TIPPING THE VELVET BOOK

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Tipping the Velvet book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phe. Tipping the Velvet () is a historical novel by Sarah Waters; it is her debut novel. She has acknowledged that the book imagines a lesbian presence and . “Erotic and absorbing Written with startling power.”—The New York Times Book Review Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon.


Tipping The Velvet Book

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Erotic and absorbing Written with startling power.”—The New York Times Book Review Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated. With a title that's a euphemism for cunnilingus and a plot awash with graphic lesbian sex, this lush tale fearlessly and feverishly exposes the political, social and. download the Book: A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King – oyster girl turned.

The most fundamental part of a story is conflict, and Waters, who is a deliberative writer, carefully setting the stage and piling on details, keeps the road smooth for a long time. Just over pages, more or less. There are unforgettable supporting characters, unique set pieces there is a bacchanal that trumps every party-scene in War and Peace , and a wonderfully recreated London, full of gritty, tactile details.

Take, for instance, a description of a boarding room that Nan comes to inhabit: The room to which she led me was cramped and mean and perfectly colorless; everything in it — the wallpaper, the carpets, even the tiles beside the hearth — having been rubbed or bleached or grimed to some variety of gray. There was no gas, only two oil-lamps with cracked and sooty chimneys. The window faced the Market…All I really saw, however, was the bed — a horrible old down mattress, yellow at the edges and blackened in the middle with an ancient bloodstain the size of a saucer — and the door.

The bed, for all its rankness, seemed at that moment wonderfully inviting. The door was solid, and had a key in it… Tipping the Velvet is crammed with descriptions like this, from dance halls and back alleys to swank mansions and lateth century gay bars. Which is why it can be just as exasperating as it is thrilling. It is a London vaguely familiar from other novels, but peopled with a heretofore hidden gay community. It can be a bit exhausting, all the detail. Once the story starts careening, however, as it does around the halfway point, it becomes impossible to put down.

The plot rambles propulsively from one extreme episode to another. Since I know you are wondering: There is sex within these pages. This should not surprise, since the title is slang for cunnilingus.

Some of the sex is mildly graphic. Most of it, however, is contained within one extended sequence late in the book. Nan is an engaging narrator and an incredibly drawn character.

Not here.

Tipping the Velvet

Nan is never overshadowed by the fascinating supporting cast she keeps running into. She is complex, and often unlikeable. She abandons her family, and essentially forgets about them. She tries to drag people out of the closet, kicking and screaming. She is sexually aggressive and utterly selfish.

In the end, though, the roundedness of her personality, the good and the bad, makes her arc all the more moving. Nan has a lot of different experiences — singer, prostitute, housekeeper, activist — and she earns every bit of happiness she garners. There are things I didn't love here. The plot is so sprawling and digressive that it can feel directionless. However, I digress, so onto the storyline - Nancy wants much more from Kitty, but Kitty is afraid that people will discover the fact that they are lesbians - let's not forget this was the late 's!

Eventually Nancy will move onto another relationship, one that is both abusive and destructive, and which sees Nancy used as a cross dressing sex slave but not before she spends a spell as a prostitute albeit dressed as a male and performing sexual acts for other males. I know I seem to have mentioned sex a lot, and some of these scenes are quite explicit, but they are rightly included as they play an important part in the storyline, however for some of the characters, relationships were secondary to the sex within said relationship, so it was difficult for me to have much empathy with them.

Whoa, what a crazy mixed up life Nancy and her friends lead, but the author makes this an irresistible read, and even though they're a narcissistic bunch, they make for truly interesting subjects. All in all a very enjoyable romp that brings Victorian England with its staid and stuffy views very much to life. View all 76 comments. Thus, when Sarah Waters sits down to write her novels, I am likely not the intended audience for which she spins her yarns.

Possibly, I am the furthest thing from it. Nevertheless, I stumbled upon her most recent book, The Paying Guests , at the end of , when it began appearing on all the year-end ten-best lists. I was intrigued by the universal acclaim, and also — to be honest — the promise of all that lesbian sex that Waters is famous for writing about. Tipping the Velvet is epic gay historical fiction. Imagine Pip from Great Expectations , except Pip is a headstrong lesbian who leaves his family, and Magwitch is a rich widow in the market for a cross dressing sex slave.

That just about explains this sprawling, picaresque twist on the classic coming-of-age story. Waters gets points for many things. Subtle symbolism is not among them.

Nan goes to watch Kitty every chance she gets. Eventually, Nan becomes her dresser.

Later they become friends. Soon enough, like every plucky, Victorian-era protagonist, Nan leaves home to follow Kitty to the big city. She gets on stage. She meets with some success. This is a book that I almost gave up on.

Like The Paying Guests , it starts slowly. And I mean real slooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww. The most fundamental part of a story is conflict, and Waters, who is a deliberative writer, carefully setting the stage and piling on details, keeps the road smooth for a long time. Just over pages, more or less. There are unforgettable supporting characters, unique set pieces there is a bacchanal that trumps every party-scene in War and Peace , and a wonderfully recreated London, full of gritty, tactile details.

Take, for instance, a description of a boarding room that Nan comes to inhabit: The room to which she led me was cramped and mean and perfectly colorless; everything in it — the wallpaper, the carpets, even the tiles beside the hearth — having been rubbed or bleached or grimed to some variety of gray. There was no gas, only two oil-lamps with cracked and sooty chimneys.

The window faced the Market…All I really saw, however, was the bed — a horrible old down mattress, yellow at the edges and blackened in the middle with an ancient bloodstain the size of a saucer — and the door. The bed, for all its rankness, seemed at that moment wonderfully inviting. The door was solid, and had a key in it… Tipping the Velvet is crammed with descriptions like this, from dance halls and back alleys to swank mansions and lateth century gay bars.

Which is why it can be just as exasperating as it is thrilling. It is a London vaguely familiar from other novels, but peopled with a heretofore hidden gay community. It can be a bit exhausting, all the detail. Once the story starts careening, however, as it does around the halfway point, it becomes impossible to put down. The plot rambles propulsively from one extreme episode to another. Since I know you are wondering: There is sex within these pages.

This should not surprise, since the title is slang for cunnilingus. Some of the sex is mildly graphic. Most of it, however, is contained within one extended sequence late in the book.

Nan is an engaging narrator and an incredibly drawn character. Not here. Nan is never overshadowed by the fascinating supporting cast she keeps running into. She is complex, and often unlikeable. She abandons her family, and essentially forgets about them. She tries to drag people out of the closet, kicking and screaming. She is sexually aggressive and utterly selfish.

In the end, though, the roundedness of her personality, the good and the bad, makes her arc all the more moving. Nan has a lot of different experiences — singer, prostitute, housekeeper, activist — and she earns every bit of happiness she garners. There are things I didn't love here. The plot is so sprawling and digressive that it can feel directionless.

Towards the end, Waters also gets a little preachy. I bought the conversion, but just barely, and mostly because Waters had stored up some goodwill with me. Waters also hits certain themes hard, particularly the need to be true to your own identity. Ultimately, I was rewarded by sticking through to the end. I have a definite literary wheelhouse — a comfort zone. Of course, if you do the same exercise with the same muscle over and over, you plateau.

Every once in awhile, I try to shake things up, to dip outside what I obviously like and try something different. Sometimes that leads me to struggle with the canonical classics. Other times, it leads me to Sarah Waters. Reading Tipping the Velvet , with its new spin on old motifs, is like wandering a familiar city and finding a brand new part of town. View 2 comments. As seen on The Readventurer Well, I definitely have never read anything like this before.

I dare you to read this book's synopsis and not get curious at least a little bit. Cross-dressing lesbians, kept women, music hall singers, renter "boys" - I mean, what's not to like? First and foremost, this is a book about lesbians my first! I don't know about you, but I just hate it when straight authors write "gay books," particularly erotica.

What can they possibly know?

Tipping The Velvet

I found myself quite ignorant of how such relationships work. Lesbian relationships, contrary to my uneducated beliefs, can be as abusive and destructive as the heterosexual ones. And, of course, there is lesbian sex. A few fairly explicit scenes, but the book doesn't turn into an overly gratuitous trashfest. Second, in spite of its scandalous premise, the book is historically accurate. It comes as a shock to find out that there was a whole strata of women exploring their homo sexuality so freely in s.

After reading Edith Wharton 's novels where women are too afraid to even get a divorce, it is a revelation to know that there were society women who kept female lovers and organized orgies. This, however, doesn't mean that in this book women go around doing whatever they please. Waters accompanies Nan's erotic adventures with a solid social context - same-sex relationships have to be secret, women known as "toms" are stigmatized, there is a legal punishment even.

