Black Silk

Black Silk

2.6 22
by Judith Ivory

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As befitting her name, lovely Submit Channing-Downes was the proper, obedient wife of an aging Marquess--until her husband's death left her penniless and alone...with one final obligation to fulfill. Entrusted with delivering a small black box to its rightful owner, she calls upon Graham Wessit, the notorious Earl of Netham, whose


As befitting her name, lovely Submit Channing-Downes was the proper, obedient wife of an aging Marquess--until her husband's death left her penniless and alone...with one final obligation to fulfill. Entrusted with delivering a small black box to its rightful owner, she calls upon Graham Wessit, the notorious Earl of Netham, whose life has been marred by rumor and scandal. But Graham wants nothing to do w/ her gift. Fate however, has entwined these two lives in astonishing ways neither Submit nor Graham could ever imagine.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

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Chapter One

The truth is frequently ambiguous,
but it is still more dependable than a lie.
Henry Channing-Downes
Eleventh marquess of Motmarche
Aphorisms, number 23

April 1858

In the billiard room, the mantel clock ticked softly, its sound muted by the room's furnishings. Thick oriental carpeting. Dark paneled walls. The walls were hung with pastoral paintings, which were not terribly good but were terribly English -- dogs, horses, the hunt. On one wall, heavy damask drapes all but obliterated tall, narrow windows, the only view to the outside. These draperies were a deep emerald green, fringed and tied and tasseled in gold. The fringe and tassels, repeated at the pockets of a billiard table, were the only froufrou in the room. This room was one of several that made up Freyer's, a gentlemen's club on St. James's Street, and it was intrinsically what the newer clubs could only pretend to be-old, masculine, unrepentantly upper-class.

The gold in the fringe and tassels was the worn, dignified gold that spoke of generations. Just as the movements and mannerisms of the men in the room, their very diction, said each was the scion of a long line of progenitors, all of whom had walked these soft carpets, or carpets just like them, since the beginning of time -- or at least since the beginning of taste and decorum. It was the reassuring, upper-class English myth: tradition. The illusion of Wealth perpetual, past and present, as a way of warding off worries for the future. Nonetheless, Freyer's was the oldest and probably poshest of such gentlemen's clubs in London, and Graham Wessit belonged inthis club, at this billiard table, bending over it.

He stood well balanced on one foot, the other in the air. He was stretched out across the green felt, his belly flat, almost horizontal against the table's mahogany rail. His arm was extended more than halfway up the playing surface, in a long white shirtsleeve. (He'd taken his coat off two shots ago when the balls had broken badly and the betting had doubled to above eighty pounds.) His concentration ran down the length of his arm, down the line of his cue stick, past the loose crevice he'd made of his fingertips, to the pristine white of one small ivory ball. This awkward little object, the cue ball, sat smugly at a near-unreachable angle over a clutter of irrelevant, multicolored balls. But it also sat in direct line with a red ball Graham intended to bank and sink.

He was sliding the cue stick back and forth a fraction to feel the balance, taking a last measure against a mother-of-pearl inlay -- a sight -- on the table edge, when the clock began to strike.

Noon. Graham cocked his elbow. A far-off flurry of commotion distracted him for a moment. Out front in the reading room, someone had come in. Someone who was perhaps not a member. The butler handled such things. His voice could be heard. "Now see here --"

The mantel clock struck the third beat and then the fourth in a regular, dependable rhythm. Graham refocused and hit. The tip of his cue made a neat tap against the cue ball. The cue ball, in turn, hit the red, sending it against the cushion. This bright ball cut through a narrow strait, just missing three other balls, and began down the length of the table toward the pocket at Graham's hip. The clock was striking seven, eight, nine --

And the disturbance in the outer room grew loud enough to make Graham look up, frowning. Several voices were added to the butler's, among them a woman's. "I know 'e's bloody well 'ere!"

This incongruous sound circled in the outer room and rose in volume. It seemed to be going through the reading room, gathering force like a tornado. It clanged into a lamp. It opened and shut the door to the adjacent room. Graham had just registered that this storm was moving in his direction when the door to the billiard room, already ajar, burst back on its hinges, rapping the wall with its force -- the force of several people trying to enter at once. A young woman, a very pregnant young woman, clamored out of a confusion of men, all of whom were trying to contain her.

