Inspired by true events, Alyson Richman’s latest release, The Velvet Hours, is a richly detailed, elegant story. A tale of love and survival, the book reads as part mystery, part romance as two women bond over the retelling of the older’s past. Set against the backdrop of the rumblings of war, Richman’s tale is a powerful ode to the friendships between women, to the lifelong grip of deep love, and to the enchantment with art and beauty.
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.