Friday, July 25, 2008

Silk by Penny Jordan

Silk is the first in a proposed trilogy following the life of Amber, the daughter of a Russian artist and the granddaughter of Blanche Pickford. Set in the early 1900's, this magnificent story reveals the loves and losses of this young debutante, whose sole desire in life was to emulate the openness and love-filled marriage of her parents, but who, because of their untimely death, must instead succumb to the aspirations of her formidable grandmother, Blanche.
As a young girl, Amber is daunted by London society and the haughty airs and graces of its aristocracy, but when fate sends her Lord Robert, she finally feels that she might be able to make her way in this lofty world. An old school friend, Beth, rescues her from a potentially embarrassing and unfulfilling coming-out and their friendship continues to grow to the extent that Amber finds herself first in Paris and then in the South of France on a lavish holiday with Beth's aristocratic family. There, she meets and falls in love with the artist, Jean-Phillipe... but their illicit love affair is pulled up short when Lord Robert indicates to Amber what manner of man Jean-Phillipe really is. Pregnant and desperate, Amber readily agrees to a sexless marriage with a man that may respect her, but can never love her. Throughout everything, we are heart achingly aware of a Jay's unwavering love for Amber that is recognised too late.
Both an immensely penetrating and deeply moving love story and a history of a bygone era in British history, Silk is a powerful tale of intrigue, lust, drug addiction and the intensely private lives of the British aristocracy during a pivotal period. Jordan conjures up the brooding, salacious and delicious detail of a live that many of us could only dream of - palatial homes, decadent living, balls and parties, and through it all, a love of a fabric that manages to weave its way effortlessly through the story.
Hugely enjoyable, at times a little awkward and stilting, but always managing to capture your heart - this is a glorious read and one that is recommended to every romanticist out there.
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