"Now see here, young lady --"

"This is no place --"

She squirmed free, amazingly agile. "You keep yer filthy 'ands --"

Voices overlapped. Where did one grab a pregnant woman? seemed to be the question of the hour. Tilney, the man beside Graham, tried to intervene. "Madam, there must be some misunderstand --"

"Ain't no bleedin' misunderstandin' If 'e ain't in this room, 'e's in another."

Ah, thought Graham, a lady come to fetch her old man. Or, no. Given her manners and speech, a businesswoman come to collect on a sidestepped fee, for she was no lady. She was barely a woman. Like a kitten sadly fat from her first heat, the little creature looked hardly more than sixteen.

For a moment longer, Graham was still more amused than involved. The girl jostled her way through gripping hands and recriminations. She elbowed one man and grabbed another by the collar. She wanted to be in their midst. She was scanning the men's encroaching, remonstrating faces, looking them over as thoroughly as they were trying to turn her about. After a minute of this tussle -- the men would not organize themselves for her inspectionshe clambered up over the edge of the billiard table, standing on it to look down on them all.

Graham had one more instant of time to be awed afresh by the way Fate had singled him out: He was taller than anyone else in the room, darker, lanky; he was also, he knew, by far the handsomest man in the room. Not for the first time, this fact made him uneasy.

Black Silk. Copyright © by Judith Ivory. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Judith Ivory's work has won many honors, including the Romance Writers of America's RITA and Top Ten Favorite Books of the Year awards and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award.

