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Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels (1993)
Barbara Michaels is a very uneven writer in my opinion. The same book can have great elements and then the most schmaltzy stuff. But I really enjoyed Houses of Stone and I have to give it an A-.

English professor Karen Holloway is an expert in Gothic literature. She finds a "lost masterpiece" of a 19th century writer named Ismene. The book is written in the Gothic tradition, but the author is a mystery. Karen tries to unmask the writer, but finds herself in the middle of a ghost story from old Virginia.

Here's the good stuff....

1. First and foremost, I learned A LOT about Gothic romance and literature. Karen Holloway is a professor and Michaels laces the story with a lot of information and literary analysis. This is really why I'm going as high as an A-.

2. Michaels is a feminist writer and she has a definite issue with how women writers have been overlooked by academia. She is a very strong advocate for their writing and it comes through in this book.

3. Great quotes in the beginning of each chapter.

4. The guy Karen falls for is the guy I wanted her to fall for.

5. Michaels writes some very eerie scenes. Great ghost writer.

What was bad....

1. Barbara Michaels should NOT write humor. Sometimes she tries to be funny, but the writing just seems corny to me.

2. There can be too much of a good thing. Sometimes the feminism is a little over the top, where she's hitting you over the head with her point. I get it okay!

3. Karen's adventures with her friends sometimes reminded me of a Nancy Drew caper where she had to hook up with her "chums."

4. The romance only really lasted about a page! Pah!

But the good way overshadowed the bad, and I would recommend this for sure.

Messages In This Thread
Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels (1993) - by Desdemona - 06-28-2008, 10:34 PM

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