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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Velvet is an orphan. She struggles to make ends meet by working in a steam, laundry, where the work is back-breaking and exhausting. So when she attracts the attention of the glamorous clairvoyant Madame Savoya, she cannot believe her good fortune.

Raised to the status of lady's maid, Velvet is given elegant clothes to wear and is brought to live in a grand house in London.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 2011 by Bloomsbury
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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,010 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Anne Osterlund
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Velvet is ill-suited for working at the laundry. She keeps fainting from heat and exhaustion, and even after being given a second chance, she mucks it up.

The fates--and Madame Savoya--have a different future in mind for Velvet. As an assistant to one of the most prestigious mediums in London, teenaged Velvet finds her hand-to-mouth existence raised up to one in which she mingles with the elite, embarks upon missions to uncover the mysteries of ectoplasm and materialization, and even--perhaps--yo
Velvet is one of those books which I love to read: Historical fiction which isn't weighy or dry with awesome characters I can relate to and an engaging storyline.

The thing I liked most about this book was the main character Velvet. She is a really interesting character and I enjoyed following her story from being an orphaned washer woman to become lady servant to one of the most prestigious mediums in the city. I loved how she was both quite streetwise in how she had had to look after herself an
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I don't feel like writing a fully fleshed out review, but I felt I had to elaborate on why I gave this book only 2.5, maybe 3 stars.

Reading the back gave me high hopes, but... this wasn't my kind of book.
Though there were several things which I enjoyed about it, it was never able to capture me fully and felt, too often, predictable. The historical setting intrigued me very much, and the first few chapters made me not want to put it away, but after the actual story started taking place that feel
Katie Joiner
Sep 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Rarely have I become so impatient with a character so quickly; very infrequently have I found fault with the arc of plot, the names of the characters, and the characters themselves all at once. Yet Hooper managed to give me all of these opinions and feelings with her book VELVET, which I finished on the grounds of wanting to find out if Velvet, the titular character, ever snapped out of her idiocy and realized what she should have realized on page one.
(view spoiler)
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Having read Mary Hooper's books before, I knew I'd probably love this but find a lot of faults with it. I eagerly read it anyway, as all of Mary's books are amazingly researched and the environments rich and easy to imagine. Mary's characters are very vivid too, I had no problem deciding on which actor each character looked like!

This particular novel is about the spiritualism craze between 1900 – 1901 and is of course, fantastically researched. I learnt some great things about the different tri
Trigger warning: mentions of death, child abuse

3 ⭐️

This book was... okay I guess?

The setting was interesting. Early 21st century London, with a hint of feminist theory sparkled here and there (although very lightly). The atmosphere is intriguing, and it would have been nice to get more from it, like the steam laundry or the street life.

But the main character is absolutely useless. While Velvet seems to be 16 or 17, she thinks and acts as if she’s 12. And, frankly, for a poor orphan who’s had to
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Some spoilers!

Despite a fun premise, this book suffers from amateurish writing and insufferable characters.

Narratively speaking, it's rather predictable, with twists hidden as subtly as a brick to the eye. The writing itself often resorts to the classic "tell, don't show" when it comes to the characters, especially in making sure we understand Velvet's inner monologue. Her thoughts are always there to ask the questions FOR the reader instead of letting the reader ask them herself.

In addition,
Gretchen Hohmeyer
This review originally appeared HERE on my blog, My Life is a Notebook.

2 1/2 stars

Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for this eARC!

The blurb calls this book “romantic” and “thrilling.” The fact is, this book is neither.

Honestly, I was expecting so much more from this book. The premise was interesting, and Mary Hooper is an established historical fiction writer. Sadly, this book plays on too many historical fiction cliches that bother the heck out of me.

The first problem is the way the book w
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ugh! To tell you the truth, Velvet was fair. Not so good, but not so bad. Yes, there were some good parts. Yes, there were some bad parts. It's so-so. Okay.

The cover of Velvet is nice. I love the background.

Velvet isn't on my recommended list. The synopsis and cover were screaming 'Read this book. Read me. Please read me.' Velvet didn't reach my standards. However I did learn some things about 'psychics'. The secrets of psychics revealed by Velvet and some other char
Life as an orphan isn't easy for Velvet and she has to work long gruelling hours in the laundry just to survive. Getting the chance to work as a lady's maid for clairvoyant Madame Savoya is her chance to move up in the world. Velvet is excited to be away from the laundry but the more she learns about her new boss the more suspicious she becomes. Is Madame Savoya all she really seems to be and if she isn't what should Velvet do about it?

I really enjoyed Mary Hooper's book Fallen Grace so was exci
Jessica (Jess Hearts Books)
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have a huge interest in stories about mediums and spirits especially those set in the Victorian/Edwardian period when spiritualism was at its peak. So reading Velvet a fictional yet realistic account on mediumship during that time was fascinating to me. Mary Hooper mixes fiction with fact and spins a realistic and creepy portrayal on what it might have been like working for a respected and popular medium during that time.

Velvet is my first book by Mary Hooper and I can certainly see why she is
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have been avid fan of Mary Hooper ever since I read the wonderful Newes From The Dead and I haven’t been disappointed with any of her historical novels for children either, Fallen Grace was especially good with its focus on the Victorians’ obsession with death and mourning.

