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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2016 Alyson Richman (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Two remarkable performances grace this romance inspired by true events. Tavia Gilbert and Kate Reading shine as Solange and her grandmother, Marthe.... As Marthe, Reading is simply stunning. Her voices, her accents, and her emotions are utterly credible. The vivid painting of Marthe, the men in her life, a string of priceless pearls, a world on the edge of collapse, and the growing tenderness between two women makes this an audiobook listeners won’t want to miss." (AudioFile)  

What listeners say about The Velvet Hours

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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Not for me

I do not like to start a book and not finish it but couldn’t get past the fourth chapter. I don’t mind love scenes when I am reading a book because I can flip over them. It is different when listening to them while walking and don’t want to stop and try to skip over them and this makes it a little much. Sorry not interested. 😟

13 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

If you love Nicholas Sparks novels...

...then you’ll love this book. It’s a schmaltzy love story that feels very formulaic. The author carries themes from one relationship to the next in an overdone, almost embarrassing way. The only thing I appreciated about the story was the post script.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Tavia Gilbert....need to remember she’s a terrible narrator

I’m about half way through this book. It’s not a bad book, probably more in the romance genre with some gentle sex scenes. The problem is that Tavia Gilbert is what I call a grunt reader. She’s sounds breathless and then she sounds like she’s grunting somewhat. I won’t listen to any books read by her from now on.

Kate Reading (what a cool last name for an audiobook narrator) sounds very much like Suzanne Toren. I would have appreciated the book more if she’d read the whole thing.

The thing with audiobooks is that if the narrators aren’t good it’s hard to get into the book.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Richly narrated, sweet and sorrowful

What made the experience of listening to The Velvet Hours the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the slow, detailed pace of the book. It was relaxing and intriguing at the same time. I didn't realize until i finished the book that it was inspired by a real apartment found in Paris a few years ago. The story spun around that is very moving.

Who was the most memorable character of The Velvet Hours and why?

Marthe's collections, they are described loving and in great detail.

Any additional comments?

My only tiny criticism is that the author didn't seem to research the details clothing of the time periods she is describing enough. I'm a historical reenaactor and wear clothing from all of the periods described in the book from 1890s through the 1940s. The author wrote the descriptions of corsets and underpinning fit from a very modern point of view assuming they would be painful to wear. For example ALL corsets made and fitted properly can be laced my the wearer and laced from the back. There is no need to create something special. A correctly fitted corset also never digs into one's bones. As a seamstress Marthe would never create something that didn't fit right. It distracted me a little bit at times not appropriate to the narrative.

5 people found this helpful

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all sex and no substance

endless descriptions 9f how sexy the woman is. bordering on soft por. where's the plot?

2 people found this helpful

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Ummmmm

Like the story
Narration was stiff and a little too scripted at times annoying elongated ends of sentences

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Full disclosure: I love historical fiction and anything having to do with WWII.

Alyson Richman to me to a place I hadn't been before. The characters were riveting and the story was beautifully told.
This is definitely one of the best Audible Plus books, and it's not over in 90 minutes, but is a full fledged read/listen!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love, loss and things found

Beautifully written and heartbreakingly lovely. If you love history...if you love Paris you will love this book

2 people found this helpful

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Better a than expected

It took me two tries to get into this book but once I got through the first few chapters it got better.
Nice love story that took place during the span of a lifetime of many characters.
This book is not one of war and the trials and tribulations of the time but is strictly of the love story between grandmother mother and daughter.
I would recommend this book for a soft read.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What an exceptional book.

I loved this story. Based on true historical facts it is an amazing story. A must read.

1 person found this helpful