Shattered Silk tells the tale of a woman regaining her self esteem after a very bad marriage. There is also a little bit of mystery and a very tiny pinch of romance in the book. As a matter of fact, the romance is so subtle, if you blink while you are reading, you might miss it. I felt a little bit cheated in the romance department, but wonderful characters and the depiction of the growth of the heroine from a woman who blames herself for everything, to a woman who finally likes herself is what kept me turning the pages.
Karen Nevitt was married to Jack, a professor and very important man – just ask him. Karen served as her husband’s unpaid researcher and secretary for ten years, until he left her for a young trophy wife.
Karen takes refuge with her Aunt Ruth and Uncle Pat who offer her the use of their house while they are gone on an expedition. Ruth also offers Karen the old clothing in her attic and Pat arranges for his mother (who had been a famous beauty) to give Karen her old clothing.
Karen finds herself in possession of a treasure indeed. Victorian and Edwardian whites, delicate laces and accessories and dresses by Poiret, Lanvin, Vionnet, Fortuny and other designers. Dresses that many museums would love to have in their collections. Karen (who is an excellent seamstress) realizes that she has the nucleus of an inventory for a vintage clothing shop and takes a job at an antique store run by an old acquaintance from college who allows Karen to sell some of her clothing on consignment while she learns the retail business.
Kenren soon runs into Mark Brinckley, an old lover of hers from college. Karen married Jack instead of Mark and now sees how much better Mark is as a man. She also meets Mark’s widowed sister Cheryl who becomes a good friend and partner in her fledgling business.
The mystery occurs when there are several break-ins at Ruth and Pat’s where Karen is staying. Whoever is breaking in is going through Karen’s clothing, but nothing is taken. It’s obvious that someone is looking for something in the clothing, but what do they want, and who is doing this?
The solution to the mystery was not that satisfying. By the time we found out whodunit, the character had been absent for long enough that I had to go back and refresh my memory as to just who this was.
But I loved Karen and Cheryl and the growth of their friendship. Karen had truly been as downtrodden a woman as she could be. Her husband had used her up and then cast her aside and Karen, poor dear, had been blaming herself. It was a joy to see how she blossomed under the friendship of Aunt Ruth, Uncle Pat and Cheryl and re-discovered the funny and talented woman she had been before Jack had gotten his fangs into her. Karen also rediscovers the relationship she had had years ago with Mark. I only wish Mark had been better developed – he remained a bit of a shadowy character.
There is a lot of information about great designers and vintage clothing scattered throughout the book, but you never feel like you are listening to a lecture. Read Shattered Silk if you would like to read the story of a woman who rediscovers herself with a bit of a mystery tossed in for good measure.