There was the awkwardness of explaining the rather risque title. There was the fact that I outed myself the moment I began to reveal the plot. And then there was the plot itself — because, oh dear, how lurid it sounded, how improbable, above all how niche, the tale of a Victorian oyster girl who loses her heart to a male impersonator, becomes her partner in bed and on the music hall stage, and then, cruelly abandoned, has a spell as a cross-dressed Piccadilly prostitute and the sexual plaything of a rich older woman before finding true love and redemption with an East End socialist. I had hoped that lesbians might like it — and was thrilled when, very quickly, helped along by word of mouth, Tipping the Velvet began to find enthusiastic gay fans. But the success of the novel among straighter readers took me by surprise.
Tipping the Velvet is a historical fiction novel written by Sarah Waters, and published in I chose to review the three-episode film adaptation released in The story takes place in Victorian England during the s and follows the life of Nan Astley as she starts to recognize her sexuality. She falls madly in love with a woman named Kitty Butler who poses as a man in theatre. They develop a close and fun love that goes sour. Nan is shattered, leaves their apartment and tries to make a life of her own.
‘It was an electric time to be gay’: Sarah Waters on 20 years of Tipping the Velvet
Tipping the Velvet is a historical novel by Sarah Waters ; it is her debut novel. Set in England during the s, it tells a coming of age story about a young woman named Nan who falls in love with a male impersonator , follows her to London, and finds various ways to support herself as she journeys through the city. The picaresque plot elements have prompted scholars and reviewers to compare it to similar British urban adventure stories written by Charles Dickens and Daniel Defoe.