Trade Paperback:  384 pages

Publisher: Berkley  (September 2016)

ISBN-10: 0425266265

ISBN-13: 978-0425266267

Also available in hardcover.



From the international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Garden of Letters, comes a story—inspired by true events—of two women pursuing freedom and independence in Paris during WWII.

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

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian 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, conjuring a tale of love and survival.

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Madame de Florian and Solange Beaugiron, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.

The Velvet Hours explores the unlikely relationship between two women who pursue freedom and independence during uncertain times, as Solange and Marthe’s stories unfold like velvet itself, each stitched with its own shadow and light.


[Link to article about Marthe de Florian's apartment]







"Alyson Richman's writing sings in her evocative new novel set in Paris at the dawn of World War II.  The Velvet Hours is a beautiful and compelling portrait of two women facing their unknown past and an unimaginable future as their world begins to crumble." 

— Kristin Hannah  #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Nightingale


"Alyson Richman deftly weaves fact and fiction to create an enthralling tale of love and sacrifice in The Velvet Hours.  Richman slips flawlessly between time periods, her sense of place in depicting Paris in the 1880's and 1940's spot on.  The reader navigates the streets of the City of Light alongside Solange and Marthe, two carefully crafted and worthy heroines.  The author does a superb job of creating a Paris apartment full of exquisite treasures and a priceless painting, a world of light and shadow, beauty and darkness. Ultimately, this is a carefully wrought story of love, of what the heart chooses to give up, and what it chooses to keep.  Highly recommended to readers who enjoyed Kristen Hannah's The Nightingale."                                                                              —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author 


"A masterful mix of the glamour of the Belle Epoque and the shadows of impending war as the stories of two generations twist and twine together in delightful, heart-wrenching, and sometimes unexpected ways." 

— Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author


“Staggeringly evocative, romantic, heartrending, sensual, and beautifully written.”

                                                                                                  —John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author

“Tragedy and hope, love and loss, and the strength to endure are examined through Richman’s graceful writing and powerful characters.”


“If you love graceful, mellifluous writing, you should read this book.”

                                                                                                      —Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author



Photo: Panorama of the seven bridges, Paris, France, ca. 1890-1900, See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons