The Velvet Hours
From the international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Garden of Letters, comes a story—inspired by true events—of two women pursuing freedom and independence in Paris during WWII.
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.
"Richman fills her novel with vibrant details, much as Marthe decorated her apartment: always with care, craft, and a sharp eye."
Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)
"The Velvet Hours is a love letter to the stories we tell and the stories we keep. It poses the idea that even the most well-intentioned life can hold guilt, and even the most aimless can find absolution. Imaginative, rich, and emotionally satisfying, The Velvet Hours is a treasure."
Jewish Book Council
"Richman's background in art is evident on every page of this opulent story of passion and transformation."
NY Journal of Books