Monday, 12 September 2011

Review for Velvet by Mary Hooper

Velvet by Mary Hooper
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 5th September 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Ghost Story, Mediums
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"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..."

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 such a popular author! Mary has the rare ability to submerge the reader entirely in the past and learn something about life during that time without it ever feeling like a history lesson. Mary makes her characters and situations relatable to the reader and whilst the plot is rich with history it above all is a good story that will captivate any reader whether your particularly interested in history or not.

The main thing I loved about Velvet was the fascinating and at times creepy plot. The story is rich with suspense and intrigue and I, like our main character Velvet, was swept up in trying to find out if the mediums, particularly Madame Savoya, were what they seemed.

Despite all the sinister goings on Velvet still manages to find time for romance something I think all female readers will appreciate and Velvet’s boy troubles make this heroine from another time relatable to modern teens. I really liked the characters of Charlie and Lizzie Velvet’s friends and couldn’t help but feel sympathy towards Velvet after everything she’s had to go through, she’s really a character you want the best for.

The only thing that let this book down for me was that I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. Once the big climax was unleashed everything else sort of trailed off and I would have liked a bit more closure regarding some things.

Overall I found Velvet to be a highly engrossing read that I couldn’t wait to escape into each night. If you’re looking for a realistic ghost story or simply a good historical read I would highly recommend this book and will definitely be looking to read more by Mary Hooper.


  1. I really want to read this one, it sounds like something that I would enjoy. Great review! :D

  2. My first book by Mary Hooper too and I loved it! I want to find out more about the whole spiritualist craze - fascinating subject!

  3. This one's already on my list, but I really enjoyed your review -- it got me more excited to read it. Wonderful....

  4. I need to read this! Fab review :)

  5. I cant wait to read this one! I loved her other book, Fallen Grace and I am hopefully getting this one soon! Thanks for the great review

  6. Thanks guys! I can't wait to read more by Mary think I'm going to go with Fallen Grace next as I've heard fab things about that one too! :)


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