"Fans of historical fiction will devour this page-turner. A wonderful book to curl up with - you won't be able to put it down."
"Dramatic and tumultuous... These women will have you both weeping and laughing... You will be on the edge of your seat fretting over the fate of the cast."
"Marvellously colourful characters in a tale with so many twists and turns make The Heart of the Ritz a real page-turner"
J. R. Lonie, bestselling author of The Woman From Saint Germain
"A fabulous book!"
Four women join forces to survive the invasion of Paris with conviction, courage… and style.
France, April 1940. Orphan Polly Hartford has been sent across oceans to her Aunt Marjorie, known only from letters. When Marjorie dies in suspicious circumstances, Polly is left with her aunt’s loaded pistol in a beautiful Hermès handbag... and to the care of Marjorie’s three closest friends: an elegant Comtesse, a gutter-born film star, and a big-hearted American heiress.
Polly is taken to live at the Hôtel Ritz, where staff and guests believe wealth and prestige protect them from war… But when the Nazis invade, the illusion is shattered.
As Paris deteriorates, Polly and her guardians face the horrors of the Occupation with daring, humour and style – even romance – and despite their dangerous secrets, disastrous under the Nazis, they discover just what they are capable of.
As the Liberation approaches, those who survive at the Ritz must face a day of reckoning, but one truth stands tall: at the heart of the Ritz is the soul of resistance.
A sweeping, dramatic story about conviction and courage, drawn from real characters and extraordinary events.
"A fabulous upstairs, downstairs drama."
Australian Women's Weekly
"Luke Devenish is a master at the dramatic cliffhanger."
"A deviously dark and dramatic tale."
"All the Gothic elements plus a little bit more."
Sydney Morning Herald
"I thought I knew exactly what to expect... I was wrong. This book is so much more... and the twists at the end were well worth it."
New Zealand Herald
“…a unique and compelling storyline, and a new view of power in Rome…”
Sunday Canberra Times
“…a thrilling tale of sex, murder and corruption…”
Sydney Star Observer
“…each chapter leaves you teetering at the edge of a precipice.”
“…each page seems to bleed colour… Devenish knows how to hook his readers with the plot and dishes out spectacle after spectacle of murder, betrayal, sexual excess…”
“With an incredible narrative power and his distinguished storytelling talent at full strength, Devenish delivers a breathtaking debut novel that is both grand in scope and vivid in detail. Violent, sensual and insanely sordid, the Julio-Claudian tale sweeps the reader into a whirlpool of murder, betrayal, passion, splendour and chaotic mayhem that defined ancient Rome.”
The Independent Weekly
“The cover really does tell it like it is… Roman villainy, lust and betrayal…”
“...scheming, murdering and sexual shenanigans...”
“…the most diabolical characters in Ancient Rome were women, as you will discover…”
“Devenish has built an incredibly detailed, rich version of Ancient Rome, an astounding place, populated by an equally astounding number of quite unpleasant characters… This is a no holds barred use of sex, violence, manipulation, cruelty and intrigue… The Empress of Rome series would definitely be a set of books for any reader who loves this period of time.”
“An entertaining read!”