Remember that Paris apartment that was discovered a few years back? The home of a Belle Epoque courtesan, it had been closed by her granddaughter as the Germans marched on Paris and left untouched ever since. Who could resist that sort of fodder for fiction?
For today’s Monday give away, we have Alyson Richman’s The Velvet Hours.
Here’s the official blurb:
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. 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 loved.
There is something fascinating about the relics of a bygone world, frozen in situ: an Egyptian tomb, Pompeii, a Paris apartment. Sometimes, it’s something smaller: an old postcard in an antique store, the message still on the back. A scribble on the flyleaf of a book.
Have you ever stumbled on anything that made you feel that kind of connection to the past?
The winner will be announced on Wednesday.