Review: Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

56373It’s no Fingersmith. I have to admit, had this been the first book I picked up by Sarah Waters, I would have never returned. Which is important to note because for a long time I was reluctant to pick up Fingersmith, thinking I should read Tipping the Velvet first. I thought I would enjoy it more because of the theatre aspect.

Boy was I so, so wrong.

The story sounds interesting enough: young Nancy, an poor oyster girl, falls in love with a girl on the stage, Kitty Butler, who dresses like a gentleman and ends up following her to London as her dresser. As the two live and work together they slowly become lovers in every sense of the word. Nancy begins to work on the stage alongside Kitty and has a quick rise to stardom, then a rapid descent to to rock bottom where she makes supremely bad decisions, all the way up to the end.

Having read Fingersmith first I was expected a more detailed, complex plot and this disappoints in that aspect. This one was just not as tightly woven–Fingersmith featured plots within plots within plots (and it was glorious). Though I do love the detail of the ending being wrapped up a brief one time introduction earlier in the book. The writing style is still beautifully crafted, this after all, is Sarah Waters. But her amazing prose isn’t enough to give this more than three stars.

Oh yeah, and it’s definitely erotic.

I have The Paying Guests to read next by her, but honestly after this dud I’m a little reluctant for some more Sarah Waters so soon.

★★★☆☆

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Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

fingersmithFingersmith made me realize that I really should not have put off reading Sarah Waters for so long. Fingersmith has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now. Since I’m officially trying to work my way through the women writers on my shelf however, Sarah Waters was an obvious choice. I’ve been hearing fantastic things about her work for years and all of it was completely right!

This is a fantastic novel with several twists and turns that I did not see coming. The story is about two orphaned girls, Maud and Sue. The only reason that Sue ever meets Maud is because she’s going to tip her the double. Both girls don’t know is there is something else guiding all the events, and the two girls are caught up in a plot that neither of them expected. Separated, both girls struggle with the longing that they feel for each other.

Needless to say, I love this book! It’s got it all: a tender and forbidden romance, a murder, a sane person trapped in an asylum, conspiracies, double agents, betrayals (after betrayals!), twists, turns, perverts, mysteries and suspense.

★★★★★