Advance reader reviews of The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe.

The House of Velvet and Glass

A Novel

By Katherine Howe

The House of Velvet and Glass
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2012,
    432 pages.

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There are currently 22 member reviews
for The House of Velvet and Glass
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  • Joanne V. (Towanda, PA)

    I really wanted to love this book, but....
    It starts very slowly and there are three plots with good descriptions in each. The three stories come come together eventually, but I just wasn't satisfied with the book as a whole. It simply wasn't a real page turner and it took a long time (for me) to finish. The didn't think the characters were that well developed or maybe I just didn't care about them in the end. When I finished the book, I wondered what I was missing, particularly since I read reviews of her other books. I don't think my book group would be very enthusiastic about it either, but maybe I am missing something.
  • Marlene H. (Duluth, GA)

    There's a certain magic in this tale after the leisurely start
    The story gets off to a slow start, fitting to the leisurely pace of life just before WWI in upper-crust Boston.
    But once it gets going, it really gets going!
    The three threads, 1915 present, the last night of the Titanic and Lan's shipping days, at first seem disparate, but by the end, they come together, and the reader realizes they were all necessary for the story to be complete.
    And heartbreaking.
  • Karen (Arizona)

    History and Imagination
    The House of Velvet and Glass - which alternates between late 19th century China and 20th century Boston in the years during and just after the Titanic disaster - is detailed as a Henry James novel. Readers who appreciate a leisurely pace will enjoy various aspects of the period, from art nouveau furnishings to social mores of the elite, though some may find that the main conflict takes a long while to surface. Characters range from raffish to cultured, and the most complex among them include the main protagonist, Sybil. Recommended for the unusual take on grief and its effect on family relationships, and for the deeper aspects, which include some of the views of the time that are now regarded as unpleasant (such as Orientalism/exoticizing) or curious (such as séances.)
  • Deanna W. (Port Jefferson, NY)

    3 plots...1 novel
    1868 Shanghai ...
    April 12, 1912 Titanic ...
    1915-17 Boston ...
    Each plot had the potential to be a engaging novel. However, taken as a whole, this novel left me unsatisfied.
  • Sandra L. (Delray Beach, FL)

    The House of Velvet and Glass
    I enjoyed this book very much. Loved the images Ms Howe's words painted of pre WWI Boston, old Shanghai and the Titanic. This is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the book is timely. It tied in well with my recent reading of "The Technologist" by Matthew Pearl.
  • Judy B. (Cedar Falls, IA)

    I couldn't wait for the next cliff hanger to resolve itself. The characters, complex, and enjoyable kept me turning pages to know more about them. Historical details made the novel feel like nonfiction.
  • Kristen H. (Hagerstown, MD)

    The House of Velvet and Glass
    I enjoyed reading this book by Katherine Howe. The characters in the book are described very well. As I have read in her first novel, The Physick book of Deliverance Dane, she ties in the lives of the characters extremely well. Once again, this author has written a great historical novel and I would recommend this book for book clubs or anyone that would enjoy a great historical read.
    I am glad that I was able to read this first impression book, thank you for the opportunity.
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