Review: The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

Title: The Velvet Hours

Author: Alyson Richman

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

The Blurb

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.

The Review

Ever since I heard the story of the preserved apartment found in Paris I have been fascinated. How did this apartment go unnoticed for so long? What happened to the woman who lived there? There are so many unanswered questions that of course it makes for the perfect basis of a story. I have, before reading The Velvet Hours, read two books based on the same premise and both were very well written and enjoyable but none were as engaging as the story that Alyson Richman told.

In her story we delve more into the life of the courtesan Marthe de Florain who lived in the apartment and her story is created using a mixture of fact and fiction. We see the story from the perspective of Marthe and Solange (her granddaughter) amongst the backdrop of occupied France. It truly is captivating.

If you are a fan of historical fiction that has an intriguing true story at its heard then The Velvet Hours is the book for you.

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman is available now.

For more information regarding Alyson Richman (@alysonrichman) please visit

For more information regarding Berkley Publishing Group (@BerkleyPub) please visit their Twitter page.

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