A beautiful book beautifully written I am a huge fan of the art deco period, love the clothes and the fabulous architecture Yes, I have been to Cannes and stayed in Le Cannet, the old part of the town Seen the yachts in Antibes and seen where the grand Prix takes place in Monaco It s just a shame that we can t see those wonderful sprawling chateaus any I want to go back someday You will enjoy this wonderful book. I loved every word Sarra Manning Red Lovell dissects their lives and curates the interesting parts, bringing together the creme of high society A sparkling group biography that brings to life a bygone era The Lady Lovell wears her detailed research lightly and has produced a sprightly, well paced account, rich in fascinating anecdotean entertaining and zesty read Sunday Express Lovell is superb on the great villas of the Riviera The Times A blissful book it s like basking in the warm Med Rachel Johnson Mail on Sunday Mary S Lovell s social history is a meticulously researched and highly entertaining story about the characters who populated this decadent worldconfiding and intimate, and it s an illuminating read Hannah Beckerman ObserverA portrait of high society in the twentieth century, told through the stories of the guests of Maxine Elliott and Prince Aly Khan at the Chateau de l Horizon in Cannes. This is the story of a House on the Riviera, how it was built, and thebeautiful people who stayed there in its heyday, but it is also much much It is a fascinating tale of an American woman of relatively humble means who gate crashed into English society, through a combination of talent, grit charm, accumulated wealth and determination Despite the fact that so many of the characters seem to be wastrels, some of those guests she gathered under her roof, such as Churchill, were movers and shakers in society in the 1930s Because of the huge social inequalities one wants to despise this hedonistic set, but I grew to quite like some of them Their modern wealthy counterparts seem pale imitations in comparison to this uninhibited group, who overindulged in sex and drugs, and so much else A guilty pleasure. A brilliant author I have read all of her books and they are all meticulously researched and presented, very unputdownable once you begin. Fascinating and slightly repulsive at the same time It reads ike a continuous gossip column about the glamorous, almost hedonistic lifestyle of the aristocracy of Europe and those who wished to be accepted into that circle it provides a close up running commentary of one of the most famous boltholes of the Riveira between the wars and after The famous guests of the house included politicians, film stars, royalty all the movers and shakers of the era They partied like there was no other life outside their pampered, luxurious world It tracks an almost unimaginably indulgent lifestyle for those of us who live in the real world of committed relationships, jobs, financial pressures, family loyalties.Nonetheless an enjoyable read I enjoyed many sections of this book and it certainly does give an insight into the carefree and quite hedonistic lifestyle of the set who inhabited the lovely coastal homes Eventually it got a bit repetitive and drawn out for me, and it can be difficult to keep track of the changing relationships I would have loved photos top look at alongside the text as so much of what is interesting is about the locations nd the houses. This is a book of revelations It purveys a sort of up market gossip, exposing the underbelly of the lives of the famous of that era Especially interesting were the enlightening insights into the character of Winston Churchill He is revealed to have been an even rounded individual than we see in the portrayals of him in biographies and modern history writings It is a book I would read again if only I had the time. A very good read overall, and a fascinating insight into a glamorous world that you can t help but be drawn to, and of course it makes you want to visit the Riviera immediately It peaked for me after the first two thirds of the book which were truly brilliant although I agree that certain parts of it felt like a compilation of excerpts from the author s previous books about Churchill, the Windsors and their contemporaries to give us the story of the central figure the villa, and as such it didn t flow as well as it could have done in my opinion After the end of the Second World War and the subsequent purchase of the villa by Aly Khan the book loses its way a little, owing probably to the fact that it is used far less than it was in its heyday under the ownership of Maxine who dominates the earlier part of the book.I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in recent history and the glamour which surrounded British aristocracy, European jet setters and the fledgling Hollywood elite who were infiltrating old money Especially interesting when set against both the depression and rationing of the First and Second World Wars, and a telling portrayal of how celebrity has changed between then and now.If I were to be very picky, there are a couple of inconsistencies at one point the Reves are not fans of Onassis, and a couple of pages later he is described as a friend and the editing is a little lazy but that doesn t effect the overall enjoyment of the book.