100 books like Mistress of the Ritz

By Melanie Benjamin,

Here are 100 books that Mistress of the Ritz fans have personally recommended if you like Mistress of the Ritz. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Who am I?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

What I loved about this book is that it is the true story of an American woman living in Nazi-occupied France, where she organised and ran resistance groups and led them in action.

The book, though factual, reads like a fictional novel, and her exploits and shear "daring do" almost beggar belief. She only had one leg, a fact that many who met her were completely unaware of, yet she crossed the Pyrenees on foot in winter!

It didn’t surprise me to find out that the men who "ran" the operations from London and Washington denigrated her achievements and consigned her to obscurity, describing her in the words of the book’s title. But she was a truly amazing heroine, and I would have loved to have met her.

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A…


Book cover of Lilac Girls

Jo Horne Author Of Monica's War

From my list on unsung heroes of WWII.

Who am I?

I have had a lifelong passion for history—the choices and challenges faced by others in trying times. I find myself looking for connections and a visit to the Holocaust Museum in DC led me to just such a connection with the story of the White Rose Resistance group, sending me down a rabbit hole of research that has blossomed into years of looking for little known stories of WWII heroes and heroines. From there telling their stories through my stories has become my passion.

Jo's book list on unsung heroes of WWII

Jo Horne Why did Jo love this book?

An American working in Paris, a German doctor, and a Polish teenager working for the Resistance are thrown together in this WWII story based on real events culminating in the notorious Ravensbruck Camp for women, famous for its medical experimentation during the war. It’s a story of survival and courage and unlikely friendships.

By Martha Hall Kelly,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Lilac Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • One million copies sold! Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

“Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.”—Library Journal (starred review)

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new…


Book cover of Lila

Ruth Rotkowitz Author Of Escaping the Whale: The Holocaust is over. But is it ever over for the next generation?

From my list on novels set during the post Holocaust period.

Who am I?

As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, I have experienced, observed, and researched inherited trauma. I have also noticed the dearth of works of fiction that focus on the second generation. I believe it is time for the voices of the second generation to be heard, and for the issues facing us to be explored.

Ruth's book list on novels set during the post Holocaust period

Ruth Rotkowitz Why did Ruth love this book?

Lila tells the story of two WW11 survivor families whose daughters are born on the same day in a Displaced Persons Camp, who immigrate to the United States around the same time, and take apartments in the same building in the South Bronx, New York. The immigrant neighborhood, full of busybody characters, is beautifully rendered. Everyone expects the two girls to be as close as sisters, their lives and fates happily intertwined. However, their growing-up years veer into dangerous territory. While one family manages to establish a home of love and caring, the other morphs into a den of dysfunction and perversion. Upending everyone’s expectations, the two girls embark on a path of jealousy and hatred. As secrets are revealed, their paths diverge, ending in tragedy. The novel is a shattering portrait of how trauma of the Holocaust and inherited trauma passed on to the next generation can destroy lives.

By Rose Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lila as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sarah and Lila both born in 1946, 11 months after the war, on the same day, minutes apart, in a displaced persons camp in Germany, were seen by their parents, Holocaust survivors, as a miracle, and their lives destined to have a bond that would never be broken. They were ... wrong.Both families relocate to the United States, and settle in the South Bronx, in the same neighborhood and building, to start their new lives. By the end of the summer of 1960, everyone finds themselves in the turmoil of love, friendship, and competition. Secrets are disclosed; accusations are made…


Bessie

By Linda Kass,

Book cover of Bessie

Linda Kass Author Of Bessie

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Bookstore owner Learner Reader Historical novelist Long distance cyclist

Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In the bigoted milieu of 1945, six days after the official end of World War II, Bess Myerson, the daughter of poor Russian immigrants living in the Bronx, remarkably rises to become Miss America, the first —and to date only— Jewish woman to do so. At stake is a $5,000 scholarship for the winner.

An intimate fictional portrait of Bess Myerson’s early life, Bessie reveals the transformation of the nearly six-foot-tall, self-deprecating yet talented preteen into an exemplar of beauty, a peripheral quality in her world. It is the unfamiliar secular society of pageantry she must choose to escape her roots as she searches for love and acceptance, eager to make her mark on the world.

Bessie

By Linda Kass,

What is this book about?

Just days after the close of World War II, Bess Myerson, the college-educated daughter of poor Russian Jewish immigrants living in the Bronx, is competing in the Miss America pageant. At stake: a $5,000 scholarship. The tension and excitement in Atlantic City's Warner Theatre is palpable, especially for traumatized Jews rooting for one of their own. So begins Bessie.


Drawing on biographical and historical sources, Bessie reimagines the early life of Bess Myerson, who, in 1945 at age twenty-one, remarkably rises to become one of the most famous women in America. This intimate fictional portrait reveals the transformation of the…


Book cover of The Takeaway Men

Rose Ross Author Of Lila

From my list on post-Holocaust coming of age fiction.

