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Fans of Historical Fiction will Devour this Page Turner: Read a Review of The Heart of the Ritz by Luke Devenish

September 9, 2019

It’s April 1940 in France, not just anywhere in France, but in Paris and at the Ritz. Polly Hartford has lost her father and now her aunt Marjorie and finds herself in the care of her aunt’s best friends. Three very wealthy and formidable women – Comtesse Alexandrine, film star Zita and wealthy American Lana Mae.

Soon after Marjorie dies, a death she knew was imminent due to poor health, Polly finds herself in possession of a green Hermes bag that contains a hand gun and a letter that sets out Marjorie’s plans for Polly now that she is gone. While Polly trusts the three women that are now her guardians, she immediately senses that they are keeping secrets from her.

Living a closeted life in the lap of luxury at the world-famous Ritz is at first foreign to young Polly but despite the frivolous lifestyle and all the luxury (she does of course appreciate all the fashion and champagne!) Polly manages to stay grounded and connected to the outside world.

It’s Polly who begins to question why when the war is on their doorstep, they are not doing more to prepare themselves and to help others.

When they literally find the Germans on the doorstep of the Ritz a strange turn of events results in the remaining residents sharing a home with many high-ranking German officials – during the occupation of Paris the Ritz becomes their headquarters.

It is an intense situation that will force some of the residents to rise to the occasion and do everything in their power to subvert the Germans plans, or desperately work to save their own skin. It’s a test of the most extreme kind.

With friends Tommy and Odile by her side, Polly starts to acquire her own secret resistance work yet her guardians are not always rising to the occasion. Will Lana Mae, Alexandrine and Zita use their wealth and influence for good or will they succumb to their own weaknesses?

As Polly starts to unravel their very intricate web of secrets and lies things begin to become clear.

Fans of historical fiction will devour this page turner with all the elements of romance, fashion, history, Paris, secrets, subterfuge, intrigue and wealth to capture the imagination. You’ll thoroughly enjoy this unique take on a widely written about time in history.

There are so many wonderful vibrant characters and the descriptions of the inner sanctum of Parisian society gives the reader an intriguing look at how the other half live. The character of Polly is endearing and you keep turning the pages as you long to see what will become of her in the face of corruption that is closer to her than she imagines.

A wonderful book to curl up with – you won’t be able to put it down.

Buy a copy of The Heart of the Ritz here.

About the author:

Luke Devenish is an Australian writer of historical fiction, numerous plays, and several long running television dramas, such as Neighbours, Home and Away, Something in the Air, and SeaChange. His first two novels, Den of Wolves and Nest of Vipers, about the women behind the men of Ancient Rome, were translated into five languages, earning him a passionate international readership. A film and television academic at the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts, Luke is as fervent about teaching as he is about writing, and is much enjoyed for his lively, inspiring classes. Luke lives with his partner and pets in a sprawling 1860s garden in historic Castlemaine, Central Victoria. Visit his website:



  1. Lyn White

    Fictitional characters and recognizable famous and infamous names of history are cleverly combined in a colourful setting for a greater understanding of the history of the times.

    A thoroughly engrossing story!

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