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The Queen of Paris  By  cover art

The Queen of Paris

By: Pamela Binnings Ewen
Narrated by: Gabrielle de Cuir
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Publisher's Summary

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-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?

©2020 Pamela Binnings Ewen (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Queen of Paris

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Perceptive Biography and Narration

I loved this listen. The author does a great job of switching between two timelines; one first person and one third person. The author really captures Coco's self-centered world, while managing to let us still like her. I especially liked the details of Paris during WWII occupation. I am a native French speaker, and the narrator did an amazing job with all the languages (French, German, etc) and the great variety of characters. Her men voices didn't give me hives. I'm picky that way. This is a wonderful fictional biography.

12 people found this helpful

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Wonderful, human story

I’ve read numerous books on the life of Coco Chanel, and this one is by far my favorite. This account of her life was from her own point of view, which made it all the more interesting. Her personal vulnerabilities, along with her strengths, resilience, and creativity were all interwoven in such a masterful way, that the complexities of her character and personality were compelling. The disappointments and heartbreaks in her life impacted her character so dramatically, that, for me, made her a sympathetic character, in spite of her Nazi connections. Wonderful book.

9 people found this helpful

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Imagined

I enjoyed the story. For example, it made me wonder what I would do in face of war. However, I'm not sure i support the "imagined" portrayal of a real person. Part of me never wants to buy anything Chanel again, but then it's possible this author has misportrayed Mlle. Chanel. Was she trying to slander Chanel or the company; make excuses for her ;×or just trying to make me feel sympathy for the poor orphan who made something of herself despite horrible circumstances? I'm not sure I support this genre. I'd prefer an autobiography or authorized biography more than putting words into someone's mouth.

7 people found this helpful

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Self centered Coco

If any part of this book is true, then Coco would fit into this arrogant, self centered, narrow minded world. Once again, the rich escape their punishment.

6 people found this helpful

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Best book of 2020:)

Loved the narration, the writing and the overall story. That was everything I could want in a book!

4 people found this helpful

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I admit to a love- hate relationship with Chanel

I was disappointed at 40 to find out Coco Chanel was a Nazi sympathizer. I had loved and fallen in love wearing her No.5 in my 20s. I have a love-hate relationship with her brand to this day.

I've given the book generally 4 stars because I have a difficult time giving 5 stars to the graphicly brutal descriptions the author chose to include. The full color movie playing in my head as a result will keep me from sleeping for a few days.

In this book we learn "why Coco Chanel made the choices she made in WWII." As such, I'm still a bit unclear about the ending and the relationship between Coco and Pierre . Was she in on it the whole time?

The book was expertly written and would make a good discussion book for a book club or ethics class.

3 people found this helpful

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Intriguing

I enjoyed this book. i felt like it was a different perspective on life in WWII in Paris. It also gave insight into what it was like to be Coco Channel. I knew she was a German collaborator but this book dealt with why she made the choices she made. The narrator felt a little formal but that fit with the character of Coco. Overall a good listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting.

Pretty good read. I think the story could have been summed up in half the time.

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Coco is not very nice

The author and the narrator did a commendable job of describing the snobbish Coco Channel’s fictional life through two world wars. Through the voice of the narrator the vapor of haughtiness permeates the voice of the formerly abandoned child raised as an orphan in a convent that changed her circumstances through hard work, charm and good luck. Channel’s seductive ways offended my feminist sensibilities although I had to remind myself of the times.

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So Glad I decided on this read

A few weeks ago, I was trolling through the Target kids books and I was curious what material I would find. I picked up a read-to-me book of bed time stories for children. It was a beautiful book recently released into the “WOKE” world. I happened to open up to a one page story “Coco Chanel”. It was a lovely synopsis of the life of Coco. The story should have ended on a good note. There was a one sentence paragraph at the end. “Isn’t it a shame that she was a Nazi sympathizer?”
I was shocked in disbelief at the thought of a 4-5 year old hearing this ending. I realized that this was the art of a CRT radical left author. Chanel is known to the entire world and little girls want to be Coco Chanel. My daughter dreams of having one or 2 things, even if only sunglasses. History books and Google are not kind with their remarks.
I am so glad that I know a true version of her life and that I was left with overwhelming respect for her and her fight to survive. She never seemed to grasp how she gave so much and how she lit up peoples lives.
The novelized version an the narration drew me right in. 12/9/21. So glad I went further in my search for the truth at a time when truth is in short supply.