I love a good historical fiction book. The Velvet Hours is set in Paris on the brink of German occupation. Goodreads says, "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."
There are two main characters in this book. Solange and Marthe de Florian.
Solange is 100% relatable. She is trying to find her place in this world, but doesn't want to just be average. We can pretty much all relate to that. She meets her grandmother Marthe de Florian who begins to tell her story to Solange. Marthe is less relatable because she is rather self-absorbed. She was a courtesan and has spent her life surrounding herself with beauty. Time stands still in her apartment and it seems untouched by the outside world. It is a good contract to the reality that Solange faces outside the apartment every day.
It is somewhat jarring to move back and forth in time as well as back and forth from this dreamlike apartment to the reality of WWII looming. But that's really the point of the transitions.
I truly enjoyed this book right up until the very end. I felt as if the ending was wrapped up too quickly. Then again, it could just be that I didn't want it to be over.
If you are a fan of historical fiction with a romantic side, this book is definitely for you.
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