I personally found this book very interesting. An imperfect, but strong debut. It is erotic without being vulgar, well researched but entertaining, well written without being boring.

The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it takes a while for the story to pick up steam. The first pages are a little dull, but after that the novel is impossible to put down. Needless to say, Tipping the Velvet won't be my last Sarah Waters novel. Due to the naked women on the cover this edition is a little challenging to read in public. View all 12 comments. Call this the lesbian "Maurice. Odd that in the late 19th century England so many lesbians would all be out and about strolling the dirty streets.

Even odder still that the heroine of the novel happens to stumble upon them all. This took considerable research, I'm sure, and how cool is it to get this particular point of view?!

The biggest mistake, however, was to give the narrative the first-person touch: Oh, gag! I have SO many problems with this book. What the hell was this supposed to be, anyway? I will go through the possibilities: Historical Fiction Set in the late 's, in stuffy Victorian England Yadda, yadda, yadda, they're a couple.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, Nancy is shocked that her sister doesn't accept this. Yadda, yadda, yadda, Nancy meets and beds pretty much every female that subseq Oh, gag! Yadda, yadda, yadda, Nancy meets and beds pretty much every female that subsequently crosses her path.

If the character has a vagina, Nancy is sure to be 'tipping the velvet' with her in short order. I'm not sure if Sarah Waters meant this to be historically accurate, but I just can't believe that it is, in any way.

Young people in THIS century have a hard time coming out. But Victorian Nance is loud and proud? And never seems to suffer because of it? I just didn't see this as authentic to the time at all, aside from the costumes. Romance It does tick off this box, I suppose, with Nancy's pages of pining for Kitty.

A socialism rally with every single lesbian in London in attendance? Literary Fiction Sarah Waters is a decent writer. It's because of her storytelling, that I finished this book. But I just couldn't take it seriously.

Was I meant to? I'm so confused. In addition to all these complaints, I really disliked the main character. Nancy didn't endear herself to me at all. She turfs her family, thinking more about the various men's suits she wears than her parents and siblings. She mistreats her friends. The more I think about it, it occurs to me that more than anything this is a re-write of history giving voice to relationships that certainly DID happen in the 's but no one talked about.

I can get my mind around that, but somehow it doesn't raise my appreciation of this book much. View all 54 comments. Not anyone really, but I won't stop you from reading it either. Recommended to Amanda by: From Coventry's "take my books" party. I knew that's all you wanted to hear about. I'm going to go on with my review, but you're welcome to stop reading now that you know the juicy stuff.

For shame, I know. So anyway, a while back, my friend Coventry had piles and piles of books she was giving away and this was one of them. Seeing that it was written by Sarah Waters, I nabbed it immediately and placed upon my shelf, waiting for just the right time to read what I was sure would be a delightful sapphic treasure. I'd read another of Sarah Waters' books a couple years back and it was perrrrfet!

Unfortunately, high expectations nearly always lead to the most crumbling downfalls. I'll give you a rundown of the story 'cause I know you're not gonna read it, so don't be all whiney that I'm including spoilers, ok?

Nancy is a young gal who falls madly and deeply in love with a pretty woman singer who subsequently invites Nancy to go on tour with her as her dresser. Nancy very soon becomes the woman's UNdresser as well hubba hubba and they go on like this for a while until one day Nancy returns home to find the woman singer in bed with GASP!!!

Gross, I know. So anyway, Nancy runs away, cries a lot, and hardly eats anything for like, 2 months, when she finally gets her shit together and becomes a prostitute. Or, well, maybe a gigolo is a better term for it--she dresses up as a dude and wanders the street blowing other dudes for sixpence. One day when she's off wandering the street, a horse-drawn carriage starts following her at a short distance scary The carriage lady is very rich and takes Nancy on as her concubine.

So they go on for, like a year or something, with Nancy living in the rich lady's house and being a sex slave, when finally the rich lady gets sick of Nancy and kicks her out after finding Nancy getting you-know-what-ed by the maid with no money or clothes or anything. So Nancy runs to this house for wayward girls and poor young couples where she knows there's a bleeding-heart young woman working and the bleeding-heart young woman takes Nancy in and eventually they become lovers of course but then the pretty woman singer from the beginning shows up and says, "Nancy, come back to me!

