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24 December 2015

Tipping the Velvet
Sarah Waters
Publication Date
historical romance

Description (from Amazon)

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'.

My thoughts

I loved this book! And it affirmed my love for Sarah Waters. This was the second book of hers I bought. My first one was Fingersmith which was an impulse buy in a book shop, and as I loved this book, I then looked for more of Sarah Waters and was not disappointed. 

Tipping the Velvet is a historical romance book and the story of a lesbian self-discovery, telling the story of Nancy 'Nan' Astley aka Nancy King and set mainly in London's East End during Victorian times. 

Nancy lives with her family of sell Oysters in their restaurant in Herne Bay, and can't imagine nothing else but to eventually marry her boyfriend and live as an oyster girl in Kent. But then she visits the the local theatre and sees Kitty Butler, a male impersonator, and though she doesn't know it initially, falls in love. She joins Kitty and stage and the two become not only a double act but also lovers. But there is no happy end in this relationship. But Nan is a survivor, and she will have many more adventures and loves to live in Victorian London.

I loved reading Nan's story, and how she makes her way. I also found the descriptions of London and life at the time fascinating. From the theatre scene to 'lady's club' to rent boys to political activists, all packed into this page turner. 

Yes, there are some lesbian love scenes, but they are by no means explicit, but very tasteful (pardon the pun). The developing romance(s) for Nan are like any other romances really told often before, from madly in love, being hurt, and finally finding a soul mate, and all this in prude Victorian London!

3 December 2015

Bad Billy
Jimmy Pudge
Burning Man Productions
Publication Date
September 2011
Horror, crime, psychological


Bad Billy has spent his entire life in Mama's basement. When the chains break free and he escapes into the world, he must learn the difference between being a monster and a human being.

It's going to be a bloody education.

My thoughts

At only 64 pages, I was happy to give this a try. And I don't mind a bit of blood and gore ever now and again. And you are certainly going to get this here.

Bad Billy is the evil product / spawn of an incestuous relationship. And there is always a story behind the evil. Not only are Bad Billy's parents siblings, they are also suffering from various degrees of mental and physical disabilities. Not being 'bad' people themselves, they can't cope with whats before them. Billy probably just wants to be loved, but after being chained up in the basement and fed only roadkill for all his childhood and adolescence, there is not much human feelings left in Billy.

This short book is about 30% of backstory, and the rest is action - what does Billy actually do when he escapes. Don't try to analyse it too deeply and look for extensive psychological backgrounds. This would not be possible within this short book, and is not the aim of the author I would think. Just simply see it as a feast of horror and human evil. is the whole story a bit over the top? Yes, maybe, but it also makes weirdly addictive reading.