Basically I love a nice good, historical fiction that I can sink my teeth and get lost in. Thankfully, my reading schedule has been blissfully packed with pages filled with the past as of late. Although I am reading many different historical books, they don’t get stale because the books span many, many eras. Velvet by Mary Hooper was actually an awesome read and one that I am sad didn’t seem to be too widely reviewed on the blogs I read, because you guys if you are into historical fiction books, chances are you’ll be into Mary Hooper. Her heroine in Velvet, named, LOL, Velvet, has so much spark and really feels larger than the pages she is contained in.
Velvet is an orphan and super poor. Her mother died of a broken heart, basically, because her dad was the worst. That’s right, her dad is this abusive, drunkard. So, one night he is chasing Velvet and falls into the Thames. Velvet has assumed that he died and so she runs away and changes her name so no one can accuse her of murder. Anyways, Velvet gets a job working for a laundry company when we meet her and it turns out the steam makes her faint. As she is super at using her words, she manages to get a promotion, which leads to her working for a Spiritualist, eventually coming to live with that spiritualist. Meanwhile, Velvet is pursued by this guy named Charlie who is really into her and wants to date her, but he’s not fashionable enough, plus he’s a cop and plus he’s too nice. So basically, Velvet is all about main character Velvet and her experience getting deeper and deeper into spiritualism. It’s a pretty light sort of book, perfectly entertaining which was exactly what I wanted.
Y’all, I think the word I could use to describe Velvet besides spark is pizazz. She is a hard working girl who is easily dazzled by the spiritualists. And you know, I kind of felt like she was real because okay, this nice guy Charlie is into her, but she doesn’t want him because he isn’t hot like the spiritualist’s assistant. I was like that as a teenager too. ALSO. ALSO. She totally sticks to her guns about certain things, even when it’s to her detriment, like when she makes this big revelation and discovery. Further, Velvet is kind of impulsive and forthright and I just loved her as a character. If you like the same sorts of main characters that I do, then you’ll like Velvet by Mary Hooper.
My favorite overall element within Velvet by Mary Hooper was the use of the Spiritualism movement — which lol started in Upstate NY, holla! Anyways. So, Velvet goes and lives with a Spiritualist and sort of becomes her assistant. She actually really buys into the whole communicating with the beyond and all that. As a reader, it’s interesting to see how the medium is a scam artist and is basically scamming stupid rich people out of money. Like, in the book you will see the medium ask some very general questions that basically anyone could answer and then use the information for the seance. Also, this is sort of a different side story, BUT my senior year of high school we read Great Expectations in AP English and we had to pick a Victorian topic and research it and do a presentation. Because I am always in the weirdo group always, we did Spiritualism and did a fake seance for our presentation. I think my part was ghost noises. It was awesome, and thinking about that life experience made me happy just like how Velvet made me happy.
For historical fiction that feels old-timey but without any of the stumbling block language, Velvet by Mary Hooper is THE book. Seriously, every time I read a book by Mary Hooper, I wonder for days later why I haven’t just read her whole back list already, because as far as historical fiction goes she has a good back list and really knows how to write. I’d definitely be down to recommend Velvet.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley
Other reviews of Velvet by Mary Hooper:
Cornucopia Of Reviews – “the reader gets a taste of what life was like for both the very poor and the very wealthy”
Wear The Old Coat – “And Mary Hooper is pretty much the go-to-girl for historical YA, is she not?”
Feeling Fictional – “a fantastic read”
Books by Mary Hooper: