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.
About the Author
Alyson Richman is the international bestselling author of The Garden of Letters, The Lost Wife, The Last Van Gogh, The Rhythm of Memory, and The Mask Carver’s Son. She lives in Long Island, New York, with her husband and two children.
Praise for The Velvet Hours Named one of the Best Fall Books of 2016 by PopSugar
“Alyson Richman's writing sings in her evocative new novel set in Paris at the dawn of World War II. The Velvet Hours is a beautiful and compelling portrait of two women facing their unknown past and an unimaginable future as their world begins to crumble.”—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
“Richman deftly weaves fact and fiction to create…a carefully wrought story of love, of what the heart chooses to give up, and what it chooses to keep. Highly recommended to readers who enjoyed Kristen Hannah's The Nightingale.”—New York Times bestselling author Karen White
“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
“A book as full of treasures as the Paris apartment that inspired it....A masterful mix of the glamour of the Belle Epoque and the shadows of impending war.”—New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig
“Richman’s stunningly rich prose artfully conjures up an age of high culture, art, literature and extravagant fashions, interlacing the decadent life of a nineteenth century courtesan with the more Spartan, unsettled months before France’s humiliation at the hands of the Nazis. The intricate details of the clothing, social mores and interior decoration of the time have been meticulously researched, the meeting of different cultures is convincingly and lovingly depicted, as is the difference between the two women, the lives they embrace and the men they love.”—The Catholic World Report
"Richman develops an enthralling saga of two women—alternating between the late 1800's and 1930's—based on an actual Paris apartment. The lush atmosphere of the Belle Epoque and the stress of the coming war, the wonderful relationship between the women along with the fascinating historical backdrops draw readers into a lavish, beautifully written novel. It's nearly impossible to put down and so moving that fans of The Nightingale and WW II novels will be enthralled and delighted."—RT Book Reviews Praise for the novels of Alyson Richman
“A truly beautiful, heartfelt story… I couldn’t put it down once I started it. Ms. Richman is a very special talent.”—Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author
“Staggeringly evocative, romantic, heartrending, sensual, and beautifully written.”—John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author
“Tragedy and hope, love and loss, and the strength to endure are examined through Richman’s graceful writing and powerful characters.”—Booklist
“If you love graceful, mellifluous writing, you should read this book.”—Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author
“Grabs your heart and doesn’t let go…Moving, unforgettable and so expertly told.”—Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author
”Lyrical and rich…filled with beauty and tragedy, romance and heartbreak.”—Jillian Cantor, author of Margot