The Riviera Set is the story of the group of people who lived, partied, bed-hopped and politicked at the Château de l'Horizon near Cannes, over the course of forty years from the time when Coco Chanel made southern French tans fashionable in the twenties to the death of the playboy Prince Aly Khan in 1960. At the heart of this was the amazing Maxine Elliott, the daughter of a Sea Captain from Maine. It was Maxine who designed and built the beautiful art deco Château and brought together the likes of Noel Coward, the Aga Khan, the Windsors and two very saucy courtesans, Doris Castlerosse and Daisy Fellowes, who set out to be dangerous distractions to Winston Churchill as he worked on his journalism and biographies during his 'wilderness years' in the thirties.
After the War the story continued as the Château changed hands and Prince Aly Khan used it to entertain the Hollywood set, as well as launch his seduction of and eventual marriage to Rita Hayworth.
Readers of Mary's best-selling books; The Mitford Girls and The Churchills, will find many of the same personalities in this account of high society behaviour.
What the reviewers said:
"Sun, sex and silk pyjamas ... Lovell is superb on the great villas of the Riviera"
Paula Byrne, The Times.
"The chic Cote d'Azur villa where the rich went to misbehave... Gossipy [and] enjoyable. ..."
Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times
"Red Hot Days and Racy nights ...Mary Lovell is justifed in dedicating the first third of her crisp, fizzy book about the Riviera Set to the extraordinary story of this bright, witty and unstopable woman ..."
Helen Brown, Daily Mail
"I loved every word"
Sarra Manning, Red Magazine
"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"
"Lovell wears her detailed research lightly and has produced a sprightly, well-paced account, rich in fascinating anecdote . . . an entertaining and zesty read."
"...a giddy gallop through the ranks of the inter-war beau monde and some readers may be left breathless at the end of the ride. Fortunately, with Miss Lovell,we are in safe hands. As temperatures tumble and the nights draw in, The Riviera Set is a dream ticket to a lost world of seemingly perpetual sunshine"
Martin Williams, Country Life