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.
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.
Marthe's collections, they are described loving and in great detail.
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.
Book was very good up until the last 90 minutes and then it really slowed down. The voice of the granddaughter became increasingly annoying, sounding apologetic all the time. The author's The Last Wife is better
I read about the abandoned apartment in Paris when it was found a few years ago, and thought it was a wonderful potential backdrop for a story. What would possess someone to walk away from this treasure-trove, and never come back?
But the story just didn't deliver. I felt like every line tried too hard to tie back to the "courtesan." The main character didn't "drink a cup of tea," she "lifted the porcelain cup to her lush mouth and touched it to her pouting lips" (I'm not quoting directly, but you get the idea.) Instead of making the characters real, it was just overblown, over-sexualized where it didn't need to be, and caricature-like. I'm all for some good smut, but this didn't even go there. It was just bad writing that reminded me of bad 80s Danielle Steele novels.. only even less redeeming than those.
Yes. The performance was great.
The performance was good, the book was terrible.
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