Who am I?

As the only child of Holocaust survivors, I wanted to know everything, and my parents would tell me nothing. "It is to spare you" would be my mother's words of comfort to me. Sadly they were not. Growing up is at best complex; growing up as children of Holocaust survivors is even more so. Some second-generation children could escape the shadow of their parents' suffering; for others, their parents' experiences led them, as I did, into early maturity.

Rose's book list on post-Holocaust coming of age fiction

Rose Ross Why did Rose love this book?

Takeaway Men is a novel that proves once again that you can never forget. Aron and Judy Lubinski and their twin daughters, Bronka and Johanna, leave a Displaced Person Camp in Poland and immigrate to America, hoping to build a new life and escape the horrors of the Holocaust behind them. Through the kindness of Izzy, a cousin that immigrated earlier to America, they settle in Izzy and his wife, Faye's home in Queens, NY. In their neighborhood, we meet other immigrants, survivors, all working hard to build a better life for themselves and their children. Each of the other characters has a different story. They bring another perception of how people try to deal with the experiences of loss, trauma, doubt, and everyday complexities of life. We see this most clearly in the inner thoughts of Aron and Judy. Their struggle is, at times, painful and sorrowful and affects…

By Meryl Ain,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Takeaway Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War. Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents' pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories…


Book cover of My Mother's Son

Ruth Rotkowitz Author Of Escaping the Whale: The Holocaust is over. But is it ever over for the next generation?

From my list on novels set during the post Holocaust period.

Who am I?

As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, I have experienced, observed, and researched inherited trauma. I have also noticed the dearth of works of fiction that focus on the second generation. I believe it is time for the voices of the second generation to be heard, and for the issues facing us to be explored.

Ruth's book list on novels set during the post Holocaust period

Ruth Rotkowitz Why did Ruth love this book?

This award-winning novel combines a boy’s coming-of-age story with a well-wrought picture of American life and culture in Boston after the Holocaust. Told by a radio host remembering his growing up years in Boston in the 1950s, this book incorporates major events of the times – such as the Korean War, the polio scourge, events in baseball and politics – with the personal experience of growing up in a Jewish family in the post-Holocaust years. In the flashbacks, the voice of the child is perfectly rendered, and his adult views of his youth and of aging are delivered with wry wisdom. As the protagonist’s memorable relatives come to life, secrets are revealed, and the narrator assesses his life as it unfolded in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

By David Hirshberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Mother's Son as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Hirshberg's debut novel packs both emotional punch and a vivid portrait of Jewish American life in post-WWII Boston. . . . Readers will find connections here to Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and to Saul Bellow's classic The Adventures of Augie March." —Booklist (ALA), starred review

"This amazing mosaic of fact and fiction will hold readers in its grip from the first to last page." —Library Journal, starred review

Winner, Independent Press Award 2019 Literary Fiction

Gold Medal Winner, Best Regional Fiction, 2018 Independent Press Awards

Winner, Best Regional Fiction, 2018 National Indie Excellence Awards

Winner,…


Book cover of The Night Portrait: A Novel of World War II and Da Vinci's Italy

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From my list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Who am I?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Nancy Cole Silverman Why did Nancy love this book?

When it comes to female heroism and the ultimate sacrifice to save not only lives but those cultural icons that herold times past, I have to say Laura Morelli’s The Night Portrait is top of my list.

Morelli successfully blends two timelines 500 years apart. A 16-year-old girl is mistress to the Duke of Millan and poses for Leonardo da Vinci, in hopes of securing her future.

Five hundred years later, as World War 2 breaks out, another young woman is charged with securing her future by agreeing to see da Vinci’s painting, now in the hands of a Nazi war criminal, is successfully transferred to an American soldier working with the Monuments Men. Security. War. Death. Destruction. Morelli has written it all.

Whether it was 500 years ago or today, Morelli has penned a novel of man’s basic need for peace and security in order to thrive, and of…

By Laura Morelli,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Night Portrait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Historical fiction at its best' Reader review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz meets Girl with a Pearl Earring in this gripping, dual-timeline historical novel about one of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous paintings and the woman who fought to save it from the Nazis.

'Simply a masterpiece... Fans of Kristin Hannah's Nightingale and Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See will delight in this epic novel' Lori Nelson Spielman

Between 1939 and 1943, the Nazis attempted to steal every known painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, imprisoning the original owners or worse. This is the story of the most infamous of…


Book cover of A Spy Above the Clouds

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From my list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Who am I?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Nancy Cole Silverman Why did Nancy love this book?

I love books about women who don’t hear the word ‘No.” And A Spy Above the Clouds is just such a book.

Constance Vivier-Clarke, “Viv” is a young American, a once hopeful Olympic downhill skiers whose pampered life is on the skids. World War 2 had broken out and she’s been shoved to the sidelines, told to go home and get married. 

