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Velvet [Paperback]

Mary Hooper
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

5 July 2012

Velvet is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry's work is back-breaking and Velvet is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Velvet is noticed by Madame Savoya, a famed medium, who asks Velvet to come to work for her. Velvet is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Velvet realises that Madame Savoya is not all that she says she is, and Velvet's very life is in danger . . .

A romantic and thrillingly exciting new novel from an acclaimed and much loved historical writer for teens.

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Velvet + Fallen Grace + The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599203
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Hooper has been writing books for nearly thirty years. And before that she was writing short stories. Her early books about a pregnant teenager: MEGAN, are still very popular, one teacher calling the three books a "rite of passage".

Over the last five or so years she has been writing nothing but historical fiction, mostly for young adults, although NEWES FROM THE DEAD was actually written for an adult audience. This book has won several awards, including both the Hull and the Stockport Book Awards. The historian and novelist Alison Weir said that NEWES was "Stunning!" There are even plans to turn it into a musical, though if you know the content of the book you'll conclude that it would be a very unusual one.

Mary's book set in a Victorian undertaker's is called FALLEN GRACE and comes out in the UK in June 2010 and in the US a little later. Lucy Mangan, Guardian columnist, called it "Bloody Marvellous!" Her latest book is called VELVET and is about a 19th century medium. THE DISGRACE OF KITTY GREY is Mary's first Regency novel and will be published in May 2013.

Mary has a fan page on Facebook and her own website.

Product Description


Hooper's storylines pack a 21st-century punch . . . Historical fiction worthy of the genre (Amanda Foreman New York Times)

Praise for Velvet:

Powerfully plotted . . . almost a teen version of Sarah Waters' Affinity with a bit of Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather thrown in

(Independent on Sunday)

Praise for Fallen Grace:

By any standards, an exceptional novel . . . the gift for taking historical situations and making them emotionally engaging is far too rare . . . after six historical novels, this one is Hooper's breakthrough and its characterisation, plotting and atmosphere are first-rate and deserve prizes . . . Not since Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke has there been such a gorgeous evocation of Victorian life - or so satisfying a conclusion

(Amanda Craig, The Times)

This wonderfully atmospheric story, set in Victorian London, will draw in teenage girls with its blend of sadness, hardship and redemption . . . A sensitive and tautly-plotted novel, intelligently told (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A richly atmospheric novel set in the Victorian period, perfect for fans of the hugely popular Fallen Grace

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Mary Hooper 9 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When this book opened in a big late-Victorian laundry, I was hooked at once. Hooper is expert at conjuring up wonderful historical settings and making you feel as though you are right there in the middle of it all - in this case in the steam, intolerable heat and noise of the laundry.
I found both Velvet's plight as an orphan and working-girl and the exploration of the world of London's mediums really engaging. I couldn't guess how the story would end - the drama of the final pages took me by surprise and was completely brilliant.
For readers who enjoyed Jane Eagland's Whisper My Name, this is another excursion into the same world of the mystery, deception and intrigue of the Victorian spiritualists - though a completely different story of course.
Velvet is an adventure, a story of growing up, of love, temptation and danger. It's beautifully and simply written; teen and pre-teen girls are sure to love it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Velvet 29 Aug 2011
By Vicki @ Cosy Books TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I came across Mary Hooper last year when I was sent Fallen Grace for review and enjoyed it immensely. I love historical fiction, particularly set in the Victorian era, and Hooper's evocative style, sympathetic characters and accessible writing won me over immediately. I investigated the author's other novels and was excited to learn the plot of her new book was set against the back drop of the Victorian spiritualist industry, something I have a read other books on and found fascinating.

I'm glad to say Velvet was just as good as Fallen Grace and I enjoyed every single page. After a couple of weeks of the dreaded reading slump, it's gripping story line and fascinating characters were welcome relief and I couldn't put the book down. Often historical fiction can come across as heavy going but this certainly isn't the case with Velvet at all. It's engaging and exciting yet remains very much in its time, throwing up many fascinating snippets of historical detail along the way.

