Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels gives us an intriguing glimpse into the world of vintage clothing, and the fascinating stories associated with those objects.
Karen Nevitt, recently dumped by her husband, moves back to her old hometown. Overweight and lacking in confidence, the downbeat Karen spends her time working in an antiques store, while trying to avoid contact with her old friends and boyfriend, all of whom seem to have a better life than she. Working in the store, she learns the business, and falls in love with the notion of owning her own store, specializing in vintage clothing. With the help of her new friend and business partner Cheryl, Karen sets off to reinvent her life. There are many older citizens in this town, and most are happy to have Karen rummage through their attics, looking for items she can refurbish, and sell in her store.
But Karen has unknowingly bought something that conceals a secret. A secret that someone desperately wants to keep buried. Now Karen's life is being turned upside down with a series of terrifying events. It soon becomes clear that the unknown assailant will stop at nothing - even murder - to get the item back, before the concealed secret is discovered.
What did I like?
I liked the rather loony cast of characters in this book. The rich, snooty young ladies in town. The old ladies, all of whom are slightly off their rockers. The very "colorful" co-worker in the antiques shop. The neighbor who seems to always be "keeping an eye" on Karen. All of the characters are just a bit odd, and provide a large and interesting pool of potential suspects.
I liked that just like Karen, we have no clue which acquisition is the one being sought. And we certainly don't know why. Like Karen, we get to go through the items one by one, trying to figure it all out. Along the way, we're treated to many lessons about vintage clothing - learning about the fabrics, the workmanship, and the restoration process.
I really liked the fact that Karen grows considerably throughout the course of the book. She starts out meek, with no self-esteem, afraid of her own shadow. We get to watch her develop a backbone as she learns to speak up for herself and take control of her life.
What didn't I like?
I only have a couple criticisms with this book, and they are minor.
The first is the ridiculously quick friendship that develops between Karen and Cheryl. They meet one day, and the next thing we know, they're business partners and living together, acting like they've been best friends for decades. Given all that's going on in Karen's life right now, you wouldn't think she'd develop trust that quickly.
The second criticism has to do with the ending. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that it was disappointing. The "secret", itself, was interesting, but the way it is finally divulged is a bit unrealistic and left me feeling just a bit unsatisfied.
Overall, this is a pretty good book. With a fascinating glimpse into the world of vintage clothing, interwoven with an intriguing mystery, and some interesting characters, this book was certainly enjoyable. The sequel, "Stitches In Time" is definitely going on my list.
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