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.
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Wonderful premise, lackluster execution
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.
- J. Chess
Close to the top!
When she dies
Lovely book, not usually into this type of book, but it really was beautiful...
- Kindle Customer "Resides in Elkton, M.D. (but my heart belongs in Upstate, N.Y.)"