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Black Silk 2.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's very boring and goes on and on forever!!!!
MetraHarvard More than 1 year ago
I actually read this book a couple years ago. I am so glad to have found it on the website since I had forgotten the title and I wanted to read what others had to say about it. I have read quite a few books from this author and I can't believe she would put out such a dreary, boring effort. The story just drags on and on. Instead of donating this book when I finally finished it, I threw it into the recycling bin!!! If you are going to read this author--try the Bride Series--it is completely the opposite of this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are times in your in your life when you have a what!? moment. Reading this book will put you in that mindset. Basically any reviewer who gave this book two stars or less explained why this is such a waste of your time. The only thing good about this book is that the herion, Submit, is a unique character, who I believe should have the privilege of being in a loving realtionship but in the end of the book you still confused if she is or not. If you want to read this book get it from the library. Save your money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever read a book where the author has so much material to work with and the plot and the characters seem complex that you might actual enjoy it, but then the author just writes the book just to put something out there knowing good and well the book does not make any sense well this is the book. Black Silk will have to be in my top list of books that were horrible and a waste of my time. Black Silk should not be consider a romance novel because till this day I'm confused if Graham and Submit actually love each other or are in the relationship just to get something from each other or if the Graham just wants Submit because his uncle had her and his curious and envious. The book is confusing and complex 'not in a good way' and if you are a true romance reader or any reader at all if you read this book you will truly throw this book on the wall and demand your time back and maybe save people from the horrible act of reading this book by writing a review on barnes and noble and stating how awful this book is because I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She smiles and strokes your hair as you suck. "That's it girl. Milk em' dry."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dense and slow - not for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actually, more like 4.5 stars, as it's a romance and did not make me cry although it did move me greatly. It's certainly not a traditional romance in that the main relationship takes time to build and both characters go through realistic struggles to come to terms with who they are, instead of sex first, then love. It's extremely well written and conceived - a regency romance without all the silliness entailed in most of those. Very much worth a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The heroine's name is Submit. Submit. That alone earns this book one star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Florry More than 1 year ago
From the cover and the description on the back of the book, I was excited to delve into this story. I was incredibly disappointed to find that the actual story was so wordy and went in so many circles that the story became boring, and completely unreadable. I am an avid romance reader, and one thing that I hate not doing is finishing a story, because its like leaving a movie paused permanently. I read to around page 200, and I just couldn't go any further. I was just bored. I love descriptions of internal observations of characters, but this book took it to a state where all I wanted was for the story to come to dialogue, but once it comes to dialogue between actual characters, the wording was unimaginative and not entertaining. Unfortunately, I would not recommend this story to the romance reading community.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not worth the purchase price.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading BEAST, THE PROPOSITION, AND UNTIE MY HEART, I was disappointed in the book 'Black Silk'. I wonder if MS. Ivory had a commitment to write a book after the sucess of her other books (The Proposition) and simply wrote anything that came to her mind. I read the book and could not believe that these characters were so cold and calculating, there is no true romance or redeeming qualities in the so call hero or heroine. Another book to miss is also Sleeping Beauty nothing but a sleeper. Please MS. Ivory do not Submit another angry book again for publication.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not only is this book exquisitely written, with excellent detail, the characters are the closest I've encountered to reality while still keeping the romantic edge. I read it twice, back to back, to glean all the nuance from the prose. This one thrilled me - I fell in love with Graham; his strengths and great insecurities. I yelled at Submit, the naive victim of an extremely manipulative deceased husbund. And, the deceased husband, Henry, reached out from the grave to continue his despotic control over the people in his life. This one was amazing. Pay ATTENTION when you read it... This is not a lightweight romance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books (I read the original)! I like the tension between the characters of Graham, Submit and Henry. The mere fact that they are not perfect and have their secrets make the characters more believable. Judith Ivory is a talented writer and I appreciate the fact that the attraction between Graham and Submit starts slowly and builds- not some love-at-first-sight-can't-resist etc. It is gritty and an unconventional romance. Definately not a cookie-cutter plot by Judith Ivory.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know when I've read a book with characters that not one of them, had a redeeming quality. Graham is nothing but a silly egotistical FOP.......anyone who wears 10 watches.....not only has no fashion sense (no matter what time period) but comes off looking ridiculous! there's a truly silly character. Ms. Ivory didn't seem to like any of her characters. It read like a WHO's WHO of the worst society can produce. Her hero and heroine.....they were the absolute epitome of ridiculous. She paints Graham as gorgeous.....and Submit as plain to the point of ugly. Everyone but Graham finds her, plain, dull, and as she described it.....'a crow'. Noone, except of course Graham, finds her even nice! I love to read, especially good romance, but after reading this book I have to say I was terribly disappointed. This is undoubtedly the worst $5 I've ever spent on a novel. But at least now I know that I will avoid like the plaque any further writings of Ms. Ivory. I only wish I could give this book MINUS 5 stars instead of having to at least give it one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Graham Wessit has so much energy and no direction. At age thirty-eight, he has a married mistress who tries to stifle him, a paternity suit against him, two children he hardly knows and a lot of animosity toward his dead guardian. Enter, said guardian's widow and Graham's life is turned even more upside down. Slowly but surely he falls for the widow, who keeps pushing him away. But Submit Channing-Downes is as much drawn to Graham as he is to her. For all her love for her deceased husband and all the pain of Graham's youth these two must find their way to one another. This isn't a story about two people, it is a story about three. Henry Channing-Downes, our deceased husband and guardian, plays heavily on these two lost souls. He is a constant presence throughout the book. Whether through his machinations or pure fate, Submit and Graham finally come together. Two very different people who prove to be each others saving grace.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1858, Graham Wessit has so many woes he does not know where to start to fix them. Besides being the laughing stock of England due to a hyperbolic serialization of his misdeeds, the wealthy Graham faces a false paternity suit and the plans of his current mistress to divorce her husband and marry him. Since he inherited his title at six, scandal is his middle name.

Widow Submit Channing-Downes wears black in mourning for her late husband Henry. She adored her much older spouse though she likes the freedom that widowhood provides for her. Graham blames much of his present troubles on Henry, his former guardian. Listening to Henry¿s son prattle, Graham transfers his negative feelings to the widow until she arrives delivering a package from the deceased. Though Submit and Graham differ about Henry, they agree on a deep attraction between them. Unless they find some kind of compromise, the ghost of Henry will haunt any relationship between them.

BLACK SILK, a reprint of a 1991 Victorian romance (written under the name of Judith Cuevas), retains its freshness due to the strong characterizations. Readers fully grasp the motives of Submit and Graham and to a lesser degree that of Henry. Graham is the unique recipient of scorn from his peers while Submit is a bit more difficult to comprehend as she appears almost like two different people. Still Judith Ivory strikes the right chords with this powerful character study that slowly simmers the romance so that the audience obtains a realistic entertaining mid nineteenth century tale.

Harriet Klausner