Plus, my girlfriend is a super-popular, bleeding-heart socialist and all the honeys want her. It doesn't sound like such a bad story, I guess, but the ENTIRE middle part was just so contrived and gratuitous that I almost stopped reading it a couple times.

And truth be told, I only read about 3 sentences per page for one of the chapters. It's unfortunate really, because, like I said, I liked Sarah Waters' other book soooooo much.

Even the ending of Tipping the Velvet , which I liked fine enough I guess, didn't redeem the middle prostitution and sex-slave parts. Oh well. At least I've learned that "tipping the velvet" means cunnilingus--titillating huh?!

Tipping the Velvet: Movie Review

I shall now go back to War and Peace to read of hairy-lipped Russian girls and their only slightly less-scandalous love lives. In the meantime, I have two thoughts. If I don't want my significant other watching porn, should I be allowed to read dirty books? I hate to put forth such a double standard Not saying that he DOES. Alas, a dilemma. Nothing ever feels like a first love, does it?

There is no going back. And nothing can compare, can it? View all 15 comments. Buddy read with Regina. Now, when I want to make a speech, I hardly know how. This was my first foray into the writing of Sarah Waters.

According to my friends, I have been missing out on some great lit. Now I'm no longer out of the loop! Tipping the Velvet follows a young "I feel like I've been repeating other people's speeches all my life.

Tipping the Velvet follows a young lady named Nan over the course of several years. We start with the early stirrings of her new found sexuality as she finds herself gazing adoringly upon a young female performer dressed in male clothing. The story continues throughout the various changes in her life which force her to take a long internal look at not only how she views the world around her, but also at how she views herself. This is my first experience with historical lit that subtly invokes moments which remind me of an artistic erotic painting - sensual, moving, yet not completely garish.

The story of Nan is about more than just who she chooses to love. The sexual moments are merely one small part of a girl who is on the road to her own self-discovery. The writing was absolutely beautiful. I loved Ms. Waters' descriptions of the setting, the clothing, and the characters. Little details were captured vividly in my head - even such insignificant things as when Kitty went to kiss Nan's hand and Nan drew it back out of fear that her hands would smell like the oyster liquor which came from her time of working at her parent's seafood house.

The way that it was described almost made Nan even that much more charming - as if she were different in her own very special way by having an uncommon occupation. One thing that I love to read about in books is when the story comes full circle. Every event in Nan's life shapes who she is in the next moment. Every event ties to the previous. I often talk about moments in time - this is a glimpse into the life of a girl who shared several rare moments with several rare and original personality types.

This is part of what made the story special. If you're looking for a traditional romance story, this will not be the book for you. However, if you're looking for a story about a character finding oneself, you might enjoy the journey of Nan King. View all 22 comments. It appears that currently the most common criticism of this book on goodreads is that it seems formulaic. Perhaps I am behind the times, but when did eloquent lesbian coming of age stories set in England years ago become so commonplace as to even HAVE a formula?

Ultimately this is a love story embedded in a fluid tale of heart-pounding and heart-breaking moments over the course of Nan's life. IF, however, anyone who accuses this book of being so standard actually said to themselves in the first chapter "well I bet this innocent oyster girl winds up falling in love with a crossdressing vaudevillian entertainer who will shortly be introduced as a character..

Personally, my internal magic eight ball didn't predict any of that. View all 4 comments. Apr 30, Katie Lumsden rated it it was amazing Shelves: I absolutely adored this, even more than Fingersmith. So well written, so engaging and moving. I love the exploration of Victorian society, especially of the Victorian lesbian underworld. At its heart, this is just a brilliant coming of age story with a fair bit of romance thrown in.

View 1 comment. So maybe I Googled "literary smut. In the comments below my friends are all like, "and this is the best Google could do? My friends have high smut standards? But the thing about the s is they were basically the least smutty time in history, so a dildo goes a long way in that setting. And that is Sarah Waters' goal, no mistake: Girl-on-girl smut, to be exact.

In her own words, "lesbo Victorian romps. Waters has gone back to insert them. I'm not totally clear on the historical accuracy, and I don't think Waters is either; my feeling is that she's done her best and she is a professional but not sweated it too hard. Anyway, on the all-important question of is it hot, my answer is yes. Super hot for literary fiction, by which I mean "books where the unhot stuff is also good"; pretty tame for erotic fiction.

