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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story built on a mysterious headline

Liked the book, especially the parts about Marthe. The reader for Solange’s part was so annoying, I almost couldn’t finish.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I simply loved it!

What an amazing story. So touching and endearing. I wanted Marte and Charle to live on forever.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great read/ listen.

Wonderful story. Very fascinating. Grandmother and granddaughters growing relationship is very meaningful. I Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not at all what I expected...

but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The intertwining stories were much richer than the framed story I was expecting. Although I'm not a big fan of love stories, this kept my interest.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Whisks you away to another time....

I quickly became absorbed in this romantic novel woven into WWII history. You will want to know what comes next...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Slow start but wonderful story

Slow start but wonderful once you get into the story and understand the character flow.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Velvet Hours

Where does The Velvet Hours rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Close to the top!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Velvet Hours?

When she dies

Have you listened to any of Tavia Gilbert and Kate Reading ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

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

The grandmama

Any additional comments?

Lovely book, not usually into this type of book, but it really was beautiful...

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting first half

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