Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet

Book - 1999
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"Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 1999.
ISBN: 9781573227889
Call Number: WATERS
Characteristics: 472 pages ; 23 cm
Subjects: Lesbians -- England -- Fiction.
England -- Social life and customs -- 19th century -- Fiction.


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Oct 22, 2019

I can’t believe it took me so long to “discover” this one. It was chock full of great descriptions. The reader is truly immersed in Nan’s world. It was hard to put down as I truly wanted to know how Nan’s life would turn out. It is explicit in some sections so if that bothers you, be aware. The ending was a bit forced and felt awkward but it tied things up. I’d have liked Kitty and Nan’s family to have had a better ending...and I wish Diana would’ve got hers in the end! I wish Waters would write a sequel, if it were as well executed. One of my favorite books of all time. 💋❤️

Jan 12, 2018

My secret valentine choice [2016] from the public library, advertised as "Victorian lesbian cabaret." How could I resist? Much better choice than last year's sucker job with The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Oct 09, 2017

I can't begin to describe how much I loved this book. Sarah Waters is truly a genius. I loved Nancy then I felt sorry for Nancy then I hated Nancy then I felt sorry for her again then I hated her again but by the end I was cheering for her in full town tear mode, crying like a baby hoping it was not to late for her. Let me make it clear I ENDED UP LOVING NANCY! If anyone deserved a chance at being loved it is her.

BostonPL_LauraB Aug 23, 2017

Really enjoyed this and am absolutely adding more Sarah Waters to my to-read list. The atmosphere in this novel was fantastic - love Victorian/late 19th century London, so dirty and filled with debauchery. A great look at the story of one young girl's tumultuous life and her growth throughout these years.

Apr 16, 2015

Waters's first novel, from 1998, is a wonderfully inventive project that manages to combine several literary traditions in one engrossing adventure tale. It's part Victorian novel, part erotic romance, part picaresque. Imagine Dickens writing "50 Shades of Grey." Set in late-nineteenth-century London, the plot follows the lifestyle changes of a working-class woman who finds herself on the music hall stage as a "masher" (male impersonator), in love with her female stage partner, but unable to live openly. Degradation and tragedy follow, before a rousing and heartwarming resolution. The only flaws may be that the plot drags a bit at times, and perhaps we see a bit more than we want to of our protagonist's bedroom adventures. Very sexually explicit, this is not for anyone squeamish in that regard.

Maybea Jul 04, 2012

The only other Sarah Waters I've read is Little Stranger, which I thought was amazing. This was only pretty good for me. I skimmed from time to time as it felt a bit clunky and slow. I found the main character to be shallow, thought I'm not sure if that was done on purpose ?

cjperry Apr 17, 2011

I agree with ErinHood on this one. "Fingersmith" was one of the most sensual books I had read, and Waters definitely has a way with words, but "Tipping the Velvet" is sort of second-rate in comparison. Good escapist read, and definitely worth the time if you like the style, but don't expect too much.

Feb 12, 2011

It's a sturdy book, told in a pleasing way, but when you read one Sarah Waters book... the subsquent ones give the reader less each time. She rarely explores new emotional ground, rendering her books a bit formulis. While they have different tones, and each an underlying structure of suspense, if you want something with more depth, something that pulls and stretches you to consider humanity and human nature each time, Winterson is your lady.


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Apr 16, 2015

Chapel_Hill_KenMc thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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