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Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels (1986)
#1
Sad 
In my opinion, this book was just awful.

From the back cover...

In her quaint vintage clothing boutique in picturesque Georgetown, Karen Nevitt's laces and white linens seem so innocent. Her aunt's aged friends have even ransacked their attics to help the novice entrepreneur launch her business. The dresses they produce are exquisite - valuable designer originals from decades past-but unwittingly Karen has discovered something far more lethal thant fasion trends. Concealed by the delicate fabrics is the hidden clue to a forgotten mystery, and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

I read up to page 111 (out of 304 total) and had to stop. The first 111 pages were BORING. The only sinister thing that happened was that someone stole a rolls royce and some book about Georgetown murders showed up. Oh, and there's an ugly dog. Whatever.

The author did a lot of research about vintage clothing and opening a store. I felt like the book was more of a "how-to" than a gothic novel. The characters were pretty one-dimensional, very little happens, and, after a promising start, the main character just drifted. I skipped to see if this thing ever picked up and I guess there is a murder woven into the storyline, but I think it was sort of thrown in.

What a waste of time. I did learn that "shattered silk" is a real term about a silk garment falling apart. The title was the most exciting part of the book.

Definitely an F.
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#2
I read this when it was first published, as I had been following Barbara Michaels for years. I don't remember much about it other than I did not like it. I think it was ostensibly a sequel to Ammie, Come Home (maybe just some related characters). Michaels was at her best when she was dealing with a poignant ghost story, but that amounts to only a handful from her prolific output.

I re-read Sons of the Wolf recently and was bored to tears as well. No suspense, the gothic elements were underplayed, and very little evidence of historical authenticity worked into the narrative. I think of some of her early titles very fondly, but then I was a young teenager when I read them. I guess that old agage is true that you can't go home again.
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