fitting finale to Chicago Sinfonietta’s illustrious 31st season!
Chicago Sinfonietta ~ Soundsketch
Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm
Wentz Concert Hall
171 E. Chicago Ave. ~ Naperville, IL 60540
Monday, May 13, 2019 at 7:30 pm
The Auditorium Theatre
50 East Ida B Wells Dr. ~ Chicago, IL 60605
NOTE! VENUE CHANGE!
Due to the recent CSO strike the Monday night concert will not be
performed at the usual Symphony Center location!
The Chicago Sinfonietta was founded in 1987 to address the need for diversity in orchestras and the lack of inclusive connection between classical musicians and the vibrant, nuanced, communities where they live and perform. Chicago Sinfonietta has made it their mission to represent the city of Chicago, reflecting the city’s vibrancy on stage and in Sinfonietta’s programming — making classical music accessible for anyone. The orchestra's thirty one years have been highlighted by six European tours, two Kennedy Center performances, three Millennium Park concerts (attended by over 19,000 people), and sixteen vinyl LP, CD and digital recordings. Recently the Chicago Sinfonietta was awarded the $625,000 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.