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Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style--the iconic little black dress--and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style--the iconic little black dress--and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII--as discovered in recently unearthed wartime files. Coco Chanel could be cheerful, lighthearted, and generous; she also could be ruthless, manipulative, even cruel. Against the winds of war, with the Wehrmacht marching down the Champs-�lys�es, Chanel finds herself residing alongside the Reich's High Command in the Hotel Ritz. Surrounded by the enemy, Chanel wages a private war of her own to wrestle full control of her perfume company from the hands of her Jewish business partner, Pierre Wertheimer. With anti-Semitism on the rise, he has escaped to the United States with the confidential formula for Chanel No. 5. Distrustful of his intentions to set up production on the outskirts of New York City, Chanel fights to seize ownership. The House of Chanel shall not fall. While Chanel struggles to keep her livelihood intact, Paris sinks under the iron fist of German rule. Chanel--a woman made of sparkling granite--will do anything to survive. She will even agree to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect her darkest secrets. When she is covertly recruited by Germany to spy for the Reich, she becomes Agent F-7124, code name: Westminster. But why? And to what lengths will she go to keep her stormy past from haunting her future?


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Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style--the iconic little black dress--and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style--the iconic little black dress--and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII--as discovered in recently unearthed wartime files. Coco Chanel could be cheerful, lighthearted, and generous; she also could be ruthless, manipulative, even cruel. Against the winds of war, with the Wehrmacht marching down the Champs-�lys�es, Chanel finds herself residing alongside the Reich's High Command in the Hotel Ritz. Surrounded by the enemy, Chanel wages a private war of her own to wrestle full control of her perfume company from the hands of her Jewish business partner, Pierre Wertheimer. With anti-Semitism on the rise, he has escaped to the United States with the confidential formula for Chanel No. 5. Distrustful of his intentions to set up production on the outskirts of New York City, Chanel fights to seize ownership. The House of Chanel shall not fall. While Chanel struggles to keep her livelihood intact, Paris sinks under the iron fist of German rule. Chanel--a woman made of sparkling granite--will do anything to survive. She will even agree to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect her darkest secrets. When she is covertly recruited by Germany to spy for the Reich, she becomes Agent F-7124, code name: Westminster. But why? And to what lengths will she go to keep her stormy past from haunting her future?

30 review for The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel (1883-1972) remains to be an icon of couture and perfume Chanel No. 5. But what probably most of us don’t know, she was also a Nazi spy. By playing with fire, she put herself into fire. To save something or someone she dearly loved, she had collaborated with the Nazi’s. French Riviera, 1944. Gabrielle Chanel – Coco to most – just learned that her business partner has stolen the No. 5 perfume formula. Pierre Wertheimer, Jewish businessman, flees Europe for America ta Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel (1883-1972) remains to be an icon of couture and perfume Chanel No. 5. But what probably most of us don’t know, she was also a Nazi spy. By playing with fire, she put herself into fire. To save something or someone she dearly loved, she had collaborated with the Nazi’s. French Riviera, 1944. Gabrielle Chanel – Coco to most – just learned that her business partner has stolen the No. 5 perfume formula. Pierre Wertheimer, Jewish businessman, flees Europe for America taking with him the formula to produce it in the US. “Since closing her line of couture last year after the worker’s strike, No. 5 has become her primary source of income.” She takes the case to court. The story alternates between 1940-1944 and her past. 1909. On a hot humid day, “on a whim I tied a black grosgrain ribbon around the rim of a straw boater, a lighter, cooler hat than fashionable ladies wore.” Then suddenly, some ladies crave her hat. Before she knows, she is in business of selling hats. “Then came jackets and skirts and blouses… (…) classic, simple…” 1940. As France is under German control, now it’s also governed by German laws. She thinks she can outsmart SS officer. But she makes a fatal mistake. And now she can lose everything, even her freedom. Vividly imagined story has a heart-warming ending, even tear-dropping. To have such a friend… The focus of the story is Coco Chanel, not the gruesome events of WWII. At the same time, the author skillfully puts dimensions into the time period. It is interesting to read how war is progressing in France, some not feeling the effect of it at all, at least at the beginning of the war. And after liberation, the terror, or the Purge, that follows on the streets of Paris. Coco Chanel is very real. She is a very complex woman. Among her many traits, she is ambitious, driven, arrogant, and more. Events in her life propel her to be certain way. She makes a name for herself, but she is not so lucky with the love of her life – Boy Capel. Despite her superiority, she still can be a likeable character and you do feel sympathy for her and feel for her lost love. With smooth prose and evoking characters, this story of an iconic couturier is revealed in engrossing layers. P.S. Keep in mind, the POV presented in this story is author’s. Was Coco Chanel a Nazi spy of her choice or was she forced to be one? It remains to be questionable. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    I have just read “The Queen of Paris” A Novel of Coco Chanel by Pamela Binnings Ewen What an intriguing book. Pamela Binnings Ewen writes eloquently. The author has done a great deal of research, and the book was very engaging and very interesting. Her description of Coco Chanel and the era was very visual. It is a storyline takes place during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII I am giving this book a solid 4.5 stars I found it a wonderful read, but at times a bit hard t I have just read “The Queen of Paris” A Novel of Coco Chanel by Pamela Binnings Ewen What an intriguing book. Pamela Binnings Ewen writes eloquently. The author has done a great deal of research, and the book was very engaging and very interesting. Her description of Coco Chanel and the era was very visual. It is a storyline takes place during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII I am giving this book a solid 4.5 stars I found it a wonderful read, but at times a bit hard to follow all of the characters, and a bit long winded, however a book that I would highly recommend to those who love a good historical fiction #TheQueenOfParis #NetGalley Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joan Happel