There are strap-ons. And lots of oysters. And socialism! On the secondary question of is it good, my answer is hell yes: I was totally into this.

It takes place in the s as young Nan discovers she enjoys a good pair of pants; it tracks her through a number of misadventures involving pants. It's a bildungsroman. A lesbo Victorian bildungsroman. It's the lesbo Victorian bildungsroman we deserve. If this is the best Google can do for literary smut, it's quite good enough for me.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Kitty was still as captivating and self centred as I remembered, and I still loved her for it.

She knows Nan is utter devoted and besotted and plays I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. She knows Nan is utter devoted and besotted and plays her like a fiddle. Nan is naive, new to the bright lights of music halls and love.

As the novel progresses we see Nan go from mooning, heartbroken girl to male prostitute yes, really to music hall marvel, with an acceptance of herself. Is it a classic piece of literature?

Well, that depends on what you'd call 'classic', but it's well written, well researched about music hall life and great fun - although the pace is slow at the beginning. A friend once told me she doesn't like historical lesfic because the sex is so underwhelming and I agree.

Until I read this book. Unabashed eroticism in a period of prudishness and high morality.

In the context of modern lesfic, this book isn't much more erotic than our usual diet of lesfic romances. But perhaps the idea of same sex relationships, and some of the more risque situations and uhm I do wonder though, how they missed the masterful writing, the attention to detail, the amazing characterizations, and all the other little things that elevate this book to a classic.

It is a lush and sensous tale about a young woman's coming-of-age and coming-out. We get to see another side of Victorian-era London that we rarely read about, populated by mashers, toms, renters, mary-annes, tarts, translatio: The book is a feast for the senses.

The sights, sounds and smells of places like the oyster parlors in Whistable, the rowdy halls in Canterbury and West End, the dank london back alleys, the dreary working-class neighborhoods--all are so vividly illustrated we are instantly transported there. All the characters are so well drawn, most especially the main character Nan.

Love her or hate her, it's impossible not to feel for her. There is a long stretch in the book where Nan descends into a self-pitying and self-absorbed mess, and buries herself in the hedonistic pleasures provided by the rich and idle.

I considered not finishing the book at this point, but the excellent writing and the promise of better things to come I peeked at reviews ; kept me reading. And what a reward it was. View all 5 comments. When you lose one sweetheart, you can't just go out and get another to replace her.

I will never forget this heartbreaking love story! Grrrr, that ending!

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Tipping the Velvet is the fourth Sarah Waters book I have read. Fingersmith and the The Paying Guests being ones I have particularly enjoyed.

This book, as to be expected in a first novel does have some creaky bits, however Waters passion for research is on full display. Packed full of details on dance halls, lesbian subcultures, socialism, class and other more salacious details about life on the streets of Victorian London. As titillating as it sets out to Grrrr, that ending! As titillating as it sets out to be I found it a little dull, particularly the last third. Generally I would conclude from this book I am not a romance reader as I found myself doing a lot of eye-rolling at all the rapidly beating hearts and sweaty palms of the first section.

Much later in the story I think I was wishing for the innocent hand-holding sections back again. Another problem preventing my full enjoyment was I really did not like the main character of Nan King. It is entirely possible we were not suppose to like her as she is vain, selfish, and preening by turns and seemed to cast her affections wildly about the place in ways I didn't quite understand. However, as the book is almost entirely her story it became tiresome to read about her so constantly.

I felt particularly sorry for all the people she cast aside at various points in her "journey of self-discovery". I suspect the ending was set up to right all these wrongs but the way this was engineered was so ridiculous that I was pretty happy when I could finally be rid of Nan King and her adventures.

A good read for Sarah Waters completists but not for the faint of heart ; View all 3 comments. Jul 03, Vanessa rated it liked it Shelves: BookRiot Read Harder Challenge A book with a cover you hate Why does my cover have stripper poles?

What does this even have to do with the story? Why is it the ONE time everyone at work wanted to know what I was reading, it was when I was carrying this around? In the closing decade of the 19th century, a young woman named Nancy, who until then had lead a happy but unexceptional life working at her family's seafood restaurant in Kent, goes to the theatre one night, sees a female singer BookRiot Read Harder Challenge In the closing decade of the 19th century, a young woman named Nancy, who until then had lead a happy but unexceptional life working at her family's seafood restaurant in Kent, goes to the theatre one night, sees a female singer dressed in men's clothes, and it ends up profoundly changing her life.

