Monday, September 2, 2013

ARC Review: Velvet

Velvet by Mary Hooper, November 13, 2012. 336 pages. Published by Bloomsbury Children's USA. Source: Publisher.
Velvet is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she 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. Then she is noticed by Madame Savoya, a famed medium, who asks Velvet to come work for her. At first she is dazzled by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But Velvet soon realizes that Madame Savoya is not all that she says she is, and Velvet's very life may be in danger . . . A romantic and thrilling new novel from an acclaimed historical fiction writer, Velvet is packed with rich details and surprising twists.
First Sentence:
Velvet had fainted too many times, according to Mrs. Slone, and was liable to be dismissed from Ruffold's Steam Laundry.
So, Velvet was one book that I was quite excited to read since it was a historical fiction novel. Well, let's just say that I was mildly disappointed in this one because it did not live up to my expectations.

Even though I May not have enjoyed reading Velvet nearly as much as I hoped, I am going to try my hardest to convey why this one did not work for me as a reader. While there are some good points in this book (like the author's writing) it was mostly a miss for me. As always, I leave the decision up to you in regards to whether or not you will like it.

Alright, so, what really bothered me about Velvet is that she was naive to the point of being stupid. While her naivete really bothered me, what really made her hard to like and care about was that she was so enchanted with her new position and trappings that she failed to take note and action to what was going on. It was really disappointing to see how easily she let herself be swept away with the lies; it also irritated me that it felt like forever before she even realized the truth (of many things).
  As for the rest of the characters, they were okay though at times a little too... predictable.

I know that every mediocre book has at least one redeeming quality and that one thing that kept me plugging away at this one was the writing. While I may not have been enchanted with the story or characters, I enjoyed Mary Hooper's writing style and the way she was able to capture the feel of the time period. In short, the thing I found most enjoyable about Mary Hooper's writing was her ability to capture Victorian England thus making it come alive for readers today.

While I really wanted to like Velvet, I just was not pulled into the story or the life of the main character, Velvet. Truly, I had expected something a little different with maybe a dash more action and mystery, not a semi-boring read that just left me feeling blah.
   What really bothered me about the this book would have to be that it dragged on and on before anything really seemed to happen. Even though I understand that sometimes it takes a while to set the tone for the story, it can be quite disheartening when it takes the main character three-quarters of the book to discover that certain people are not what they seem. If you can tell, Velvet was one of the most frustrating books and characters that I've read in some time.

Final Verdict: Velvet- Sadly, this one did not meet my expectations because the character and story line fell flat.

Velvet earns 2.75 out of 5 pineapples

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