    This is a fascinating look at the iconic Coco Chanel during the time of the Nazi occupation of France. It is 1940 and Chanel has built up a company and a legacy with her couture and her signature perfume, Chanel no. 5. Using flashbacks, Ewen paints a picture of a poverty stricken and abandoned Coco, who learns to trust no one in her quest for a better life. Now her business partner, Pierre Wertheimer, has left with the formula for Chanel no. 5 and resettled in New York in order to begin producti This is a fascinating look at the iconic Coco Chanel during the time of the Nazi occupation of France. It is 1940 and Chanel has built up a company and a legacy with her couture and her signature perfume, Chanel no. 5. Using flashbacks, Ewen paints a picture of a poverty stricken and abandoned Coco, who learns to trust no one in her quest for a better life. Now her business partner, Pierre Wertheimer, has left with the formula for Chanel no. 5 and resettled in New York in order to begin production there, all behind Coco Chanel’s back. She is desperate to seize control back and is even willing to use the new Nazi courts and their anti-Semitic laws against the Jewish Pierre. Drawing the attention of the Nazis and their realization that Coco’s son is in a concentration camp, leads to Coco’s recruitment into the Nazi spy network. She is sent to Spain to convince Franco to join forces with Hitler and Mussolini in their quest to conquer Europe. Coco remains a guest of the Ritz hotel, even though it was being used as the Nazi Headquarters. Though it has never been proven that the child Coco claimed to be her nephew, was really her son, Ewen takes some liberties by creating this bond to explain some of Coco Chanel’s motivations for helping the Nazi’s. It is true that she was able to use her business acumen after the Allies freed Paris, to escape the fate of other suspected Nazi sympathizers, by handing out free bottles of Chanel no. 5 to GIs. Despite her denials of ever working with the enemy, files released years later, confirmed that she did indeed have at least a code name and handlers. This portrayal of Coco is not without sympathy. Though characterized as arrogant; myopically ambitious and ruthless; and often uncaring to those suffering around her; Ewan softens her character by her portrayal of a sad and lonely childhood, and Coco’s unwavering love toward a son who does not reciprocate her feelings. The prose and descriptions of both a conquered Paris, and an earlier world of upper-class luxury; paint a vivid picture of the France of Coco Chanel’s time. This is a well-researched, unapologetic work of historical fiction, and an interesting view of a strong, powerful woman and who she really was. This would be a great read for those interested in WWII historical fiction, biographical fiction, and fiction about the world of couture fashion and one of its most celebrated women. Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for the e-ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    The three stars are for the incredible writing talent of the author because it takes a masterful effort to have me read an entire story and hate the title character. The Queen of Paris is none other than Coco Chanel and this volume focuses on her collaboration with the Nazi regime that occupied Paris. This, of course, is now established in the historical record that Chanel was anti-Semitic. To what extent were the activities that she engages in collaboration is what the author deals with creat The three stars are for the incredible writing talent of the author because it takes a masterful effort to have me read an entire story and hate the title character. The Queen of Paris is none other than Coco Chanel and this volume focuses on her collaboration with the Nazi regime that occupied Paris. This, of course, is now established in the historical record that Chanel was anti-Semitic. To what extent were the activities that she engages in collaboration is what the author deals with creating a storyline. Most of the WWII books that not only grace my shelves but also other readers as well are tales of those who resisted, who joined the fight against the occupiers in one way or another and then there are also the dozens and dozens of Holocaust survivor stories which have been read. Then here comes this book which is about a self-centered, egotistical and entitled French woman who merely looks at the Jewish roundups and shrugs and says "This has nothing to do with me." Basically, here comes a story that focuses on the majority of why people "looked the other way." For Coco Chanel, she was concerned about her family and her business. As I stated in my first paragraph, I read the entirety of this book and never liked Chanel. I just couldn't. I also really couldn't find the empathy that I think the author wanted me to have even with the back story that was presented in flashbacks. Does the fact that your father abandoned you as a child and your lovers rejected you, give you permission to do the things you did during a time of war? I don't know but this book sure has twisted me in knots just thinking about it. As I said, it's a whole shade of grey. Goodreads review published 13/04/20 Publication Date 07/04/20 Thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I’d like to start by thanking Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for this ARC. Prior to reading this book, I did not know much about the story of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel. I have read a lot of WWII historical fiction, so I was very excited to read this. I've seen some claims that she was anti-Semitic so I was interested to see how that was approached in this novel and if I felt like I could come to the same conclusion. Of course, this is historical FICTION, so I understand that there may be some I’d like to start by thanking Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for this ARC. Prior to reading this book, I did not know much about the story of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel. I have read a lot of WWII historical fiction, so I was very excited to read this. I've seen some claims that she was anti-Semitic so I was interested to see how that was approached in this novel and if I felt like I could come to the same conclusion. Of course, this is historical FICTION, so I understand that there may be some slant. The author's style in this book is very engaging and has the right amount of description. The writing was easy to follow and I like that the chapters were relatively short. My one concern with the writing style in Queen of Paris is that the pacing seemed a little strange; the years 1940 and 1941 take up nearly 85% of the novel while the remaining years through the end of WWII seemed rushed. This is one of the first novels I can remember classified as a WWII historical fiction that I've read that isn't focused on a "hero"... someone who resists the Nazis, is part of the French Resistance, or is Jewish and taken to a concentration camp. I liked that this was a different viewpoint and that Coco Chanel is clearly not a one-dimensional "perfect" person. While her character can be annoying at times and she frequently makes idiotic decisions, I think that is refreshing for this genre. While reading, I would find her actions to be frustrating and inappropriate, but then she'd surprise me by doing something I could understand. I am not saying I agree with every decision she made throughout this novel, I'm just saying it was refreshing to read about a "gray" character and attempt to understand the reasoning behind the decisions she made. In summary, I did enjoy reading this novel. At the end, the thought that stuck with me was that we all make poor decisions in our life, largely driven by our own experiences. Should we be forgiven for these mistakes if they are made because we are naive and acting in our own self interest? I'm not sure of the answer to that question, but this book will definitely make you think about it. Overall, a 3.5 star read for me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cassidee Lanstra

