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Velvet Paperback – July 5, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The blurb calls this book "romantic" and "thrilling." The fact is, this book is neither.
Honestly, I was expecting so much more from this book. The premise was interesting, and Mary Hooper is an established historical fiction writer. Sadly, this book plays on too many historical fiction cliches that bother the heck out of me.
The first problem is the way the book was written. I have no idea why so many historical fiction books think they need to ramble on like historical pieces of the times. Yes, I understand there is certain language you can and cannot use when writing in historical periods, but we've cut out the rambling in modern day books for a reason. This is certainly a personal thing as well, since I prefer all unneccesary words to be cut, but still. It bothers me, and it made me iffy about the book from the get go.
The second was the characters. Apart from Madame Savoya, they were all pretty flat and generic. Velvet annoyed me especially, since she had the potential to be such a strong main character, but then fell into the utterly gullible and naive cliche. She toyed with Charlie (a boy from her past who is inexplicably smitten with her even though she brushes him off at every turn), with whom there was NO connection of any real kind, no matter how much they protested there was, and then she was completely taken in by both Madame Savoya and George, her assistant.
The kicker came with the ending-or rather, the lack thereof. I hit the button on my Kindle for the next slide and NOPE. Nothing. I literally couldn't believe it. Looking back on those two pages or so, I guess they do suggest an ending, but it's NOT a finished one. Not by a long shot.Read more ›
However, mistakes do happen and Velvet is fired. By a stroke of luck she is welcomed into the home of her best client. Now a part of the spiritual community, Velvet follows the rules to a T to ensure every séance of Madame's goes without issue. She falls in love with Madame's handsome assistant George and plans her future of finery. As time passes, cracks form in her wonderful world and Velvet must face her past and confront dangerous secrets.
Velvet takes an age-old story of a struggling girl in London during a period when fortune-tellers, mediums and paying for spiritual consultants were a fashionable hobby. Mary Hooper takes it a step further by weaving other historical aspects that are less flattering about this time period. It's an easy and engrossing read that will keep you turning pages to learn more about how mediums tricked innocent patrons and if Velvet can survival being stuck in a web of lies.
I've always had a fondness for historical fiction. Perhaps it began with C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia books. I was always fascinated by historical England just as much as what occurred in Narnia. I absolutely feel in love with the imagery and storytelling of Victorian England. It's extra enjoyable when part of the setting is around the corner from where one presently lives. Hooper does her research and she does it well.Read more ›
The only thing that kept me reading once I realized what this book was about was Velvet. Her background was intriguing. I admired her strength to survive because it couldn't have been easy to go from being provided for to having to get by on your own. I was surprised at her own actions when her father died. It may have made her feel incredibly guilty, but he made it easy to walk away. The only flaw was that she was so eager to step up in the world she completely turned a blind eye to Madame Savoya and to George (her partner). I know in this time period, it was far to easy to believe that mediums were real. But, I kept wanting her to see the truth. And that is why I kept reading.
So my dislike of this book completely lies in the spiritualism aspect. Which really does not make it fair to this book. I liked the style, the writing, and our lead character. But for some reason, spiritualism just rubs me the wrong way. I hate the idea that they were tricking people out of their money, especially when it came to lonely rich widows. I dislike that each medium came up with new tricks to outdo their competitors. I especially disliked some of the tactics that Madame Savoya pulls in this book. She's a downright nasty women.
That being said, I will still read another book by Mary Hooper. I have my eye on another series of hers. I will however, try to stay as far away from books were spiritualism is the focus from now on.