Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

She's a young woman who lives with her father.  She enjoys her days and loves to write.  She wishes she had a better source of stories to make her writing easier.  Her father suggests she might talk to her grandmother.  She's never met this grandmother and is amazed to find that it's his mother.  His real mother was too young to raise him and gave him away as a baby.  She remembers the other grandparents who were part of her life.  Now she decides to go visit this estranged grandmother...

Berkley sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Not everyone's grandmother has been a courtesan.  This woman, indeed, has stories to tell.  She was no harlot.  She grew up poor and made up her mind that she would use her beauty to find her wealth and security.  She did.  She also acquired several male friends that stood by her until the war drove them away.

Her tales are many and varied.  They're like little mini histories that are fascinating to read.  She's always come first in her life but she loved and lost also.

The granddaughter is worried about her father who has been put in a military hospital close to the war zone.  Even if he's not killed, she's not sure his mind can take the strain.  She wants to know more about the books her mother saved.  They are Hebrew and belonged to her mother's father.  When she goes in the bookstore, she meets the son.  He and his father tell her what she has.  One of them is particularly valuable.  Soon, she's dating the son.

When the war tries to take her lover from her, she asks her grandmother if there's anything that can be done.  Grandmother calls in an old favor and the son is spared.

War is always an ugly thing.  There is more sadness and more happiness both in the rest of the story.  Life will go on and the memory of the grandmother will never be forgotten.  Listen to your ancestors; they might teach you something.  Mine did.

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