    Thanks to Netgalley for the early copy and to Blackstone for approving my request to read. Well, The Queen of Paris gets two stars from me. First, the good. Pamela Bunnings Ewen writes beautifully. She uses lush prose and brings the beautiful scenery and luxury of Coco Chanel’s lifestyle to the page with astounding clarity. She has certainly done a thorough job with her research. That’s THE only reason I’m giving the book any stars. Now, the bad. I somehow did not know that Coco Chanel was a Nazi Thanks to Netgalley for the early copy and to Blackstone for approving my request to read. Well, The Queen of Paris gets two stars from me. First, the good. Pamela Bunnings Ewen writes beautifully. She uses lush prose and brings the beautiful scenery and luxury of Coco Chanel’s lifestyle to the page with astounding clarity. She has certainly done a thorough job with her research. That’s THE only reason I’m giving the book any stars. Now, the bad. I somehow did not know that Coco Chanel was a Nazi Collaborator. I could blame that on not really being familiar or a fan girl of the Chanel brand, but my own ignorance is appalling. I requested this book because I figured it would be cool to learn about a woman who built a legacy long after she had passed on. Coco seems like the type of woman who ruthlessly went for what she wanted. To the point of selfishness and at times, humiliation. This story does not depict a kind or even likable person in my eyes. It might just be the subject matter, but I could not find admiration in Coco’s choice to collaborate with Nazis, and even take a Nazi lover, even if it was to help her friends and family. I can understand her thought process, as it would be unimaginable to know that your friends and family were in the hands of terrible people (that you are also willingly sleeping with). But, I think the admiration for people in that time lies with the ones who did everything to survive and fight AGAINST the Nazi wishes. This book made me realize that Coco Chanel was talented and commanding, but a terribly lonely social climber… willing to tear the world apart to suit her whims and fancies. I could find no joy in this book because of what I learned, but sadly, I know there’s plenty of people out there who are Chanel fans who will use this book as a means to heighten her pedestal.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy Robertson

    Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the opportunity to read the Advanced Readers Copy of The Queen of Paris, by Pamela Binnings Ewan., in exchange for my honest opinion and review. The subject of the Queen of Paris, Coco Chanel, is not new to me. The character in which she was portrayed was certainly not one fit of the title. Queen. Chanel was described as being anything but true to her homeland of Paris France. She was a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator. With the German Occupan Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the opportunity to read the Advanced Readers Copy of The Queen of Paris, by Pamela Binnings Ewan., in exchange for my honest opinion and review. The subject of the Queen of Paris, Coco Chanel, is not new to me. The character in which she was portrayed was certainly not one fit of the title. Queen. Chanel was described as being anything but true to her homeland of Paris France. She was a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator. With the German Occupancy of France in WWII, Coco did whatever slanderous actions needed to guarantee her personal prosperity. Coco lived a selfish life. Some called it survival, but to many she was simply a traitor to her country. It's as though war was beneath her, a mere nuisance. This story was one of love, loss, solitude, greed, and success, but always at a price. Chanel was a force to be reckoned with. It was not simply by chance that she became the business tycoon in which she built an empire. I found her to be rather cold and calculating. I found it hard to like her or root for her success. Coco lived a lonely existence beneath all the glitz, and to that I think she was deserving. I like the way this story flowed. The author was able to strip away this woman of wealth and power and show her deep and monstrous soul. She may have persevered, even prospered, however her lonely existence was brought upon by her own very thoughts and actions. #Netgalley #TheQueenofParis #PamelaBinningsEwan

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly_Instalove

    Just stop with this nonsense of humanizing and redeeming Nazis. Coco Chanel was NOT a hero or heroic figure in any sense of the word. SHE WAS AN AVOWED ANTI-SEMITE AND NAZI COLLABORATOR. I cannot say how appalled I am by the entire premise of this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina Boodhan Juras

