The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

September 6, 2016 Whitney Review 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Velvet Hours by Alyson RichmanThe Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction

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.

Impressions on Relationships

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman is first and foremost a love story. It is not the kind that proclaims “love means never having to say you’re sorry” because let’s face it, who knows what that means. This is a story that transcends time.

The relationship between Marthe and Charles was so raw that at times I felt like I was violating their privacy. Yet, I could not bear to look away in fear they may have slipped into the shadows. Solange’s relationship was equally engrossing, and with the backdrop of war added an intensity that was miles above Oliver and Jenny.

Impressions on Writing

What really caught my eye was Richman’s way with words.

Solange describes her grandmother as:

And though she used her hands to emphasize certain elements, she never raised her hands further than her waistline and her fingers never opened. She used them in a way a bird might use its feathers, to give her words flight.

I felt this was the perfect way to depict Alyson Richman’s writing. It was delicate and flowed like a bird.

Impressions on Plot

I was captivated by the plot of The Velvet Hours. It was easy to be transported to the early 1900s and avidly waited for the next installment of Marthe’s rich life.

Sadly, I was not as enamored with Solange’s story. For me, it was too Nicholas Sparks and not as ripe as her grandmother’s. As for Solange’s escape from France, I found it to be highly readable if not a little drawn out. However, overall it was a fantastic story.

Final Impressions

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman is a rich historical novel. It was a little slow towards the end but as a whole, it was a magnificent tale that was outstandingly told.


2 responses to “The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

  1. This sounds really good! 😀 I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but when it’s done well it can be soooo awesome. I’m glad the writing and the characters really won you over. 🙂

    • I agree, historical fiction is great when well presented, particularly with a WWII backdrop as there are so many books out there that focus on the 1940s era. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment Cait!

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