Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman (Audiobook Review)

Well-written, rich with unforgettable characters, romance and heartbreak, The Velvet Hours is an entrancing story perfect for lovers of historical fiction and the Parisian setting.

AudioBook Details:

Title: The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman
Genre: Historical / Romance
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Released: 09-06-16
Narrators: Tavia Gilbert , Kate Reading
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Content rating: PG-13 for mature themes

Book Description:

As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young Frenchwoman closes the door to her late grandmother's treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she'll ever return.

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian had 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 loves.

Buy the book: Amazon  ~  Audible  ~ Add to Goodreads

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

This book captivated me from the very beginning. Loosely based on the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment and the scant information on its owner and her family, Alyson Richman has penned a novel rich in characterization, culture and the arts. There was never a dull moment. I found this novel to be tastefully sensual, without explicit sex scenes, but perfect for fans of women's fiction.

This is the story of two women: Beautiful and reinvented Marthe de Florian, who lived in the late 1800s and the other, Marthe's granddaughter Solange Beaugiron who lived at the time Paris was on the brink of becoming occupied by the Nazi Germans. It is a story about two very different women who finally meet and whose lives change because of this newfound relationship. I enjoyed the story of both women and how their lives converged at a critical point for both of them.

At 19, Solange's father, who was adopted as a child, introduces his daughter to his maternal mother Marthe de Florian. As the two women get to know each other, Marthe recounts her life story with unashamed honesty (she was a courtesan) to her granddaughter, who is an aspiring writer. Both Marthe and Solange are given precious material gifts by the two people they love the most: Marthe's lover Charles gave her a necklace of real natural pearls and Solange's mother left her two antique and highly valued Jewish books when she died.

Solange, who discovers she is half-Jewish, meets Alex, a Jewish man, when she enters his father's antique book shop with these old Jewish books her mother left her. Both Marthe and Solange's gifts were used as a brilliant plot element in this story.

The novel was narrated by Tavia Gilbert and Kate Reading who did a fantastic job. Both their voices had similar cadences so that the switch in voices was never jarring but flowed from one character to another, one era to another, and suited the two characters they were portraying. And their voices suited the genre of this book too.

Well-written, rich with unforgettable characters, romance and heartbreak, The Velvet Hours is an entrancing story perfect for lovers of historical fiction and the Parisian setting.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher and Audiobook Jukebox for sending me this audiobook for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:

Alyson Richman is the #1 internationally bestselling author of five novels, inlcuding "The Lost Wife" and "The Garden of Letters"and “The Velvet Hours”.

She is the daughter of an abstract artist and an electrical engineer, and graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in art history and Japanese studies. She herself is an accomplished painter, and her novels combine her deep love of art, historical research, and travel.

Connect with the author:  Website  

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