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The House of Velvet and Glass Hardcover – April 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; First Edition edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781401340919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401340919
  • ASIN: 1401340911
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Katherine Howe got her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University. She is author of one previous novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. She lives in Ithaca, NY, with her husband.

More About the Author

Katherine Howe was born in Houston, Texas, a fact which often surprises people. She is the author of THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE, which debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and which has been translated into over twenty languages. In 2012 she hosted the Expedition Week special "Salem: Unmasking the Devil" on the National Geographic Channel.

Her second novel, a historical thriller set in Boston in the aftermath of the Titanic sinking entitled THE HOUSE OF VELVET AND GLASS, was released in the US in April 2012, and was a USA Today and New York Times e-book bestseller.

Her third novel, a young adult historical thriller called CONVERSION, follows a group of teenage girls who must uncover the real reason behind a mysterious outbreak at their high school. Praised as "Prep meets The Crucible," CONVERSION will be released in the US on July 1, 2014.

Katherine also served as editor of THE PENGUIN BOOK OF WITCHES, a collection of primary sources about witchcraft in English North America which will be released by Penguin Classics on Halloween 2014.

She lives in Massachusetts and upstate New York with her family, where she teaches at Cornell while working on her next novel. She enjoys roaming the woods, reading, and sailing, and she looks very fetching in a pointy hat.

She may be found on Facebook as Katherine Howe, and on the web at www.katherinehowe.com.

Customer Reviews

I eagerly look forward to Ms. Howe's next book.
Ex-pat Brit
Although not a lot of action takes place and the pacing is rather slow I never thought this was a boring read at any time, on the contrary.
Toni Osborne
I love reading historical fiction and Katherine Howe writes it so well!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Raphaellle Noor on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loved Howe's first book. I gave copies to my mom, mother-in-law and grandmother. These three do not agree on much, but they all loved it.

But anyhow, moving on to the House of Velvet and Glass. It's a little darker than The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, but I absolutely couldn't put it down. I am working on a PhD in History and my dissertation considers some of the same kinds of people that Howe writes about (disillusioned Boston Brahmins) and I have to say that she does a fantastic job presenting this class accurately and without resorting to the kinds of cliches that often accompany fictional accounts of "old" American money.

I will be buying three more copies for Christmas.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Historianess on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was pleased to see that Howe has written another book. Her first, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, was quite a page turner (I finished it one night) and I'm glad to see that Howe has remained true to form in her second novel. The characters are well-drawn and intriguing, and the ending has a neat twist to it (I won't give it away here!). I also enjoyed the period detail. This book will suck you in and possibly become an all-nighter...be forewarned!
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By BobbyMac on April 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Howe's second book is serious business. Not since Melville scribbled out his epic tome about the Pequod has an author written a nautical adventure riven with such uncanny supernaturalism, existential dread and majestic detail. Beyond all of that (already a tall order) we have Howe's ability to pen a convincing love story with a narrative twist that you won't find anywhere this side of Downton Abbey (or on the other side of DA, for that matter). Great spring and summer reading for people who care about characterization, setting and keen narration. Forget Cameron's recycled 3D monstrosity. Read this instead.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By V. Cano on April 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A lush historical fiction, this novel brings a little bit of everything to the table: mystery, paranormal occurrences, romance and even drug addiction come to play in Ms. Howe's new book.
This is certainly an interesting read. There are many wonderful moments written in a manner that can't be faulted. I was, however, left a little disappointed. The troubling thing is that I'm not exactly sure why I felt kind of neutral throughout the book. It might be that Sybil, the protagonist, is not as fully realized as I would have wanted. She never comes to life in a believable manner. Sometimes the setting overwhelms the characters themselves, the lushness shadowing them to the point where the reader stops paying attention to who is speaking, instead focusing on all the richly detailed, if cloying, details.
It might also be that the book is too long. I can't understand, in all honesty, what purpose the scenes that take place in the Titanic serve. They don't do much to advance the story, or for character development, so I don't know why they weren't cut. It wouldn't have simplified the novel, just made it tighter, more cohesive.
It's not a bad book; it's not a great book. It's one of those in-between ones that are so hard to recommend. In one hand, I think that a lot of historical fiction lovers will enjoy it, and on the other I have to think that some, like me, will be underwhelmed.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By CVFA on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The perfect mix of literary sophistication and juicy plot. Opium, the Titantic, and Boston Brahmin ennui--what more could you want? The vivid historical detail definitely provided a delicious escape from my day-to-day. I loved Physick Book, but I even think I like this one a little more, maybe. Not as linear a narrative and so therefore the connections and themes are more subtle and surprising. I may suggest it to my book club b/c so much fascinating material, especially about women's roles in society then versus now.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Emily Kennedy on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I got Ms. Howe's first book, the Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, and greatly enjoyed it. I've been waiting eagerly for another book by her and this book was worth the wait! Sybil's world of upper class Boston is wonderfully illustrated here and I highly recommend it to everyone.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Cawse on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I stayed up waaaaayyy past my bedtime reading The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane a few years ago, and have been so excited for the release of Katherine Howe's second book. It does not disappoint! Intoxicating period detail and such an interesting window into an aspect of American history I hadn't thought about much before. Highly recommended.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. Kentala on June 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I love historical fiction with suspense elements and this book seemed right up my alley: repressed upper class young woman on her way to spinsterhood dealing with personal tragedy. While the book has intriguing elements including scenes that take place on the Titanic, characters dabbling in spiritualism and a visit to a Chinatown opium den, it dragged badly. I finally gave up just before I was halfway through. I could not take another chapter where nothing happens, just a lot of description of trivial or banal non-events that did not appear to move the plot forward in any way - or took tiny baby/turtle steps moving the story along. I actually thought I had possibly "burned-out" on reading novels, but not so. (I started another book I'm enjoying very much). I may not care for this author's style, but I believe the main problem is not an interesting enough core plot, overly introspective characters, and/or too much rambling on about nothing.
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