Told in the first person from Velvet, I felt drawn to this character straight away. Despite having been abused and orphaned as a child and now working tirelessly in a laundry to scrimp her way through life, she remains ambitious and determined to stand on her own two feet. This seems to be a common trait in Hooper's female lead characters and I enjoy the strength she portrays, especially in an age where women weren't expected to want more. Sometimes I felt her ambition and desire to better herself made her a little too nave at times, particularly where her new employer was concerned, although I think had I been in her position I too may have easily been so overawed at the life being offered to me to question it much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling! 28 Aug 2012
By Jan
I love historical fiction and enjoy encouraging our young readers to read this genre. I found this book particularly enjoyable. At the start of the story we find our young heroine working in a steam laundry. This is Victorian England and life is hard for orphans like Velvet, who has no family to help her survive and so must take care not to lose her job or she will find herself homeless and hungry like so many others. She is delighted when Madame Savoya, a well known clairvoyant, offers her a position as a live-in maid in her smart London home and she begins to hope that her life might get even better as she suspects Madame's assistant, George, might be attracted to her. As time goes by Velvet realises that many of the women working as clairvoyants are in fact fraudsters taking advantage of, and making lots of money out of, grieving families, and she starts to wonder if Madame might not be as genuine as she seems. She decides to investigate.

The book is based on sound fact as it is widely known that many Victorians, including such famous figures as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, regularly attended séances and visited mediums, and also it is well documented that many of the women who claimed to have psychic powers ended up being prosecuted for fraud. The picture of the life of the girls in the steam laundry and also the glimpse of the terrible baby farm are also convincing. Ms Hooper has done her research well and includes some excellent historical notes and even a bibliography at the end of the book. A great read for young teenage readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I really enjoyed this! I love intrigue and mystery and this tale has it all, wrapped up beautifully in a rich Victorian setting. I haven't read any of Mary Hooper's before, but I will be looking out for them now.

Velvet is a wonderful character - brave and bold for a young woman of the time and yet so naive. I spent half the book wanting to say 'no, Velvet, don't believe/do that!', because I knew what was going on under Velvet's nose and where the story was going. Or at least I thought I did - Mary Hooper is a clever and sneaky writer because there were several unexpected twists and turns to this story, which delighted me.

The historical detail in the novel was brilliant too. I've always loved being able to come away from a good story with a bonus bit of learning, and this novel gave me that. I knew very little about the world of Victorian mediums and absolutely nothing about some of the other practices featured in the book. It's all skilfully done as incidental through the engaging plot and characters, without a whiff of dry exposition or lecture-style explanation.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this as a cracking read which offers a really immersive experience, giving plenty of information about the period.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
A brilliant read! This author has a lovely writing style and keeps things moving nicely along! Love the background info about clairvoyants of the time! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sandra Rimmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Velvet continues to provide all the things that I love about...
Velvet continues to provide all the things that I love about historical fiction by Mary Hooper; excellent writing, interesting characters and to chance to learn history in such a... Read more
Published 13 months ago by lunaslittlelibrary
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!
It has been a while since I have read historical fiction aimed at young adults, when I was a bit younger I preferred thrillers and fantasy, only really getting into historical... Read more
Published 14 months ago by sardoc
3.0 out of 5 stars Velvet by Mary Hooper
I was sent a email about this book from the publishers over at Bloomsbury which I am very grateful of. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kate
3.0 out of 5 stars Good teen novel :)
I loved the whole idea of this book and Hooper writes about the laundry, mediums and London in 1900 with a good amount of detail and knowledge. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Lily
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read but a disappointing ending.
Having read Mary Hooper's books before, I knew I'd probably love this but find a lot of faults with it. Read more
Published on 23 Mar 2012 by Miss Victoria Ramage
3.0 out of 5 stars A light, easy read...
When we first meet Velvet she is working in the squalid surroundings of a Victorian laundry, and then when her work, and fine attention to detail brings her to the notice of... Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2012 by jaffareadstoo
4.0 out of 5 stars Velvet
Velvet is set in 1900, Velvet is an orphan, she is working in a steam laundry but she is always only a few steps away from the dreaded workhouse. Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2012 by Dot
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Hooper has done it again!
Mary Hooper has done it again. This time, she has dragged me into the early 19th century world of steam laundries and mediums which is just as deeply researched and believable as... Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2011 by Jade
5.0 out of 5 stars Velvet - great historical fiction!
A stunning work of historical fiction with a fascinating subject matter, Velvet by Mary Hooper is a thrilling exploration of the spiritualist craze that swept through Victorian and... Read more
Published on 26 Sep 2011 by DaisyChainBookReviews
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