Monday, November 8, 2010

Barbara Michaels: Stitches in Time

As many of you know, Michaels (Barbara Mertz) is one of my favorite authors in the gothic romance genre. I hadn't read this novel, Stitches in Time, in 15 years-- since it came out and wanted to see what it was about and if I liked it as much this time around.

Rachel Grant is a graduate student slaving away to make ends meet in her friend Cheryl's antique fabrics shop. The only problem is that Rachel is in love with Cheryl's husband, a hunky cop named Tony. When a mysterious antique quilt shows up on the door step of the shop accompanied by a possibly dangerous murderer, things get interesting. Soon, Rachel finds the quilt interfering with her daily life in the form of memories of past lives and present treachery. This novel is one in the Georgetown set, and Pat and Ruth MacDougal, characters from Ammie, Come Home appear in this novel as well.

Characters 4/5 [Rachel falls a bit flat for me, but I like Adam as the hero-- a lot. He's different, not your average romantic lead male, and this is again one of the reasons I love Michaels' work. Adam is the type of guy you would find in a professoral/intellectual job in real life.

Plot 4/5: [I have read some of Michaels' real nail biters, and this isn't one of them. The novel has tons of fascinating stuff about quilting and myth as well as anthropology, but it drags a bit until a bit more than half way in.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements 3/5: [Honestly, not much. The quilt is a bit spooky, but a lot more could have been done here with the overshadowing, etc. It has its scary/creepy parts, but Michaels' has so many novels that really scare me.]

Literary elements 5/5: [As always, Michaels shines here with the information and analysis she manages to present about quilting, Wicca, possession, and female myth and history in this novel.]

Rating: 4 stars  ****

Fans of Michaels will enjoy this one as will anyone with an interest in antique clothing or quilting. Another interesting and perhaps attractive thing about this novel is its Christmas setting. It felt like I was reading it at nearly the right time of year. If you want a Christmas gothic romance read, check this one out. :)

I also like the cover of this novel with some of the quilt images and the photo of Michaels/Mertz wearing a filmy antique creation like one in the novel on the back cover. If you can find the hard back, it's worth tracking down to see front and back.


Joanne said...

Thanks for the review of Stitches in Time -- I'll read it closer to the Christmas holidays. I just purchased a large collection of about 20 Barbara Michaels novels from ebay, so I've been in gothic mystery heaven. Ammie, Come Home was a good one.

susied said...

Isn't this one somehow related to Shattered Silk? I remember wondering what that phrase meant, then read the book and understood. Years later I went to a vintage clothing auction and saw a real live version of a 'shattered silk' Victorian gown. It was a real shame!

lisalgreer said...

Hi, Susie... it is. :) I think those are the three in the trilogy... Stitches, Ammie and Shattered Silk. That's another one I'm going to revisit and review. It's been a while since I've read it.

Ah, and Kara is Karen from that novel I guess from looking at the goodreads info on Shattered Silk. Correct, readers? :) Kara is related to Sara from Ammie, and she's the lead character in Shattered Silk.

I'll have to go back and read that one again soon. It's just been 15+ years for these, so I can't remember it all.

Anonymous said...

Shattered Silk is the one that takes place probably 10 years before Stitches in Time. Love Barbara Michaels. One of my favorites of her early work is Master of Blacktower.

Ammie takes place 5-10 years before Shattered Silk. I love this author and her alter ego Elizabeth Peters.

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