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  • Silk
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars68
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 January 2009
I really enjoyed this book, I love sagas that are based on a family going on over the years. The story is easy to follow but absorbing I just wanted to stay at home and read all day. I liked the main character thought she was real and believable. The silk talk added to the background of the novel, which makes it more real.
I cant wait for the next one to be published!
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VINE VOICEon 20 September 2009
This book is modelled on those great family sagas of the seventies and eighties that your mum always used to take on holiday - and nothing wrong with that. The influence of Susan Howatch and Rosamund Pilcher is clear here; a line which actually stretches back to the Victorians, really. However, it's the start of a trilogy, apparently, and I certainly would be happy to read the sequels.

Penny Jordan has an accuracy to her characterisation that shows how deeply she has considered the position of men and women in high society in the thirties. She doesn't just pepper the story will well-known names (though she does that, too), but she takes the reader into the mindset that period fostered.

Amber makes a good pivot for the story to revolve round. At first I thought she was rather wet and inactive, then began to realise that this portrayal showed the woman as a product of her upbringing. Then came the realisation that a lot of popular writers make their herione's the exception, where here Amber is not. She thinks like a woman brought up to know her place both as a woman, and as a commoner mixing with the aristocracy.

For the modern reader this can be unnerving and annoying, you want her to act more strongly and not so emotionally and "weakly". Gradually the reader's affection for her grows out of her character of woman and mother, coming to terms with her own needs and those of others connected to her.

Robert is a good foil for her, and Penny Jordan's exploration of his character is perceptive and realistic. Certainly, she explores aspects of a 1930s "lavender" marriage which is most unusual in fiction.

She baulks at the usual choices of an author of popular fiction when it comes to working on her characters. They are complex psychologically and she is not afraid of portraying very dark, but deeply human motivations.

My main criticism is of some of Penny Jordan's sex scenes which can read more like a general guide to how to do it, rather than an honest portrayal of erotic experience. Sometimes she just comes on too strong. Less clinical detail, more emotion I think would help. Although Amber's early scenes with Jean-Pierre are excellently written.

However, it's a holiday read or an excuse for a wallow in an excellent story. Ideal material for a TV film, and I hope the sequels are as much fun to read.

© Martin J Saxton 2009
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on 18 July 2008
I bought this book in a rush when I was looking for something to read on the train home. I saw the cover, saw the title, and for some reason thought that it was the book on which the film Silk was based, which is apparently very good.

I was wrong. I realised fairly swiftly (by the third page) that Silk was a) not the same book, and b) one small step up from a romance novel - in fact, the author, Penny Jordan, is known for her romance writing for Mills & Boon; and romance novels have never been my cup of tea.

That said, I decided to give it a chance, and read the whole book. To give Jordan credit, she has clearly done her research, and done it well, both on the time period she's set the book in (the 1930s), and on key aspects of the book like the silk trade and high society: though I disliked the use of real people from the era, such as Diana Guinness and Brian Howard, as characters in the book. I have never been a fan of authors blurring the lines between fact and fiction in this way.

The story is reasonable, though again it is only one step up from a romance novel; it's let down quite heavily by the ending, which is a bit of a cop out. Ditto with the characters, with the exception of Robert.

Pick this up if you're a fan of romance novels, looking for something slightly heavier. If you dislike romance novels, steer clear.
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on 19 September 2011
I must confess that I bought Silk on the sole basis that it was really cheap in the Kindle store!

I really enjoyed the book and thought the heroine, Amber, was really well written; her character was consistent all the way through and she was really easy to identify with. I also liked how the plot corresponded with historic events and kept the Silk factory as the one constant throughout the book.

I wouldn't consider myself a "prude" but the one thing I wasn't too keen on however was how explicit some of the sexual scenes were - to be fair, I can think of only two that were really highly explicit, but I felt it was really unnecessary and dectracted a little from how good an author Penny Jordan is.

Finally, I was also a little disappointed with the layout of the Kindle edition - the change in scenes that would usually have been marked with a break in text were missed, with the text flowing as if it was simply a new paragraph, and I found the use of locations rather than pages a bit confusing and frustrating at times too!

All in all though I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely consider the sequels.
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on 17 July 2008
I bought this book on a whim to be honest and didnt give it much thought at first. However, I couldnt put the book down. what started off as a book that i thought was going to be slow moving turned out to be a book with drama, passion and toward the end i couldnt help crying- i was gripped by the emotion i felt from Penny Jordan's writing. I felt that some of the book that linked the main character (Amber) to 'silk' was a bit boring. the business of the mill and the store that 'Amber' opened up in london was obviously what the character's heart was in...sadly it wasnt mine and the lack of interest left me skimming a few pages. of course there was much more to this book than the mill, there were affairs, parties with the King as well as the upper class members of society, holidays to france, Berlin...these things all created a back drop to the lives of the characters. not all things were as fantastic as their lifestyle appeared. The characters had many choices to make due to the way society was and to please their family for the sake of their reputation. Something that one can easily reflect in their own lives of todays society and family........i will definitly want to read the sequel.
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on 20 September 2012
Featuring a family whose connections are with both the aristocracy and the silk trade, the plot immediately calls to mind that of Penny Vincenzi's Lytton family series; which mixes the socially privileged with the academically gifted members of the family and their roles within the early publishing industry. Initially expecting a rip off of that most excellent trilogy, I was pleasantly surprised to find an absorbing and original plot line despite the initial similarities. The heroine; Amber, is rather Evelina-esque, though far more sympathetic that Frances Burney's original character. A thoroughly enjoyable story, its readers will find this plot as smooth as the silk it is named for as it combines glamour, intrigue, social etiquette and court presentations into a glittering gem of a read.
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on 23 June 2008
After rave reviews (on the back of the book!) and placement in best seller lists I decided to give this a go.

It really wasn't my type of novel. The concept/story on the blurb really appealed but the writing sadly didn't grip me. It was all a bit too airy-fairy and fluffy for me, edging towards Mills and Boon.

I am sure Penny Jordan is a fabulous authoress and the book has clearly sold and been promoted very well but I think I will be steering clear in the future.
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on 13 September 2011
This book is difficult to read because it often jumps from one character or incident to another without warning. This is an editing issue and could be avoided by page breaks or double spacing or a row of dashes.
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on 22 June 2012
I enjoyed this tale which kept me reading and not wanting to stop BUT the layout in the Kindle edition was strange to say the least. It suddenly jumped from one scene to another with no break in text or chapter change. The first time it happened I thought the pages were in the wrong order so abrupt was the change of scene. This continued throughout the book and although I got used to it eventually, it wasn't that easy to revert to a previous episode with different characters, that quickly.
I am looking forward to Sins which is the continuation of the story and I have already downloaded it but I do hope the format is better.
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on 23 October 2013
A bit of a disappointment, unfortunately! The 'blurb' leads you to suppose the novel is going to be about textiles, silk, the people who work with it, design, art and craft....but this is really only the backdrop to a chick-lit story, full of name-dropping and aristocrats being irresponsible in the South of France and Belgravia. It's set during the inter-war years, and some of the references to the Cliveden Set flirting with Nazism are quite interesting, but the title sets up rather different expectations. Not a bad read, but I wouldn't recommend it all that highly.
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