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Review: Velvet by Mary Hooper

Velvet by Mary Hooper

Review copy thanks to Bloomsbury UK

Synopsis from Goodreads
Velvet is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry's work is back-breaking and Velvet is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Velvet is noticed by Madame Savoya, a famed medium, who asks Velvet to come to work for her. Velvet is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Velvet realises that Madame Savoya is not all that she says she is, and Velvet's very life is in danger ...A romantic and thrillingly exciting new novel from an acclaimed and much loved historical writer for teens.

Paperback release date: July 5th 2012 

Amazon  US/UK(£4.47!) | Amazon kindle US($6.66)/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 Velvet was my first forage in Mary Hooper's writing and it won't be the last. I found this book very charming.

We forget sometimes how much more naive the Victorians were comparing to us, and Miss Hooper shows this naivete in stark contrast with deviousness of the main villains very very well. She also draws our attention to the hardships of simple folks lives, shows how thin the line between abject poverty and having basic needs met really was.

Kitty grows with a cruel gambler of a father, and when he drowns in Thames while chasing her in a state of extreme inebriation, she runs away from home, changes her name to Velvet and manages to secure position in public laundry. 

The work is really hard and most girls don't last longer than two years before fallen ill with consumption, but Velvet acquires her own client, a famous medium Madam Savoya, who ends up asking the girl to work exclusively for her as a sort of private maid/companion/assistant.

Wide-eyed, naive and believing in everything she sees, Velvet slowly gets more and more involved with the world of medium rivalry, late night seances and glittering private sessions, only the more Madam asks of her the more the girl starts questioning the true motives behind her employer's actions. Do spirits really guide her or is Madam just another clever charlatan?

The book is eery and intense, and the atmosphere is kind of sucks you in. The more you see the scope of Madam's scams the scarier they get, until you want to just shake poor Velvet and scream some sense in her...

I really recommend this book to any lover of historical YA, especially fans of The Agency series by Y.S.Lee.

* * *
Милая очень книжка вышла. 

Мэри Хупер замечательно удалось показать глубокую наивность викторианского общества в эру популярности медиумов и сеансов, бедность и беззащитность бедных слоёв населения и почти полнейшую безнаказанность мошенников.

Китти меняет своё имя на Велвет после смерти отца и находит работу в прачечной. Работа очень тяжёлая, и большинство девочек не проводят здесь и 2 лет пока не заболевают воспалением лёгких. Но Велвет удаётся привлечь внимание одной из клиенток, известного медиума Мадам Савойя, и та предлагает ей работу ассистентки.

Велвет с радостью соглашается и полностью погружается в мир полуночных сеансов, соперничества между медиумами и коварного мошенничества. Вначале она слепо верит всему, что видит, но чем больше Мадам от неё просит, чем больше мы видим масштаб её обмана и наглого обдирания клиентов, тем больше Велвет сомневается в мотивах своей работодательницы. Направляют ли духи мадам Савойю или же Велвет работает на хитроумную дерзкую шарлатанку?

Чем больше бедная девушка узнаёт, тем больше её жизнь подвергается опасности. Мы как читатели это видим, а она бродит вслепую, пока просто хочется нашу героиню не затрясни и сказать "Да проснись же!"

Превосходная интрига, напряжение, и книга читается очень легко. Советую всем поклонникам исторической литературы - это идеальная книга для подростков.


Mel said...

Charming is a great way of describing Mary Hooper's writing! I really liked her Elizabethan books and I do have Velvet on my tBR pile - I will have to dig it up! :-)

Blodeuedd said...

I am curious now about what's going on and if she gets any kind of future

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Mel, I want to read Fallen Grace next, but Elizabethan books sound really good as well!

Blodeuedd, I don't think there will be book #2. She does get her happy ending :)

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