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Publisher's Summary

"Narrator Sophie Roberts' strong, polished, highly sophisticated voice effectively conveys the aura of fashionable society but maintains a firm narrative objectivity. Droll, fascinating, full of memorable characters and anecdotes, here is a perspective on a world and time that moved from drawing-room comedy to the private dramas of war and occupation." (AudioFile magazine, Earphones Award winner)

In this captivating narrative, Chanel's Riviera explores the fascinating world of the Cote d'Azur during a period that saw the deepest extremes of luxury and terror in the twentieth century.

The Cote d'Azur in 1938 was a world of wealth, luxury, and extravagance, inhabited by a sparkling cast of characters including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Joseph P. Kennedy, Gloria Swanson, Colette, the Mitfords, Picasso, Cecil Beaton, and Somerset Maugham. The elite flocked to the Riviera each year to swim, gamble, and escape from the turbulence plaguing the rest of Europe. At the glittering center of it all was Coco Chanel, whose very presence at her magnificently appointed villa, La Pausa, made it the ultimate place to be. Born an orphan, her beauty and formidable intelligence allured many men, but it was her incredible talent, relentless work ethic, and exquisite taste that made her an icon.

But this wildly seductive world was poised on the edge of destruction. In a matter of months, the Nazis swooped down and the glamour of the pre-war parties and casinos gave way to the horrors of evacuation and the displacement of thousands of families during World War II. From the bitter struggle to survive emerged powerful stories of tragedy, sacrifice, and heroism.

Enriched by original research and de Courcy’s signature skill, Chanel's Riviera brings the experiences of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Anne de Courcy (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Chanel's Riviera

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Bit Misleading...

I was super excited to “read” this one as I really enjoyed de Courcy’s “The Husband Hunters”. The description of this book sounded fascinating. It was interesting but not what I expected. A good 75% of the novel was about World War II. While the Riviera was discussed in this context, it was more about France during the war with occasional check-ins with Chanel and her circle. The book details a host of characters, all interesting but it was hard to keep everyone straight, particularly as the years progressed. DeCourcy’s commitment to first hand accounts is impressive but in the end, I feel like I didn’t get what I thought I was getting, and was left wanting to know more about the Riviera.

11 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Kept me interested,could not stop listening. I will recommend,and play again one of my favorites!!!

3 people found this helpful

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Famous people, juicy gossip, great history!

This book is such fun! Though the narrative describes only a period of Coco Chanel's life, there is so much happening around her during that time, and so many people involved, that it becomes a complete and thorough story in itself. There is background about Chanel and references to her career in fashion as that relates to the time and place of the narrative, which takes place at a time before the Riviera became a playground exclusively for the rich and famous. There are plenty of rich and famous in this story, but this is when the Riviera had little fishing villages, modest homes, and a population of British who'd been there for years. A totally enjoyable read with many fun facts, and wild characters.

1 person found this helpful

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All history should be taught like this book


Having just read "The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel" by Pamela Binnings Ewen, I was curious to read a more factual account of the same period in history. in the previous book, Ewen makes a case for Chanel's nephew to secretly be her son, this book is firmly in the nephew camp. Ewen makes a case for Chanel to be at least a collaborator, if not a spy, this book gives more benefit of the doubt. etc.

Beyond Chanel, this book covers a lot of ground of the rich and famous during the Occupation of France. If history had been taught like this in school more of us would have retained the information.

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Perfect blend of positive narrative with horrible backdrop

The Nazi period presents such brutality and amoral acts, it is challenging for the author to inject positive behaviors in its midst. I would have put the book down if not for such adroit writing. Is it possible for us to accept another amoral autocrat who seeks revenge in our own country? The abuse of women continues today. Powerful achievement by author.

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Perhaps not best enjoyed in audio format

This is an impeccably researched and VERY sprawling book, so audio may not be the best way to consume this book. I ended up ordering a paperback copy of the book because my French is marginal and there are hundreds of untranslated French phrases included, whose meaning I wanted to know. The bits where the author opines specifically about Chanel's allegiances were uncomfortably "both sidesy" and irritatingly sympathetic to Chanel. Otherwise, it was an unexpected way for me to brush up on French WWII history.

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Chanel and WWII

While the book gave a fascinating look at the life on the Riviera in its beginning heyday, it was the coverage of life under German occupation that was really spellbinding!

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Superb, serious history beautifully read

This is an unusual story and so worth the listen. The extraordinary history, in depth of a forceful generation of gifted dilatantes, super rich and largely forgotten to. I learned more about Nazi occupation than from any number of spy stories. A forgotten history of people brought to life brilliantly and so well narrated . A joy of a book.