A richly atmospheric novel set in the Victorian period and perfect for fans of the hugely popular Fallen Grace. Teens will love this romantic, thrilling and exciting new novel from the acclaimed and much loved historical novelist. It's also a perfect title for discussion at reading groups.
Mary Hooper on writing Velvet:
‘Having just written Fallen Grace, set in Victorian London, I had a stash of nineteenth-century bits and pieces in my head that I hadn’t yet touched upon. The most compelling of these was a longing to investigate further the whole spiritualist phenomenon that swept this country from the 1840s onwards.
'I usually like to base my books on true happenings, so began my research with the Old Bailey records (now online). I just typed in “fraudulent” and “mediums” and up they came: compulsive, mind-boggling, unbelievable. Reading them, it seemed impossible to think that anyone could really believe all those things that mediums helpfully conveyed from dead aunts and uncles. How could they be that naive? But they were, of course, just as people today fall for internet scams and “lottery wins” from far-flung countries. Every single medium investigated in those times, bar one, was found to be a fake. I decided to put my heroine in the house of the celebrated Madame Savoya and her good-looking valet, and see what happened . . . ’
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 ...
Praise for Fallen Grace:
'By any standards, an exceptional novel ... the gift for taking historical situations and making them emotionally engaging is far too rare ... after six historical novels, this one is Hooper's breakthrough and its characterisation, plotting and atmosphere are first-rate and deserve prizes ... Not since Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke has there been such a gorgeous evocation of Victorian life - or so satisfying a conclusion' - Amanda Craig, The Times
'At one stage (Grace) meets Charles Dickens, who might well have recognised some of the plot turns of this most satisfying read' - Independent on Sunday
'This wonderfully atmospheric story, set in Victorian London, will draw in teenage girls with its blend of sadness, hardship and redemption ... A sensitive and taughtly-plotted novel, intelligently told' - Daily Mail
Publication date: 05/07/2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
|Publication date:||5th July 2012|
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Suitable for:||13+ readers|
Says of herself: I was born in Barnes, South West London, which became expensive and trendy as soon as I left it. I often – nostalgically and rather lazily – use Barnes as a setting for my books. If I speak of a river then I’m thinking of the Thames, and if it’s a park or common then I picture Barnes Common. I was able to utilise all these local points and bring in Mortlake and Richmond, too, when I was writing two books about Queen Elizabeth I’s magician, Dr Dee, who lived in ...More About Mary Hooper