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Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
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Tipping the Velvet (1998)

by Sarah Waters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,1991241,679 (3.99)430
  1. 70
    Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (zembla)
    zembla: A lush, atmospheric Victorian love story between two young women.
  2. 81
    Affinity by Sarah Waters (Booksloth)
  3. 71
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (_debbie_)
    _debbie_: Both are (at least partially) historical novels with strong themes of identity, coming of age, and going against the mainstream to stay true to what you feel is right. Although one is set in Victorian England and the other isn't, they both have that same feel of rich language and descriptive place.… (more)
  4. 20
    Moll Cutpurse, Her True History by Ellen Galford (CurrerBell)
  5. 00
    Ladies and Gentlemen: A Play by Emma Donoghue (amanda4242)
  6. 00
    Passing Strange by Ellen Klages (amanda4242)
  7. 00
    The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (Anonymous user)
  8. 00
    The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee (Anonymous user)
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» See also 430 mentions

English (116)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
I read Fingersmith a few months ago, added it to a list of my favorite novels, and vowed to read more by Sarah Waters. Perhaps that was a mistake.

Tipping the Velvet should be called The Lesbian Adventures of Nancy Astley. Nancy Astley, our heroine, is a flat character who manages to experience just about every flavor of Victorian Lesbianism. She drifts from adventure to adventure with little motivation or contemplation. The only redeeming feature of this novel is the steamy lesbian sex, but those beautifully constructed scenes are few and far between. I'm not very impressed with this book and I would only recommend it to fans of lesbian literature. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I really enjoyed Waters' The Paying Guests, which had mystery and suspense wrapped up in the romance. This novel does not, it's a romance. A historical romance, so there are some great scenes and descriptions of 1890s London, and the entire thing is very well written. But romance is one of my least favorite genres. The good writing and historical scenes got me through and gets this novel 3 stars, but that's all. ( )
  Dreesie | Jul 7, 2018 |
In Victorian England, Nancy Astley loved going to the music hall in nearby Canterbury. When a male impersonator called Kitty Butler starts performing there and completely entrances Nancy. Soon Nancy goes backstage to meet Kitty, it seems the attraction is mutual, especially when Kitty asks Nancy to come to London with her to be her dresser. It takes awhile to blossom, but the romance between the two is sweet, until, of course, it isn’t. Nancy finds herself on her own in London and makes some questionable decisions for the sake of survival (and fun) until she finally ends up on the doorstep of an austere socialist.
While I’m sure the history is fudged a bit for the sake of plot, it’s still fun to see all the different aspects of lesbian culture that Nancy encounters throughout the book, from the music halls to the upper classes to the working classes. Sometimes I rooted for Nancy, other times I wanted to shake her and ask why she was being such an idiot, which makes for a compelling character. All the characters came vividly to life in this book and I found myself wanting to know more about each of them. I listened to the audio book, narrated by Juanita McMahon, who does an excellent job giving voice to the wide variety of characters in this book. If you’re looking for a queer historical romance novel, Tipping the Velvet is a great place to start. ( )
  Jessiqa | Jun 5, 2018 |
I picked this book up at a store near my university. It was on a shelf of books recommended by the staff. A beautiful girl at the counter, a student whom I had a class with, said she loved the book and would love to hear what I thought after I finished it. I went through so much during my time at University that I never got to start it. So, I never had the chance to tell her how amazing this book truly was.
Tipping the velvet is a queer Victorian novel following a young girl over the course of about six years. It took me three months to complete, as I left plenty of time between each part of the book. I did this as a way to forget a bit of the old Nancy, appreciate her new growth, yet vaguely remember her older days as an oyster girl and a performer. Although at times sluggish, I do believe the book to have great pacing and good character development. Nancy slowly discovered who she was, began to feel comfortable in her own skin and explore her sexuality without shame, which was truly inspiring. Overall, I enjoyed the book, although I remain curious about her family and wished to know if Nancy ever introduces Flo to her parents. Regardless, it was a gorgeous lesbian erotic Victorian novel, and I cannot wait to read more of Sarah Waters's works. ( )
1 vote frailrouge | Mar 28, 2018 |
Sarah Waters is an amazing story teller, the story builds and builds and without knowing it you're completely sucked in. This wasn't my favourite Waters novel - the story took a very direct straight-line path and I missed lots of the side alleys and surprises that her later novels have. But in true Waters style each character is alive on the page, each scene can be smelt and every dilemma felt. Waters blends the social and political into the novel brilliantly - taking them off the big stage and into the lives of real people. ( )
  Mitch1 | Mar 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionscalculated
McMahon, JuanitaReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Abrams, Erikatraductricesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Amoroso, LisaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Amrain, SusanneÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ascari, FabrizioTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Books, RecordedPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dabekaussen, EugèneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lyngstad, KariOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maters, TillyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zetterström, GunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
First words
Have you ever tasted a Whitstable oyster?
Quotations
"Dreams," I said. He snapped his fingers. "The very stuff that stages are made of."
"In short, Nance, even was you going to the very devil himself, your mother and I would rather see you fly from us in joy, than stay with us in sorrow - and grow, maybe, to hate us, for keeping you from your fate."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine Tipping the Velvet the novel with Tipping the Velvet the DVD.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen. A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King - oyster girl turned music-hall star turned rent boy turned East End 'tom'.
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Nancy Astley, a fishmonger in Whitstable, becomes smitten by male impersonator Kitty Butler and attends shows until the star notices her, which leads to the two becoming partners in romance and performance until societal pressures drive the two into situations that embrace the ambiguity of sexual preference and gender roles.… (more)

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