    The Queen of Paris was another interesting look at the life of Coco Chanel, particularly her battle to regain control of Chanel No. 5 and her involvement with the German Reich during WWII. This book depicted Chanel's struggle to keep/regain her power and influence. Given her life in her early years, she may have felt this was her right and in a way I could understand that. Whether or not you agree with Coco Chanel's actions or her alliances is a separate issue, in my opinion. This book served to The Queen of Paris was another interesting look at the life of Coco Chanel, particularly her battle to regain control of Chanel No. 5 and her involvement with the German Reich during WWII. This book depicted Chanel's struggle to keep/regain her power and influence. Given her life in her early years, she may have felt this was her right and in a way I could understand that. Whether or not you agree with Coco Chanel's actions or her alliances is a separate issue, in my opinion. This book served to further fuel my interest in her life and her story. I really enjoyed reading this story, I couldn't put it down. It was very well-written. I felt as if I was living alongside Chanel in Paris. A special thank you to NetGalley and the author for the ARC.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maria11

    Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. This statement seems to sum up Coco and getting through WWII. Coco’s life history just seemed so depressing. She up is shunned so much in her life you can see why that once she has the status she will do anything to keep it. No much of her motivation is to save her son, but she also wants to retain her perfume. Humiliating as it is she still plodded on and kept her strangle hold. Then at the end it was all for not, her betrayal wasn’t a betrayal and h Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. This statement seems to sum up Coco and getting through WWII. Coco’s life history just seemed so depressing. She up is shunned so much in her life you can see why that once she has the status she will do anything to keep it. No much of her motivation is to save her son, but she also wants to retain her perfume. Humiliating as it is she still plodded on and kept her strangle hold. Then at the end it was all for not, her betrayal wasn’t a betrayal and her actions weren’t really necessary. Interesting book but dragged with so much description. The first two years were in detail and the end was rushed. Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nan Williams

    For those of us who grew up in the US post WWII, it’s hard to imagine what life was like for those living in Europe during the war: the horror of occupation, the deprivation, the lack of morality, the deterioration of society. There’s been a lot written lately concerning Jews caught up in the holocaust, but this is a totally different take on a different segment of society also caught up in that horrific time. For me, a mother and grandmother, I had to envision just how far I would stoop to prote For those of us who grew up in the US post WWII, it’s hard to imagine what life was like for those living in Europe during the war: the horror of occupation, the deprivation, the lack of morality, the deterioration of society. There’s been a lot written lately concerning Jews caught up in the holocaust, but this is a totally different take on a different segment of society also caught up in that horrific time. For me, a mother and grandmother, I had to envision just how far I would stoop to protect a loved one. Many, many people had to make that awful choice during that time. It’s easy in our current safe and affluent lives to say, “I’d never do that.” But what if your child’s life depended on your doing something which was against everything you believed? This was a very interesting novel based on the life of Coco Chanel, couturier and perfumer. As a child, she lost her mother to illness and was sent, along with her 2 sisters, to an orphanage by her father – whom she never saw again. She learned class consciousness when she was used by her two [wealthy] paramours solely as their mistress even though they both confessed love and one, Boy Capel, promised marriage. She had hard lessons to learn, but her strength and determination made her a very strong woman. This novel was meticulously researched and very true to the non-fiction accounts I’ve read of Chanel’s life. There have been books written about Germans who were ignorant of what was going on around them, but this is the first I’ve read about an aspect of the French society ignorant of the results of the German occupation. This was not a fast read, but certainly a worthwhile one. I appreciate this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a review. I will look forward to other books from this author.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    Just finished reading this amazing book and I’m in awe.The author brought this icon to life in these pages.The different roles she played during World War II and the reasons why.This book goes beyond the facade to show us the real woman.The one who did what she had to for love of family and Chanel No 5. Extremely interesting details of how the rich lived during this time. You won’t be able to put it down once you start. Thankyou Netgalley for this ARC.

  13. 4 out of 5

    🌈⭐️RoseOfRainbows⭐️🌈💕

    Beautiful, heartbreaking and I adore it. It’s sometimes painful to hear her story but there’s beauty in pain. And Coco Chanel is just that, an icon of not only beauty but also pain. The Queen of Paris she is. The Queen she will stay. 5/5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    This is a fiction general market book that covers briefly Coco Chanel's childhood when she was orphaned at a young age and turned over to be raised in a convent, but predominantly is focused on her life during World War 2 in Paris. By the time the war got to France, Coco had already developed Chanel #5 and had her clothing boutique in operation. Much of her financing came from a Jewish partner, Pierre Wertheimer. Young and naive, she doesn't make a very good deal with Pierre as he gets 90% contr This is a fiction general market book that covers briefly Coco Chanel's childhood when she was orphaned at a young age and turned over to be raised in a convent, but predominantly is focused on her life during World War 2 in Paris. By the time the war got to France, Coco had already developed Chanel #5 and had her clothing boutique in operation. Much of her financing came from a Jewish partner, Pierre Wertheimer. Young and naive, she doesn't make a very good deal with Pierre as he gets 90% control of the company and Coco gets only 10%. She also makes numerous bad choices in both her business and love life which come back to haunt her. But she is a survivor, and manages to come out well in the end except for the relationship with her only son. Well written, this book is an interesting look at someone who came from nothing but rises through pure grit and determination to become a fashion and perfume icon. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane Standish

