Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters, is a Victorian romance with a twist – rather than the classic tale of the man and woman who fall madly in love, the main character, Nancy, loves other women. The novel follows Nancy from age 18 as she falls in love with a music hall singer, plays in the music halls herself, works the streets as a rent “boy” (male prostitute, for men), becomes a kept woman for another woman, and finally finds true love. The writing and story are very engaging, but I can’t really pinpoint why. It is mostly linear, and there is no clear destination for the story: we just hear about one adventure after another. However, this is a subtle arc – Nancy gradually matures and there are a few well-placed instances of foreshadowing. The ending pulls the threads of the story together in a most satisfying manner. The story is at times sensual and at times sordid, but in the end most enjoyable. I look forward to reading more by Sarah Waters.