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Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters

Tipping The Velvet (original 1998; edition 2002)

by Sarah Waters

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3,7751111,381 (4.01)399
Title:Tipping The Velvet
Authors:Sarah Waters
Info:Virago (2002), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, Welsh fiction, Published in 2002, Published in the 2000s, Published in the 21st century, England, London, historical fiction, Read in 2013, Read in Belfast, Bought in 2013

Work details

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (1998)

  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. 61
    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)
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    Moll Cutpurse, Her True History by Ellen Galford (CurrerBell)

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» See also 399 mentions

English (104)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
  TheIdleWoman | Jun 26, 2016 |
This was a re-read... it was the first Waters novel I'd read, and I read it because I saw (and loved) the film. But elements of the film and the book were getting a bit confused in my head, plus I'd run out of books by Waters to read, so I thought I'd read this one again.
It's really an excellent book - it's both a convincing and touching narrative of a young woman's path to maturity and a true understanding of love, and an exciting tour through 19th-century London's demimonde. Erotic without being gratuitous, it's got scenes and characters that will stick with you for years. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
how funny that i didn't like this book the first time i read it. (in my memory it wasn't even the 2 stars i gave it below.) and especially that i didn't like her writing, which is clearly just so good. more than anything i'm impressed by her writing and really wonder what i was thinking that i didn't like it before. the characters i wasn't taken with this time, either, but the writing was so good that i didn't care. this time around, i was also pretty fascinated with the time period and atmosphere that she created. i wasn't excited about part 2 of the story, but did find myself compulsively reading this throughout. and i was pretty taken by the story in part 1 and much of part 3. in spite of not liking part 2 as much, i definitely enjoyed this from start to nearly finish (i'm a little unsatisfied with the final confrontation between kitty and nancy), and have no idea what i could have been thinking last time I read this. and also, wow - how incredibly bold to name her first ever published book this. i'm pretty blown away by that alone.

when sitting thigh-to-thigh with her crush: "Kitty still smiled. Then she half-rose to reach a pepper castor; and when she sat again she drew her feet beneath her chair, and I felt my thigh grow cool."

"But there was something very appealing about that Fe-Male. I saw myself in it - in the hyphen."

(3.75 stars)

from nov 2008: i did find this book compelling, but i really can't attribute that to the characters or the writing. the writing was definitely average or slightly better, but if this story was about heterosexual people, i'm quite sure i wouldn't like it. i read very few books with alternative sexual orientation/gender characters, that i was drawn in for that reason alone. but if i'm being honest about the quality of it, it can't get more than 2 stars. i did like hearing about being lesbian in victorian london as i knew nothing about that before. (2 stars) ( )
  elisa.saphier | Jan 29, 2016 |
A tour de force ( )
  sianpr | Dec 13, 2015 |
I have had this book on my shelf to read for sometime. This ended up being a very well done historical fiction book about a young woman who ends up performing as a masher on stage and throughout that process realizes that she is gay. This is definitely an adult read.

Nancy is absolutely infatuated with the masher (cross-dressing music hall singer) Kitty Butler when she sees Kitty onstage. Nancy ends up becoming Kitty’s dresser and as events progress Nancy eventually takes the stage name Nan King and joins Kitty on the stage. When Kitty begins to shy at her own lesbianism and decides to get married to their male manager, Nan’s heart is broken. Nan leaves the stage and instead walks the streets as a butch roue (a pretty boy prostitute of sorts). While on the streets Nan finds friends and love in unexpected places.

This was a very entertaining, interesting, and engaging read. Nancy has such a straight-forward reaction to finding out that she loves other women; she just accepts that that is how she is and can’t understand other people's reaction to her sexual orientation. Really Nan’s attitude through the whole book is very interesting; she’s so composed and matter of fact over everything. Despite all she does and all she sees, there are only a couple of times where she feels betrayed and loses her composure.

I also really enjoyed looking into this time in history and getting to see it from a different point of view. GLBT folks have been treated such a wide variety of ways by society throughout the ages and it was interesting to get a historical look into that subculture.

The book is a fun read and very engaging; it’s a long book but I breezed right throughout. I would recommend for adults and older because there is a lot of sex in this book. I mean a lot a lot of sex and most of it is atypical. None of the sex is really gratuitous and I did like that a broad range of lesbian sex is portrayed; by that I mean we see Nan having tender loving sex and we also see her turning tricks for cash.

Overall an excellent historical fiction novel about one young woman’s journey through a stage career, discovering her own sexuality, and surviving. I would recommend to those who are interested in reading a historical fiction that explores both theater and GLBT subculture of the late 1800’s. ( )
  krau0098 | Nov 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Watersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dabekaussen, EugèneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maters, TillyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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First words
Have you ever tasted a Whitstable oyster?
"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."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine Tipping the Velvet the novel with Tipping the Velvet the DVD.
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Book description
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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No descriptions found.

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)

(summary from another edition)

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