    Thanks to #BlackstonePublishing and #netgalley for the opportunity to read and review #thequeenofparis Pub. Date 4/7/2020 This book tells the story of Coco Chanel and her life during the Nazi occupation of Paris. The author uses flashbacks to fill in the details of her early life. Basically the book posits that Coco worked for the Nazis during the war. She lived in the Ritz hotel, where all the high ranking Nazis stayed. Her partner in her Chanel No. 5 perfume stole the recipe for her signature sc Thanks to #BlackstonePublishing and #netgalley for the opportunity to read and review #thequeenofparis Pub. Date 4/7/2020 This book tells the story of Coco Chanel and her life during the Nazi occupation of Paris. The author uses flashbacks to fill in the details of her early life. Basically the book posits that Coco worked for the Nazis during the war. She lived in the Ritz hotel, where all the high ranking Nazis stayed. Her partner in her Chanel No. 5 perfume stole the recipe for her signature scent and we follow along as Coco fights to keep control of her creation. Everything she does is aimed at saving what rightly belonged to her. A well written book that I highly recommend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Bradley

    Firstly, thank you to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me an ARC. Prior to reading “The Queen of Paris”, I have to admit that I was not au fait with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (other than handbags made by this brand are astronomically priced). My main reason for requesting this was because I have read a lot of WWII historical fiction and the premise of this book sounded original and unlike anything I had read before. I am so thankful to have had the privilege of reading an ARC as not Firstly, thank you to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me an ARC. Prior to reading “The Queen of Paris”, I have to admit that I was not au fait with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (other than handbags made by this brand are astronomically priced). My main reason for requesting this was because I have read a lot of WWII historical fiction and the premise of this book sounded original and unlike anything I had read before. I am so thankful to have had the privilege of reading an ARC as not only did this book cover the history of WWII in beautiful detail, it also shone a light on an amazingly strong and defiant woman who was not only making a name for herself in a male-dominated industry, but also a true survivor and fighter who used her wit and intelligence to survive during a very dangerous time in history. Readers will undoubtedly be torn as to how they feel about Coco Chanel’s “betrayal” of her country and that is solely due to the riveting writing style of Pamela Bennings Ewen, making the story so heartbreakingly real and raw it is hard to let go even after finishing the book. I definitely have come away with huge respect for the woman who was born Gabrielle Chanel, who like a phoenix from the flames of destruction, rose to be the powerhouse that is Coco Chanel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chrysta

    I have been a little torn over this book. While on one hand I loved learning all about Coco Chanel but I felt at times it was a bit lengthy in places. Coco is a wonderfully strong woman who despite very humble beginnings becomes quite a force in the fashion world. Using her intellect and status she was able to comfortably live in occupied France right in the nest of many powerful Nazis. Such a great novel about the life, love and tragedy of Coco especially during WWII.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Lewis

    ***I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review This book takes you through Coco Chanel's life, from the time she was a young girl, up until after the war when she moved to Switzerland. I have read a lot of historical fiction about WWII and particularly about Coco Chanel and her involvement with the Nazis. This book spent a lot of time on her ongoing battle with Pierre Wertheimer over rights to her Chanel No. 5 perfume, which he stole and took to America and star ***I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review This book takes you through Coco Chanel's life, from the time she was a young girl, up until after the war when she moved to Switzerland. I have read a lot of historical fiction about WWII and particularly about Coco Chanel and her involvement with the Nazis. This book spent a lot of time on her ongoing battle with Pierre Wertheimer over rights to her Chanel No. 5 perfume, which he stole and took to America and started producing there during the war. It also spent a lot of time on her time as a spy for the Nazis. I have to admit I wasn't familiar with either of those facts so they were interesting, but I did wish there wasn't quite so much time focused on those, especially the court battle with Pierre. Otherwise, it was a fascinating book with a lot of interesting information about one of the most iconic people in the fashion industry.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christine Mott

    The Queen of Paris By: Pamela Binnings Ewen 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This exquisite story is about the early life of Coco Chanel. Coco is known worldwide for her perfume Chanel No. 5. This story tells of her early life in 1900’s through World War II. 🇫🇷 Coco was on top of the world after being abandon as a child. She lives in The Ritz in Paris and has her every whim catered too by men and staff. She used her femininity to get what she wanted out of life. She finally found love only to realize things would not tu The Queen of Paris By: Pamela Binnings Ewen 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This exquisite story is about the early life of Coco Chanel. Coco is known worldwide for her perfume Chanel No. 5. This story tells of her early life in 1900’s through World War II. 🇫🇷 Coco was on top of the world after being abandon as a child. She lives in The Ritz in Paris and has her every whim catered too by men and staff. She used her femininity to get what she wanted out of life. She finally found love only to realize things would not turn out as she hoped. 🇫🇷 I had no idea that Coco Chanel was a spy. She was given a choice to help the Germans in exchange to save her nephew/son who was a prison. Her company was also in jeopardy and the Germans promised to help with this too. 🇫🇷 This beautifully written story is filled with vivid details. I was so immersed in this story that I could visualize everything that was happening in Coco’s world. #thequeenofparis, #pamelabinningsewen, #blackstonepublishing, #booksconnectus, #socialdistancing, #stamperlady50, #bookreview, #bookstagram, #historicalfiction