But Viv has other ideas and talks her way into driving an ambulance for the American Hospital in Paris, and eventually, because of her skiing abilities, becomes a member of “Churchill’s Angels” working with the resistance to carry secret messages across the French Alps. 

This is a book that inspires. A book that challenges. And at the end of the day a book that readers will not soon forget.  

By Ciji Ware,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Spy Above the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SPY ABOVE THE CLOUDS - BOOK 2 OF THE "AMERICAN SPY SISTERS" NOVELS INSPIRED BY THE BRAVE U.S. WOMEN SECRET AGENTS WHO FOUGHT THE NAZIS IN WW II.


For the first time in her pampered life, the headstrong American, Constance Vivier-Clarke, has been pressed into doing something useful for a change. Driving an ambulance for the American Hospital in Paris, "Viv" is caught in the crossfire when the Nazis march into Paris. She makes a harrowing getaway over the Pyrenees into neutral Spain and on to London in hopes of finding a role to play in the fight against…


Book cover of The Secret Messenger

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From my list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Who am I?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Nancy Cole Silverman Why did Nancy love this book?

I love when an author can blend two timelines to tell a story, particularly in historical fiction.

Transitioning back and forth to reveal how secrets and stories that happened years before still remain influential generations later. Mandy Robotham has done just that in The Secret Messenger, the story of a young woman, Luisa Belmont, who finds a old typewriter in her attic. 

Unwilling to just let it go, Mandy pursues an investigation that leads back to the dark days of World Wars 2 and uncovers a hallowing tale of bravery and betrayal that make this work of fiction as pertinent today as it would have been then.  

By Mandy Robotham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret Messenger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The highly awaited new novel from the internationally bestseller, and author of The German Midwife (also published as A Woman of War).

"Rich and captivating...a vivid story of love, sacrifice and betrayal." -Woman's World

Venice, 1943
The world is at war, and Stella Jilani is leading a double life. By day she works in the lion's den as a typist for the Reich; by night, she risks her life as a messenger for the Italian resistance. Against all odds, Stella must impart Nazi secrets, smuggle essential supplies and produce an underground newspaper on her beloved typewriter.

But when German commander…


Book cover of The Paris Architect

Victoria Arendt Author Of Broken Pencils

From my list on historical fiction set in the 1930s and 1940s.

Who am I?

Like most people, the carefree days of childhood are brought to a halt with the passage of time and the death of loved ones. As a wistful, dreamy, and introspective person, I wished to revisit the past, if only for a moment, to see what my grandparents experienced in their earlier lives. Currently, I’m under the spell of the 1930s and 1940s, and historical fiction books are an engaging way to learn about these marvelous decades.  

Victoria's book list on historical fiction set in the 1930s and 1940s

Victoria Arendt Why did Victoria love this book?

Set in Nazi-occupied Paris, The Paris Architect tells the most unusual story about an up-and-coming architect named Lucian who is offered a financially lucrative deal... but it’s a dangerous deal and one he doesn’t fully believe in. Forced to choose between safety or money, an envelope stuffed with his first payment emboldens his decision and creates a no-turning-back scenario.  

Set in the 1930s and 1940s, Charles Belfoure’s captivating writing will make you think about the past and wonder about other unsung heroes of that time.

By Charles Belfoure,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Paris Architect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money - and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist. But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to…


Book cover of Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris

Stew Ross Author Of Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?-The False War & Vichy: Volume One A Walking Tour of Nazi-Occupied Paris, 1940−1944

From my list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944.

Who am I?

I received my B.S. in geology and spent my career in commercial banking. How did I go from banking to becoming an author? I learned to write as a banker back in the “good old” days when the loan officer had to write their own credit memorandum. I enjoyed it so much I told myself, “One day, I'm going to write a book.” Then I found a book called Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt. As my wife and I walked through the streets of Paris, I said, “I can write a book like this.” And so I did. We're about to publish our sixth book in an anticipated series of nine.

Stew's book list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944

Stew Ross Why did Stew love this book?

Dr. Sumner Jackson and his family lived at 11, avenue Foch, sandwiched between Gestapo interrogation offices. It is an extraordinary story of resistance by the head of the American Hospital and his family. They are caught, interrogated, and ultimately deported to various concentration camps.

The author does an excellent job of outlining the Gestapo hierarchy in Paris and describing the Nazis’ brutal methods. The family was classified as prisoners under the “Nacht und Nebel” program (“Night and Fog”) and Mr. Kershaw introduces you to Hitler’s infamous directive. The book also weaves various resistance icons into the story. These include the SOE agents, Violette Szabó, Noor Inayat Khan, and Francis Suttill.

By Alex Kershaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Avenue of Spies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II.

The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris's hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was…


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Interested in the German occupation of Europe, France, and Paris?

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