2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.

Book Review: Chanel’s Riviera by Anne de Courcy

This was a very interesting exploration of the years leading up to the Second World War and then the war itself. It focused on the Riviera and the very wealthy who lived and holiday-ed there, although there is also a lot of description of Paris and Vichy France, particularly during the War. I found the mixture to be very interesting, if at times a bit unfocused.

The book was unusual in that a lot of it was standard historical nonfiction covering a wide variety of people’s stories, from the famous to the more humble, but there was also a lot of gossipy detail that I found fun although not always as impactful – largely because I did not know who a number of the socialites and magnates referenced actually were. Still, it was interesting to read the development of Vichy France and the progression of the war, particularly the highlights between the war experience of the very wealthy and of the regular citizen. I had no idea, for example, that for so many of the very wealthy even occupied France was very lush and extravagant during the War years.

There wasn’t quite as much emphasis on Chanel as I expected from the title and blurb. While she does make appearances throughout the course of the book, large swaths of the story have little to nothing to do with her, which didn’t bother me but is worth noting in case that is why one picked up the book.

All in all I quite enjoyed this one. It was a slow read, and the descriptions of the war years were difficult, but I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my review copy. The book releases in the U.S. on February 11, 2020.

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