Velvet, our eponymous heroine, has not had an easy life – losing her mother, then neglected by an abusive, gambling father and eventually orphaned. The only thing keeping her from the workhouse is her daily drudgery in the s
Ms. Yingling
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
After the drowning death of her abusive father, Kitty reinvents herself as "Velvet" in early 1900s London and gets a job as a laundress at Ruffold's Steam Laundry. After fainting several times from the heat, she gets moved into personal laundry because she is literate and a hard worker. She eventually has the alluring Madame Savoya as a client, and gets to meet her when Madame sends two tickets to her public performance as a psychic. Velvet is enthralled, and when Madame intervenes with Ruffold' ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Velvet is a young woman struggling to survive on the grimy streets of Victorian London. Misfortune has blighted her young life, the death of her hard working mother then her cruel father have left her penniless and alone. Working in the confines of a laundry every day is a struggle lightened only by her friendship with fellow laundress Lizzie and childhood playmate Charlie.

However fortune begins to smile on Velvet when firstly she is prompted to handling personal laundry and becomes the protegee
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk-authors
Velvet continues to provide all the things that I love about historical fiction by Mary Hooper; excellent writing, interesting characters and to chance to learn history in such a mesmerising and entertaining way.

The main focus of Velvet is on mediums that were so popular in the Victorian Era. Madame Savoya rescues Velvet by giving her work as an assistant, a great promotion considering where Velvet is at the beginning of the book. She moves into Madame Savoya house where she has a warm bed, good
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-ya-books
Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It had all the elements that I love about Victorian England and so it drew me to it. It was suitable dark and mysterious. Full of imagined and very real ghosts. Velvet is a laundress who catches the eye of Madame a beautiful young mesmerist. Velvet has had a rough life and so does not really question her change of fortune. She is very naive and blindly devoted to Madame and George, a handsome assistant. Slowly she begins to see that things are not w ...more
Sep 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
I haven't actualy finished this book. Around page 200 I just lost interest. The plot is predictable and I think that Velvet/Kitty is a naive character and if I'm honest not that smart either. I don't like naive characters and the subject of the book just didn't interest me. I had high expectations for this book because it sounded realy interesting. And I am sad my expectations weren't met. But hey there many more amazing books out there. Better luck next time! ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Although YA is not my favourite genre, an easy read is sometimes required - so long as it's well-written that is, and this one definitely is. It's the third book I've read by Mary Hooper, and although I felt the romance aspect of the story somewhat corny, I very much enjoyed it as a whole. This author doesn't disappoint. ...more
The new 20th-century has not brought Velvet the promise and excitement that a new century should bring. Orphaned and working a backbreaking, sweaty job at a laundry, Velvet longs for a better life than she's ever known. Her Pa was a children's entertainer who spent their money on horses and drink. He made their lives miserables and though Velvet's mother had been brought up for better, she had to work as a laundress to make ends meet. Since her parents' deaths, Velvet her been on her own, trying ...more
Sunflowers and sundaze
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
3 stars

velvet is great for light reading. Although I cannot say i particularly found myself completely hooked at any point in the book , I did enjoy reading it and looked forwards to picking it up.

I won't add spoilers! But I felt it to be rather predictable and it didn't take long for me to work out the characters connections and where the story line was going. I would have liked at least another chapter to see what would happen with Velvets life but sadly I felt the ending was cut short.

That be
Maida Rashid
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Velvet was pretty good read.

The only problem I had while reading was that the book was really slow—paced. Velvet is a girl that does laundry, she lost her mother when she was young and then her father soon after. She’s an orphan that tries to make end meets by working at the laundry.

Velvet’s development throughout the story was great. She did act naive during the story which kind of got irritating but it all ended well for her. It was nice seeing her get confidence by time. I love Madame’s cha
Danielle Lowe
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
23/10/2017: I think this is certainly a book that I want to return to and give another read (although if I recall correctly I think I will need a tissue box or two next to me as I hold back the tears). Think I let my mum give this book a read and she cried too suggesting it wasn't my incredibly emotional immaturity showing through at the time.
Andrea Quinlan
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel may not reach the heights of Sarah Waters Affinity but it's quite a well researched if light romance set in the world of spiritualists at the turn of the century. Velvet is a better drawn character than Madame Savoya - who could have been less of a stereotype. A fun read, though! ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Overall Velvet was a good read and it kept me engaged for the most part. I would have liked the ending to be a bit more developed, but I did appreciate that the subject matter was well researched and found the sudden growth of mediums/ spiritualism in the Victorian Era to be interesting.
Jennifer Spiers
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a perfectly readable book with a fast paced story loosely historically based. Very much in keeping with the style of Mary Hooper’s other books; this one just about ok for a HA y6 child. Good for linking in with Victorian topic
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Good story telling but would have loved some richer description. Good read for younger teens.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This could have been such a good book. I really didn't like the main character and it spoiled much of the story. She was so wishy-washy. ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A little bit too long but interesting and set in a time period I don't get to read about often. ...more
Hamza Nasir
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Story was gripping
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

British children's and young adult author Mary Hooper was born in 1944, in Barnes, then in Surrey, nowadays in South West London. She left school at fifteen, and went to work as a window dresser, and then as a secretary. She eventually returned to school, as an adult student, earning a degree in English from Readi

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