Thursday, March 24, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: A Silken Thread by Brenda Jackson

Harlequin Kimani March 2011

368 pages by Brenda Jackson


For Erica Sanders, finding a soul mate was the easy part. Brian Lawson is the man she wants, and everyone agrees they’re the ideal couple. Almost everyone. The one exception is Erica’s mother, Karen, who prefers her daughter marry another man. Karen even hires a private detective to investigate Brian, but the truth he uncovers is the last thing she expected—a devastating betrayal that rips both families apart.

Convinced that her relationship can’t be salvaged, Erica ends her engagement. Yet she has lingering doubts over her decision, especially once Brian’s attractive single neighbor starts pursuing him. A chance meeting proves that the passion between Brian and Erica hasn’t dimmed—but neither has the determination of others to keep them apart, or the shocking lengths Karen will go to in order to undermine her daughter’s relationship.

As secrets old and new are revealed, Erica and Brian find themselves caught between the bonds of the past and an uncertain future, each making painful discoveries about who to believe and trust. Masterfully told and laced with the sensuality and drama that Brenda Jackson does best, this is an unforgettable story of relationships at their most complex, and how hard it can be to choose between living separate lives—or holding fast when love hangs by a silken thread…


I have never read Brenda Jackson before, though I certainly have seen her books on the shelves, so this was a real treat for me.

This lush read was very much like a 21st century version of Peyton Place. A small town in Ohio, steep in tradition and bloodlines, and the people that populate it have been there generations, the roots run deep. Status is everything, especially for Karen Saunders.
Her daughter Erica is going against her expressed wishes of marrying into the other prominent family in Hattersville, the Hayes'. Erica is in love with Brian Lawson, and is engaged to the successful lawyer. Not good enough for Karen. She wants her daughter to marry Griffin Hayes.

Karen is a status seeking, well dressed Cruella Da Ville. Cold, unfeeling and manipulative, Karen makes for one hell of a villianess here. Her oppressive presence is felt by all, and she never misses an opportunity to manipulate her family and others like puppets.

Opportunity knocks when she finds out her husband Wilson is having an affair with Brian's widowed mother, Rita. Never mind her marriage with Wilson has been a cold, barren wasteland for decades, that she kicked him out of her bed ages ago. And that Wilson had been lonely all this time, never knowing what love was like. Just shy of his 60th birthday, he finds it with Rita.

How wonderful to read of a late middle-aged romance here, it was well done on all levels. Karen plays the victim card to the hilt, using fainting and a weak heart to manipulate her daughter into postponing her wedding. The ripple effects of her lies and meddling fuel the plot, the characters held together by that 'silken thread'.

Her daughter Erica is easily fooled, as are the other women in this story, that is only my real beef with this. The women bought the lies, which to me made them seem weak. Karen steps up her lies and interferences with the help of a toadie cousin. Lives are blown apart as that silken thread snaps, and it takes the men in this story, to set things right. Big revelations and deeply hidden secrets are exposed at the end of the book.

A little over the top in some places, some of Karen's antics are beyond the pale, but nonetheless entertaining. The romances of the various couples sizzled, and was very real. This was a juicy, romantic soap opera read. Peyton Place for the 21st century.

3.25 out of 4 for the book

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