How you gonna keep them down on the oyster farm once they've seen a drag king? This was Waters' debut novel, and she's certainly qualified to tell the story--her PhD was on the subject of gay life and pornography in Victorian England it's where she found the title phrase, Victorian slang for You also might glance at the description and then start reading the book and think there isn't enough story here to last nearly pages, as I did.

But you'd be wrong. This story careens off in all kinds of directions and is thick with the atmosphere of fin de siecle London. You'll learn a lot about the lives of 19th century lesbians of varying classes, in an age where class was paramount in shielding you from scorn and worse for violating prevailing social mores. Also, if you have an annual quota for literary strap-on references, look no further. The story does have a few graphic sex scenes, something I can at times be less than thrilled about, but they are well-written and important to the plot so I didn't have a problem with them and unlike a lot of sex in literary fiction, the writing didn't devolve into a fetishistic fascination with bodily functions.

I also have to mention that at one point the characters go to a lesbian bar--I know Waters did her research but holy cow, that was still surprising--called The Man in the Boat. I cannot stop laughing at that name, because evidently I'm still I did like this and Waters writes well. I didn't love it though, I think mainly because I just didn't connect with many of the characters.

I was interested in Nancy and I admired how Waters wasn't afraid to make her unlikeable at turns.

Zena the maid and Nancy's dad were my other favorites. The rest of the cast just didn't really spring to life and I can't really place just why that is. I also found the ending, where in the course of one afternoon Nancy separately encounters everyone from her romantic past, kind of far-fetched.

It did honestly ruin the story a bit for me to end on such an unrealistic, sappy note. Still, this was enjoyable and I'd read Sarah Waters again. This was her first novel, after all. Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog! It's about finding out who you really are and being comfortable in your own skin and about overcoming heartache and finding love again.

That was me. When Kitty throws a flower to Nancy in the crowd the two finally meet afterwards and a friendship is cultivated that slowly becomes much much more. The story continues to develop and as time progresses the two become even closer and eventually become lovers as the two eventually team up together on stage. When we sang, it was really she who sang, while I provided a light, easy second.

When we danced, it was she who did the tricky steps: I only strolled or shuffled at her side. I was her foil, her echo; I was the shadow which, in all her brilliance, she cast across the stage. But, like a shadow, I lent her the edge, the depth, the crucial definition, that she lacked before.

The writing was honest, the characters were vibrant, and I loved each and every page. Sarah Waters is an absolutely gorgeous writer. Her words will intrigue you, they will astound you, and you won't be able to get them out of your head. View all 10 comments.

Feb 12, Paul Bryant rated it liked it Shelves: So this is a tour of lesbian London, s-style. There is love, there is heartbreak, there are songs, laughter and dildos. I have read some reviews which have lavished praise over TTV because of its saucy sex scenes.

But these reviewers can not have rented the movie Blue is the Warmest Colour , or spent the idlest 20 seconds googling. TTV is quite saucy, but society has moved right ahead with lesbian erotica in the 20 years since it was published. But still, the ins and outs ha of this long Sapphic peregrination with its nervewracking Nancy, conflicted Kitty, dreadful Diana and Fabian Florence hardly ever flags.The business that my father did between autumn and spring, though excellent enough, was not so good that he could afford to shut his shop throughout the summer and take a holiday; but, like many Whitstable families whose fortunes depended upon the sea and its bounty, there was a noticeable easing of our labours in the warmer months, a kind of shifting into a slower, looser, gayer key.

The bed, for all its rankness, seemed at that moment wonderfully inviting. Gender masquerade and reaction to it permeates the novel. They attempt to prove their point with Diana's maid Zena, but Nan prevents this humiliation, which precipitates her final rift with Diana. This, however, doesn't mean that in this book women go around doing whatever they please. For shame, I know. And when, in , the novel was adapted by Andrew Davies for the BBC, the story was sold to viewers, and promoted by tabloid newspapers, largely on its titillation value.

Welcome back. Historical Fiction Set in the late 's, in stuffy Victorian England Now I think she needs nothing so much as a good kick up the arse.