Saturday 3 September 2011

Velvet by Mary Hooper

Pages - 308
Published in September 2011

Velvet had fainted too many times, according to Mrs Sloane, and was liable to be dismissed from Ruffold's Steam Laundry.
'It's the rules,' said Mrs Sloane, the laundry supervisor, following Velvet out of the yard and waving a bottle of smelling slats under her nose. 'Anyone who can't discipline themselves not to swoon has no place here. You've already gone down twice today.'

Goodreads Summary
Rose 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 is scalding, back-breaking work and Rose is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Rose is noticed by Madame X, a famed medium, who asks Rose to come to work for her. Rose is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Rose realises that Madame X is not all that she says she is, and Rose's very life is in danger ...A romantic and thrillingly exciting new novel from an acclaimed and much-loved historical writer for teens.

With every new book I read  by Mary Hooper, the more she becomes one of my favourite authors. I just adore the way she writes. She is so descriptive in her prose, that I find myself floating off to whichever time in history she is writing about. This book is set in the early 1900's around the time of Queen Victoria's passing and Mary Hooper brings to life that time period with ease. You learn so much from the detailed stories she writes, providing us with an insight into the world during that time period. 

Within this book we get to delve into the world of spiritualism which was big business during the Victorian age. These people were ruthless and would stop at nothing to scam grieving people out of their inheritances. They would keep inventing new ways to stun their audience into believing they could contact the spirits. 

There were certain chapters within the book that really stood out for me. The first one was Christmas Day, where we got to see a true Victorian Christmas through the eyes of Velvet, who had never experienced one before. I found myself rereading this chapter again a couple of times as it was just so beautiful.

The second one that really stood out for me was the chapter describing the seances. I just love reading about the flamboyancy of the Victorian seances and the lengths they will go to fool their paying customers.  

I find the whole Victorian seance scene fascinating and would love to have experienced one. I am a great believer in spiritualism and have had enough experiences to be content in my beliefs.  Yet it is quite obvious that during Victorian times, they were all scams to make people rich.

I struggled with Violet's innocence a little bit and I wanted to sit her down and give her a good talking to, so that she realised what was actually going on around her. I wanted  her to see clearly what  was occurring around her, before she became in danger.

I love the way Mary Hooper included famous people from history in her books. In this one we get a glimpse of Arthur Conan Doyle as well as other characters from history such as Amelia Dyer, the baby farmer. The whole baby farming issue really shocked me, I had never heard of such a thing and it really appalled me that babies were treated so badly. 

Mary Hooper is excellent at balancing fact with fiction and creates a book that flows beautifully and is easily read. I  am definitely a Mary Hooper fan and would recommend this book to others to read it. 

If you don't believe me when I say how good it is then check out the trailer below.

If you would like to know more about Mary Hooper then please visit her Facebook page here. Or visit her website here. 

The Velvet Blog Tour kicks off on Monday over at Wondrous Reads and will be stopping by my blog on Tuesday.  


  1. The seance scene does sound fascinating. I'm not sure this book is for me, but you've made it sound interesting enough that I'd give it a try.

  2. I can't wait to read this one....the seance scene sounds fab!

  3. Bermudaonion - You must read a Mary Hooper book! They are simply fabulous.

    Hannah - it is brilliant.

  4. It sure seems to have that feeling I like with Victorian books :=)

  5. I love novels that includes real people of the past. Mary Hooper sounds like a great author and it sounds like she is an expert in creating that authentic feel for the era she is writing about. I feel I need to check out her writing.

  6. Great reviwe Viv,
    I really cant wait to get my hands on this one!

  7. This sounds right up my alley. The Victorian seance scenes sound deliciously creepy.


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