The House of Velvet and Glass
by Katherine Howe
What is it about:
Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal-plagued brother in an elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sibyl flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium.
But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Derby, despite the unspoken tensions of their shared past. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long-simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass.
What did I think of it:
I will confess I picked this book up because it had to do with the Titanic.
Although the Titanic and it's sinking do play a part in this story they're just a small part though.
But I can't say I minded.
I loved this book. It's well written and engaging. Howe does a great job in setting a mood that fits the time periods in which this story takes place. The story switches between several people and back and forth in time. Following Sibyl, her brother, her father when he was a young man and there are even a few scenes set on the Titanic.
I really liked Sibyl. She's a character you can feel for and even when she lost her way I kept rooting for her. But I'll have to confess that her father was my favorite character. He's an interesting figure from the start and with every bit of extra information about him he grows more and more complex and intriguing.
The story is compelling, emotionally tense and filled with mystery. I had thought the story would mainly be about debunking mediums and about spirituality, but this story is about so much more. It's deeply philosophical without being pretentious about it. Instead Howe manages to deliver a beautiful story that gripped me and that stayed in my head long after I finished the book.
I will certainly pick up other books by Howe when I get the chance.
Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful story set in the early 20th century