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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Book Review: Velvet by Mary Hooper

Velvet is an orphan. She struggles to make ends meet by working in a steam laundry, where the work is back breaking and exhausting. So when she attracts the attention of the glamorous clairvoyant Madame Savoya, she cannot believe her good fortune.
Raised to the status of lady's maid, Velvet is given elegant clothes to wear and is brought to love in a grand house in London. But the longer she works for Madame Savoya, the more she discovers about the mysterious world of a spiritual medium.  Velvet soon realises that her employer is not quite what she seems and this knowledge could put her very life in danger...
I was so happy to receive Mary Hooper's latest book as I really enjoyed her last book Fallen Grace, you can read my review here.
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. She begins to look after the laundry of one of the special customers, Madame Savoya, one of the most famous clairvoyants in London. When Madame Savoya offers Velvet a position as a lady's maid, she jumps at the opportunity. She leaves the exhausting steam laundry for Darkling Villa, the home that Madame Savoya shares with her assistant George.
Velvet cannot believe her luck, suddenly she has her own room, beautiful clothes and a job that she actually enjoys. She is fascinated by Madame Savoya's job as a clairvoyant and wants to do everything she can to help her new mistress.
As the book progresses, Madame Savoya has to keep up with what the other famous mediums are doing. She asks more and more of Velvet in order to maintain her reputation and livelihood. Madame Savoya's desperation begins to make Velvet suspicious. Madame Savoya talks about giving the spirits a helping hand but when does this cross over to duplicity? Velvet's suspicions place her in incredible danger as Madame Savoya will not have her work questioned by anyone.
Velvet, like Fallen Grace is mesmerising. I love how Mary Hooper has the ability to immerse her readers into Victorian England. Her descriptions are so vivid and her attention to details shines throughout the book.
I loved reading about Victorian spiritualism, it was such a big part of the Victorian era and so many people from all walks of life were drawn into it, just as Velvet is completely taken with Madame Savoya.
I found Velvet's naivety a little annoying at times but it was understandable in some ways. Madame Savoya is the first person to offer her a real opportunity and some much needed comforts in life. It is not hard to understand why Velvet places her on a pedestal, it just makes it so much harder when she has to question Madame Savoya's motives.
Mary Hooper has once again written a brilliant YA story. Velvet is a very captivating story and it will be interesting to see what Mary Hooper has to offer next.

Dot Scribbles Rating 4/5

Many thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book to review, it is out now!

7 comments:

Vivienne said...

I loved this book too! I love the way Mary Hooper writes. I can just lose myself in her books.

Dot said...

Vivienne- She's great isn't she! She creates really vivid omges through her descriptions without being boring.

Eva North said...

Hi Dot, my name is Eva North and I'm wondering how someone would become a book reviewer for your site? If you could contact me at your earliest convenience that would be greatly appreciated. I myself, am a book lover, I love to read and write. Have a wonderful day.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Mary Hooper creates wonderful historical fiction. Great review! It seems "Velvet" is another one of her books I must add to my to-read list.

Dot said...

Eva- I'm afraid it's just me on here at the moment! I'm having a baby in January though so have been thinking of maybe having some guest reviewers, why don't you email me and tell me what types of books you like etc?

Irena- She's ever so good!

One More Page said...

I've got this on my wish list - sounds great!

Dot said...

One More Page- I hope you enjoy it when you get it, I think that Mary Hooper is great!

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