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tristan Munoz

    The Queen of Paris is a historical fiction novel about the life of Coco Chanel in Paris during the height of WWII. I wanted to read this book because I didn't know much about Chanel. The research I did after reading the book suggests that the author was well researched in her writing of this book. The book begins as Coco Chanel is faced with the theft of the recipe for her most famous product, her perfume Chanel No. 5, To maintain her livelihood and hold onto the rights to her beloved fragrance, The Queen of Paris is a historical fiction novel about the life of Coco Chanel in Paris during the height of WWII. I wanted to read this book because I didn't know much about Chanel. The research I did after reading the book suggests that the author was well researched in her writing of this book. The book begins as Coco Chanel is faced with the theft of the recipe for her most famous product, her perfume Chanel No. 5, To maintain her livelihood and hold onto the rights to her beloved fragrance, Coco makes some life changing decisions. The book gives flashbacks to Coco's childhood, which lends a clearer picture as to why she makes the decisions that she does. I am grateful for the opportunity to read The Queen of Paris, and to gain a better understanding of the life of one of history's most iconic figures. Thank you to NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing and Pamela Binnings Ewen for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Lynn Sletten

    As WWII looms over Paris, Coco Chanel is faced with the unexpected defection of the man she is in business with to produce her most famous product of all—her perfume, Chanel N° 5. In an attempt to get back her rights to the perfume, she will agree to do anything. But is it worth it in the end? The Queen of Paris explores the life of Coco Chanel through the occupation of Paris during the war. This picture of Chanel is not a pretty one. It shows how she will do anything—even if it means going agai As WWII looms over Paris, Coco Chanel is faced with the unexpected defection of the man she is in business with to produce her most famous product of all—her perfume, Chanel N° 5. In an attempt to get back her rights to the perfume, she will agree to do anything. But is it worth it in the end? The Queen of Paris explores the life of Coco Chanel through the occupation of Paris during the war. This picture of Chanel is not a pretty one. It shows how she will do anything—even if it means going against her beloved France—to keep what she has built and protect the ones she loves. Glimpses into her past give you a clearer picture of why she became so motivated to be successful, and why it is so important for her to cling to what is hers. A beautifully written story. Perfect for readers of historical fiction.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacinda Literature Babe

    An absolute triumph! This is an Absolutely delicious story of Chanel during the war years of WWII. It's the Chanel you never knew about. The author, Pamela Binnings Ewen, brings the darker side of Chanel's sumptuous life alive in this Historical Fiction story of her lost loves, memories, and the struggle to hold on to her greatest creation; Chanel No.5 perfume while the France collapses during the Nazi Occupation. This book is explosive in bringing the enigmatic Coco Chanel alive...she was a woma An absolute triumph! This is an Absolutely delicious story of Chanel during the war years of WWII. It's the Chanel you never knew about. The author, Pamela Binnings Ewen, brings the darker side of Chanel's sumptuous life alive in this Historical Fiction story of her lost loves, memories, and the struggle to hold on to her greatest creation; Chanel No.5 perfume while the France collapses during the Nazi Occupation. This book is explosive in bringing the enigmatic Coco Chanel alive...she was a woman completely ahead of her time and apologized to no one. She didn't need to, she is COCO. She is Chanel. She is fashion. She is the infamous Chanel No.5, and she is a spy. This is the Chanel you never knew, and after reading this extremely well researched book, you the reader, will be left with deciding for yourself who she really was.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    THE QUEEN OF PARIS was an interesting story about what Coco Chanel had fought through, from her troubled childhood to her rise as “Queen of Paris” to her battle to keep her reputation and fashion house alive during WWII. There were times I wanted to laugh out loud at her behavior and other times I wanted to smack her. It’s always fascinating to peek behind the curtain into the lives of fashion icons. The story was written beautifully and clearly well researched.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Len

