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The House of Velvet and Glass Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 10, 2012
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Top customer reviews
This was my first experience with anything written by Katherine Howe and I am unsure at this point in time whether or not I'll try reading another novel written by Ms. Howe as I wasn't very impressed with The House of Velvet & Glass.
I did think, however, that Heather Corrigan did a splendid job narrating The House of Velvet & Glass and will look forward to hearing her narrate other audiobooks in the future.
The House of Velvet & Glass by Katherine Howe falls into the historical fiction genre. The setting of this novel primarily takes place roughly a century ago on the East Coast of the USA in Boston, Massachusetts. Topics/themes for this novel include the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania, World War 1, Spiritualism, Scrying/Divination, family loss, and also a family scandal to name a few of the topics touched upon in this novel.
I liked the premise of The House of Velvet & Glass and many of the themes/topics touched upon within it, as I do enjoy reading historical fiction. I thought, for the most part, that The House of Velvet & Glass was a very slow novel overall.... Some of the scenes did pick up and were interesting, but for much of the novel, I felt it was boring/slow and it felt disjointed as it moved between time periods. I also felt that the ending of The House of Velvet & Glass was very flat. There is an abrupt gap of two years where the novel goes from 1915 and then jumps to 1917 in the next chapter. The novel ends in an unexpected way that wasn't fulfilling to me. The ending was very anticlimactic to say the least. The House of Velvet & Glass just didn't resonate very well with me.
Written in third person, it includes the perspectives of Sibyl Allston, her father Lan, her mother Helen, her sister Eulah, and her brother Harlan. It also bounces back and forth in the timeline. Sibyl's chapters are set a few years after the sinking of the Titanic as she continues to deal with the deaths of her mother and sister while at the same time trying to fill her mothers shoes in a way by looking after her father and saving her brother from a troubled life. Harlan's point of view is set during the same time, giving us a glimpse into his troubled world and both he and Sibyl frequently have flashbacks to their childhood. With Helen and Eulah, we jump back to the Titanic and experience the voyage while Lan's chapters go all the way back to his life before marriage when he was a sailor. Each are important to understanding the characters and the direction the novel takes but Sibyl's point of view is most prominent and enjoyable.
There are books that are entertaining and there are books that really make you feel. This is one of the latter.
I absolutely LOVED Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and hoped that I had found a new voice to add to my list of favorite writers; unfortunately this book just falls short.
I'm not sure what it is that makes authors forget everything that made their debut book so awesome, but that's what happened here...I was 40-50% into the book and...Nothing. Had. Happened. The last 1/3 of the book is better, but I tend to stick around for the ending. I'm stubborn that way.
Katherine Howe's attention to period detail is fantastic...I can;t fault her for that...clothes...habits...mores...cars...buildings...jewelry...furniture...dancing...drugs...all of it was well-described and the writing is really lovely. But. Nothing. Happens.
There are some really nice extras at the end of the book, and in them, she mentions that she is an obsessive researcher. It shows. But Physick Book was so great mot just for the research and detail...it was the story that was riveting...and that's missing from this one.
She hints at future projects, including a ghost story and re-visiting our favorite characters from Deliverance Dane.
I haven;t given up on Katherine Howe - I look forward to them...I just hope she treats us to a better story.