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 is scalding, back-breaking work 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.
Why I read it: You may or may not know that I am a massive Mary Hooper fan, I have read almost all of her historical books and have been waiting for Velvet for months, that's all I need to say.
Review: Mary Hooper has done it again. This time, she has dragged me into the early 19th century world of steam laundries and mediums which is just as deeply researched and believable as always. The story was totally gripping from page one and Hooper really captures the emotions of the orphaned Velvet throughout the book.
What I've always loved about Hooper's books is the depth of research that she puts in and the way that it shines through in the narration, which sounds genuinely historical and not forced or fake. That fantastic narration is just as present in Velvet and it's what totally kept me reading.
I have often found that Hooper's books are slow at the beginning and take a while to get into and Velvet was no exception, but when the plot picks up a few chapters in I really couldn't put it down. If you're going to read this, don't give up if you can't get into it, it really does pick up very quickly.
As always, the characters are believable and fully developed. The character of Velvet is strong minded, but also a little gullible and doesn't question things. I wish that she's been a little more suspicious and less naive, but I understand that women in that era had to do as they were told and weren't brought up to be independent. The other characters are so well developed that we are often questioning their intentions, it doesn't become clear who is actually the bad guy until over half way through. The touch of romance that Hooper adds really does brighten up this story.
Overall, Velvet was an impressive book set in the Victorian era, filled with intrigue, romance and secrets that had me gripped. The story really kicks in a few chapters in, but the believable history should have you gripped well before this. Mary Hooper has hooked me again.
Overall Rating: A-
Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone
UK Release Date: September 5th
Book received from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review