    I love a good historical read, and Chanel and those she surrounded herself were definitely interesting characters. While I certainly have not found Chanel to be a particularly likeable character, she was undoubtedly fascinating, and while the author does go some way to explaining what drove her to her betrayals, she is still, in my mind, a 'collabo' who managed to escape the worst of others of her ilk.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    When it is snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. An electrifying novel based on the life of Coco Chanel, The Queen of Paris When it is snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. An electrifying novel based on the life of Coco Chanel, The Queen of Paris reveals an unseen side to the celebrated icon as she trades fashion for espionage during World War II to protect her name, her business, and her legend. Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style—the iconic little black dress—and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumours. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII—as discovered in recently unearthed wartime files. Coco Chanel could be cheerful, lighthearted, and generous; she also could be ruthless, manipulative, even cruel. Against the winds of war, with the Wehrmacht marching down the Champs-Élysées, Chanel finds herself residing alongside the Reich’s High Command in the Hotel Ritz. Surrounded by the enemy, Chanel wages a private war of her own to wrestle full control of her perfume company from the hands of her Jewish business partner, Pierre Wertheimer. With anti-Semitism on the rise, he has escaped to the United States with the confidential formula for Chanel No. 5. Distrustful of his intentions to set up production on the outskirts of New York City, Chanel fights to seize ownership. The House of Chanel shall not fall. While Chanel struggles to keep her livelihood intact, Paris sinks under the iron fist of German rule. Chanel—a woman made of sparkling granite—will do anything to survive. She will even agree to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect her darkest secrets. When she is covertly recruited by Germany to spy for the Reich, she becomes Agent F-7124, code name: Westminster. But why? And to what lengths will she go to keep her stormy past from haunting her future? When one thinks of Chanel, we think of perfume and glamour - not spying and her sad, sad life. The book is well written and the characters pop and the fact that it is based on truth made it even more interesting. It made me think of the time I read about Mamie Eisenhower asking for Chanel No.5 during the war and being told that it wasn't even available for her, wife of a top general (and future first lady!!!!!!). This is a great companion piece to Chanel's Riviera: Life, Love and the Struggle for Survival on the Côte D’Azur, 1930–.1944 by Anne Decourcy, and a great book club pick. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter..get a real job, people!) so let's give it 👗👗👗👗👗 ,.. they did not have an LBD, unfortunately.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary K

    Coco Chanel is well known for her success as a perfumer (Chanel No 5) and a couturier. She overcame many obstacles and triumphed. I had to admire her determination, but I had trouble reconciling her work as a Nazi collaborator. She had a quick wit and the intelligence to maneuver through the dangerous political landscape that existed in Paris. Coco was a survivor. Her battle over No 5 while unsuccessful highlighted her business savvy. Coco was a force to be reckoned with. She loved deeply but no Coco Chanel is well known for her success as a perfumer (Chanel No 5) and a couturier. She overcame many obstacles and triumphed. I had to admire her determination, but I had trouble reconciling her work as a Nazi collaborator. She had a quick wit and the intelligence to maneuver through the dangerous political landscape that existed in Paris. Coco was a survivor. Her battle over No 5 while unsuccessful highlighted her business savvy. Coco was a force to be reckoned with. She loved deeply but not always wisely. Her liaisons with the famous and infamous never gave her the happiness and security she sought. The Queen of Paris was interesting and informative. Pamela Binnings Ewen based her story on fact. I was surprised by Coco's wide social circle and how involved she became with the powerful. I couldn't put down this book. It drew me in and made me check other sources to try and understand this complex woman. Reading The Queen of Paris was time well spent. I received a copy of this book which I voluntarily read and reviewed. My comments are my honest opinion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    gwendalyn _books_

    https://i0.wp.com/gwendalynbooks.blog... My Bookish Links: Twitter: http://twitter.com/gwendalyn_books Book Blog :http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com Instagram :http://Instagram.com/gwendalyn_books_ Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/edit/p... I am posting this to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post the review to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication. This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in https://i0.wp.com/gwendalynbooks.blog... My Bookish Links: Twitter: http://twitter.com/gwendalyn_books Book Blog :http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com Instagram :http://Instagram.com/gwendalyn_books_ Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/edit/p... I am posting this to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post the review to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication. This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style--the iconic little black dress--and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII--as discovered in recently unearthed wartime files. The Queen of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewe, is one stunning historical fiction. Bringing the harsh realities of living in German occupied France. Like so many people during WW2, The lines of each individual situation was different. Black and white of moral and social issues blurred causing the grey to over flow. This a thought provoking novel, of the iconic Coco Chanel, born Gabrielle Bonheur. Pamela Binnings Ewe, writing captures the incredible Coco as she is living at the Paris’s Hotel Ritz in the spring of 1940, during the German occupation. Coco is approched by a commanding officer of the Reich’s to become a spy. Seeing this as an opportunity to finally take back control of her company. Her motivations for being a collaborator and somewhat ruthless way of rising above to success. This was a fast me, I flipped the pages, taking in Pamela Binnings Ewen wonderful absorbing story. Meticulously researched The Queen Of Paris, is an excellent historical fiction, with riveting atmospheric details. Thanks to #BlackstonePublishing and #netgalley for the opportunity to read and review #thequeenofparis Pub. Date 4/7/2020

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Queen of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen is a fabulous historical fiction piece that focusses on a very polarizing woman, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The book narrates as Coco herself, and the reader is lucky enough to get inside her head to try to learn about her past, what monumental things happened in her life growing up and as an adult that can completely alter who they are and become, and also try to reason what was going through her mind during the German occupation of France. The book also The Queen of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen is a fabulous historical fiction piece that focusses on a very polarizing woman, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The book narrates as Coco herself, and the reader is lucky enough to get inside her head to try to learn about her past, what monumental things happened in her life growing up and as an adult that can completely alter who they are and become, and also try to reason what was going through her mind during the German occupation of France. The book also covers Coco’s flashbacks to her past, incorporating pivotal moments that altered her path in life as well as the aftermath of the Liberation of Paris. It also covers a few key happenings onwards as well as a great Author’s note that helped the reader know what was known fact vs speculation vs fictional details added in by the author for a better narrative. I have to say that before reading this, I did not know a lot about Chanel except that she lived at the Ritz for a while, was an antisemite and possible collaborator with the Germans. But, I knew that there had to be so much more. While her behavior is completely inexcusable, one has to think how they would react (in general) and what ideals they may compromise (she may have not have some of those ideals to begin with) when faced with survival or death. Those questions that hit at the base of who we are and what/whom we cherish most are brought up repeatedly while reading Coco’s story. It was a very thought-provoking novel, that had a great pace, an appropriate ending, and was a much enjoyable read. 5/5 stars enthusiastically Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for this great ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post the review to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication. Thank you again!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Raji

    Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own . Thank you to the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Queen of Paris is a glimpse into the life of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel better known as Coco Chanel during the years of World War II. On one hand, the Nazi occupy Paris, and on the other, Coco’s business partner has escaped to America taking with him the confidential formula of the world fa Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own . Thank you to the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Queen of Paris is a glimpse into the life of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel better known as Coco Chanel during the years of World War II. On one hand, the Nazi occupy Paris, and on the other, Coco’s business partner has escaped to America taking with him the confidential formula of the world famous Chanel No. 5 perfume. Fearing a double cross that might see her cut out of her business and the loss of her life’s work, she begins a legal battle for the ownership of the House of Chanel and is determined to win at any cost, using the fact that her business partner is Jewish to her favour, and even collaborating with the Nazis. Coco Chanel is a new historical figure for me, and I’ve never read much about her before. What I found most interesting about this book was that, although it is set in the middle of World War II, it focuses entirely on Chanel’s experience of it. Largely, Coco’s lifestyle is not affected much by the Nazi occupation at all, and she continues her luxurious lifestyle, legal battles aside. Interspersed with flashbacks from her younger years, the author paints a fascinating portrait of a girl of humble beginnings who learned some hard lessons along the way and grew into a strong and determined woman. I think this is also the first time I’ve read a historical fiction novel that doesn’t focus on a character that could be considered a ‘heroic’ figure by any stretch of imagination – a very complicated protagonist, if she can be called that at all. Coco is a hard character to like. She’s had a difficult life, no doubt, but her only focus is on her business and what might become of her were she to lose it. A Nazi sympathizer, she treats the war as no more than a nuisance and in some cases turns a deliberate blind eye to the sufferings around her, only caring when it affects someone close to her and even then only for that one person. The extent she is willing to go to to ensure her personal financial security and that of the House of Chanel is quite shocking – collaborating with Nazis, even before her costly mistake that leads to her turning spy. However, what I found far more interesting were the flashbacks from her earlier years, the repeated betrayals by the men in her life, and the events that led to the creation and rise of the House of Chanel, known as the Société Mademoiselle. But behind the glamour in the end, Coco Chanel led a very solitary life, ultimately something she brought upon herself by her actions. One thing I found really odd about this book was how the flashbacks were in first person, but the present day timeline was not. It was very jarring each time it switched, and would have been much better had the entire story been in first person. It was also extremely curious how, despite how driven by self-interest alone Coco is, there was a part of her that was astonishingly enough, still naive even after the many experiences and lessons she has gone through in life – she still doesn’t care to look beyond her own perspective. I really enjoyed this portrayal of Coco Chanel, a woman who was charming, but also undoubtedly cold, calculating and ruthless. It was fun getting to know about this interesting personality in this well researched and intriguing read. Highly recommended!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda McCutcheon

    The Queen Of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen is an historical fiction novel about the complex and fascinating life of Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel highlighting her life in Paris during WWII. This woman was a gutsy, creative, brave, stubborn, self involved walking contradiction who happened to be, by all documented accounts, a Nazi spy! Coco came from humble beginnings. She learns at an early age that if you want security you must make your own money. Luckily, she has her creative talent and womanly wile The Queen Of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen is an historical fiction novel about the complex and fascinating life of Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel highlighting her life in Paris during WWII. This woman was a gutsy, creative, brave, stubborn, self involved walking contradiction who happened to be, by all documented accounts, a Nazi spy! Coco came from humble beginnings. She learns at an early age that if you want security you must make your own money. Luckily, she has her creative talent and womanly wiles to start her own fashion business and make a fortune with her perfume Chanel No. 5. However, Coco isn't worldly enough to see the realities of business and political espionage and this lack of awareness nearly costs her The House of Chanel and her life. When the Nazis march through Paris she still believes it's a fake war. Living in wealth at the Hotel Ritz among Nazi leaders she not only believes she is safe she is more concerned about her Jewish business partner who has fled to New York with the Chanel No.5 formula. Coco makes some avoidable mistakes that lead her to being a Nazi spy. It is astonishing what she overcomes and how she remains, til this day, a fashion icon. I was excited to read this story from the moment I saw the beautiful intriguing cover and it did not disappoint me. In fast paced and extremely honest prose the author lets us see Coco in all her glory and her failures. Going back and forth from 1909 to1940 through 1944 we see Coco as an abandoned waif, a courtesan mistress, an inventor, a business woman, a stern boss and a desperate woman who does the unthinkable to survive. The author let's us draw our own conclusions of Coco. Was she really a Nazi sympathizer or a gullible fool? I have to say this book left me with more questions than answers but i was mesmerized with the journey. I received a free copy of this Ebook from the publisher via NetGalley for a fair and honest review.

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