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Tipping the Velvet: A Novel Paperback – May 1, 2000
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Tipping the Velvet, all 472 pages of it, is as saucy, as tantalizing, and as touching as the narrator's first encounter with the seductive but shame-ridden Miss Kitty Butler. And at first even Nancy's family is thrilled with her gender-bending pal, all but her sister, best friend, and bedmate, Alice, "her eyes shining cold and dull, with starlight and suspicion." Not to worry. Soon Nancy and Kitty are off to London, their relationship close though (alas for our heroine) sisterly. We know that bliss will come, and it does, in an exceptionally charged moment. A lesser author would have been content to stop her story there, but Waters has much more in mind for her buttonholing heroine, and for us. In brief, her Everywoman with a sexual difference goes from success onstage to heartbreak to a stint as a male prostitute (necessity truly is the mother of invention) to keeping house for a brother and sister in the Labour movement. And did I mention her long stint as a plaything in the pleasure palace of a rich Sapphist extraordinaire? Diana Lethaby is as cruel as she is carnal, and even the well-concealed Cavendish Ladies' Club isn't outré enough for her. Kitting Nancy out in full, elegant drag, she dares the front desk to turn them away. "We are here," she mocks, "for the sake of the irregular."
Only after some seven years of hard twists and sensual turns does Nancy conclude that a life of sensation is not enough. Still, Tipping the Velvet is so entertaining that readers will wish her sentimental--and hedonistic--education had taken twice as long. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a historical novel, set in a Victorian England that few have glimpsed. And "Tipping The Velvet" allows us to view it all, center stage. It is a story peopled with characters that are fleshed out so believably, it is almost like reading with 3-D glasses. The characters, especially Nancy Astley, come right off the page and have the capacity to touch your heart and make you care...deeply.
Nancy is born and raised in an English seaside resort where her parents own an oyster restaurant, and Nancy can shuck with the best of them. She seems perfectly content with her lot in life, loves her family and imagines that someday she will marry one of the neighborhood boys and have a family of her own. During the summer months, when business is booming, Nancy frequents a nearby town's music hall for entertainment. Thus Passion enters her life with a capital "P."
Nancy sees a male impersonator perform for the first time on an evening excursion to the hall. Not just any male impersonator...but the ever so seductive Miss Kitty Butler. Nance is entranced and obsessed with Kitty. She schemes to meet the object of her devotion and becomes first, Kitty's friend, then her employee/girl Friday. Her once normal life is turned topsy-turvy, filled with passionate fantasies. Her family is delighted with Kitty "the celebrity" friend, and accepts her completely.Read more ›
The moment I finished reading Tipping the Velvet, I wanted to start all over again.
Nancy Astley works in her family's oyster restaurant and goes to the weekends to the music halls. There, she meets Kitty Butler and they become fast friends. Kitty invites Nancy to be her dresser in London and it gets really fast past then. It goes from her being with Kitty, to having her heart broken by Kitty, then being a renter and living with the cruel Diana. To lastly, meeting a young socialist by the name of Florence. The characters, all of them, are intriguing. Nancy is a pillar of strength and Diana, though cruel, is definately interesting. Florence is the perfect girl for Nancy and Kitty. I have nothing but loathing for that character, because of what she did to Nancy.
The prose, reminded me of a cross between a modern novelist, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. It was highly engaging and it makes one feel as if they are with Nancy and seeing what she sees. As far as the Erotic goes, it is, definately. But I think what really makes it good is the relationships and seeing things through Nancy's eyes.
This is a must read for anyone, gay, straight or bi.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved this book I'm not particularly interested in lesbianism but the author was so talented it was interesting I really felt that the main character was really well portrayed so... Read morePublished 6 days ago by helen bennett
Brilliant, captivating, and beautifully written. I have only just discovered Sara Waters and she is rapidly climbing the ladder of my favorite authors. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Nina Mason
TIPPING THE VELVET
No matter what your sexual orientation, this is a wonderful read. I only say this due to the fact the blurbs regarding TIPPING THE VELVET all mention... Read more
I enjoyed because of the historic setting. Very "Dickens".Published 3 months ago by Linda Hertzfelt
4.75 out or 5 Stars
For original review, please visit the Prism Book Alliance® blog online.
Lambda Literary Award winner in 2000, TIPPING THE VELVET tells the story... Read more
Loved this sweeping historical novel. It's a story of survival and transition, and yes, the main character does find that she is a "tom", I felt that the romantic intrigue... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ruth Bain
Oh, where do I begin? First of all, I have to say that I haven't read that many erotic novels and this is only my third book about lesbian sex. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donna Hill