The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman


Book Blurb from

Release Date: September 6,2016

As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young French woman closes the door to her late grandmother’s treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she’ll ever return.

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.  

My Review:

This novel brings together two stories based in Paris in a heartwarming novel. Marthe, the estranged grandmother, shares her life story with her granddaughter Solange in 1940. The book alternates between the current life of Solange and the past life of Marthe. Solange’s life is just beginning while Marthe’s  is near the end.  The short merging of their two lives forms the fabric of the story.

I loved Marthe’s story and while I was reading the book I wanted to understand how she became estranged from her son? How did she survive all these years on her own? How did she end up living in this great apartment? I wanted the answers, and this got me hooked into the book. The story also involved the lives of Solange’s family and friends facing German occupation and the impact on all their lives.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story but it was well executed and enjoyable. I am looking forward to more novels from Alyson Richman. I was sad when I finished the book.

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