15. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Velvet by Mary Hooper, 336 pages, read by Courtney, on 02/07/2013

Velvet is an orphan who is working in a laundry in London. The year is 1899 and times are tough for young women with no one to support them. Velvet figures this is about as good as it’s going to get, especially since she has secrets to hide. She has a small room that she rents and mostly gets enough to eat. When she has a fainting spell, she is eventually promoted to doing laundry for the more wealthy clients. Velvet acquires the regular duties of laundering the clothes of Madame Savoya, a prominent psychic. As the new year begins, so too does a new life for Velvet. Madame takes Velvet in as her personal assistant and introduces Velvet to the world of spiritualism. Velvet joyfully embraces her new position. As time goes by, however, Velvet starts to question the ethics driving the Spiritualist community.
Spiritualism was big business in the late Victorian/early Edwardian era. The descriptions of seances throughout the book are representative of how these mediums worked. Author’s notes at the end of the book are quite enlightening.

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