"I feel like I've been repeating other people's speeches all my life. Now, when I want to make a speech, I hardly know how.""If you are fretting over how to tell me you are leaving-""I am fretting," I said, "over how to tell you how I love you; over how to say that you are the world to me."3.5 stars. This was my first foray into the writing of Sarah Waters. According to my friends, I have been missing out on some great lit. Now I'm no longer out of the loop!Tipping the Velvet follows a young lady named Nan over the course of several years. We start with the early stirrings of her new found sexuality as she finds herself gazing adoringly upon a young female performer dressed in male clothing. The story continues throughout the various changes in her life which force her to take a long internal look at not only how she views the world around her, but also at how she views herself.This is my first experience with historical lit that subtly invokes moments which remind me of an artistic erotic painting - sensual, moving, yet not completely garish. The story of Nan is about more than just who she chooses to love. The sexual moments are merely one small part of a girl who is on the road to her own self-discovery. The writing was absolutely beautiful. I loved Ms. Waters' descriptions of the setting, the clothing, and the characters. Little details were captured vividly in my head - even such insignificant things as when Kitty went to kiss Nan's hand and Nan drew it back out of fear that her hands would smell like the oyster liquor which came from her time of working at her parent's seafood house. The way that it was described almost made Nan even that much more charming - as if she were different in her own very special way by having an uncommon occupation.One thing that I love to read about in books is when the story comes full circle. Every event in Nan's life shapes who she is in the next moment. Every event ties to the previous. I often talk about moments in time - this is a glimpse into the life of a girl who shared several rare moments with several rare and original personality types. This is part of what made the story special.If you're looking for a traditional romance story, this will not be the book for you. However, if you're looking for a story about a character finding oneself, you might enjoy the journey of Nan King.