Velvet Hardcover – 13 Nov 2012
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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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
A richly atmospheric novel set in the Victorian period, perfect for fans of the hugely popular Fallen Grace --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 naïve 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.Read more ›
Velvet, our eponymous heroine, has not had an easy life - losing her mother, then neglected by an abusive, gambling father and eventually orphaned. The only thing keeping her from the workhouse is her daily drudgery in the steam laundry but Velvet aspires to greater things. Fate intervenes in the shape of the mysterious Madame Savoya, kin to the Romanovs, who is becoming one of the most popular spiritual mediums in London at a time when spiritualism is all the rage. Naturally Velvet jumps at the chance of becoming Madame's maid/helper and, at first, she is dazzled by the glamour and excitement of her new life. Gradually the seeds of doubt are sown but discovering the truth could have fatal consequences.
Mary Hooper has the knack of drawing her readers straight in from the opening lines - you feel the intense heat and claustraphobic atmosphere of the steam laundry, you feel the tense expectation of the audience at her seances, you feel the desperation of those who will pay any price to have one more moment with their deceased loved ones. The inclusion of real-life characters such as the renowned Spiritualist, Arthur Conan Doyle and infamous Baby Farm murderer, Amelia Dyer, adds texture and depth to this gripping story. The fictional characters are all fully fleshed, flaws and all, especially Velvet's fatal flaw - vanity. I love the way I always learn something new by reading Mary Hooper's historical novels without feeling I'm back in the classroom.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 morePublished on 14 Mar. 2014 by Sandra Rimmer
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 morePublished on 22 Mar. 2013 by Luna's Little Library
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 morePublished on 23 Jan. 2013 by sardoc
I was sent a email about this book from the publishers over at Bloomsbury which I am very grateful of. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2012 by Kate
I really enjoyed this! I love intrigue and mystery and this tale has it all, wrapped up beautifully in a rich Victorian setting. Read morePublished on 19 Aug. 2012 by Mrs. B. S. Kemp
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 morePublished on 23 July 2012 by Lily
Having read Mary Hooper's books before, I knew I'd probably love this but find a lot of faults with it. Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2012 by Miss Victoria Ramage
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 morePublished on 5 Mar. 2012 by jaffareadstoo
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 morePublished on 16 Jan. 2012 by Dot