VELVET by Mary Hooper
Rose is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry is scalding, back-breaking work and Rose is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Rose is noticed by Madame X, a famed medium, who asks Rose to come to work for her. Rose is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Rose realises that Madame X is not all that she says she is, and Rose's very life is in danger ...A romantic and thrillingly exciting new novel from an acclaimed and much-loved historical writer for teens
Sounds exciting huh? Well now I'm going to pass you over to Mary so you can find out about mediums.
Apart from Madame, all the names used in this novel are those of real mediums, although, as with Amelia Dyer, they weren’t all still working during 1900–1901, the date covered by this book. Mediumship started in the United States in 1848 with the Fox sisters (who later admitted they were frauds) and quickly spread to the UK, where it became extremely fashionable. There are many photographs showing mediums exuding ectoplasm (a mysterious substance said to be produced by mediums whilst in a trance state, and at different times described as resembling gauze, smoke, mist or slime) from their bodies, but whether you are convinced by these is another matter – as is whether you believe that someone on the Other Side is able to send messages to the living.
The case for mediums has not been helped by the great number of frauds that were perpetrated in Victorian and Edwardian times against vulnerable and recently bereaved people. Two of the cases I have written about, ‘Lady Blue’ and ‘Mrs Lilac’, were based on cases from the Old Bailey records (now available online). The reason Madame gives for demanding Mrs Lilac’s jewels (that the magnetism within them might draw her too early to the Other Side) was taken from these records. Spiritualism and mediumship underwent a great revival after World War I, when hundreds of people sought to get in touch with loved ones who had died in the war.
If that has whetted your appetite like it has mine, then you'll be pleased to know that Velvet was released on 5th September 2011 and can be purchased at your local bookstore or online at:
Details of the other tour stops can be found in my sidebar.
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(UK only - sorry International readers)
Would you like to win a set of Mary's historical fiction titles? I'm talking EIGHT books here!
The giveaway is open to everyone over 13 years of age who have a UK postal address. If you qualify, then please leave a (meaningful) comment below along with your email address and a line confirming you live in the UK.
The prize pack will be posted out direct from the publishers - Bloomsbury Childrens Books
The giveaway closes at midnight on 16th September 2011. Good Luck!