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Black Rainbow: 03/03/09
A black rainbow is a moon rainbow. It is the also the opening scene for 0060745304?Black Rainbow by Barbara Michaels. In this gothic romance Megan O'Neill, governess falls in love with the handsome but dangerous Edmund Mandeville while sister Jane looks on helpless.
Black Rainbow is the prequel to 0060745258?>Someone in the House (1981). As it's basically the back story for a much better sounding (and more typical) Barbara Michaels horror novel, the story reads like a forced march. I haven't read Someone in the House (but want to).
The novel has moments of dark and atmospheric tension reminiscent of better novels. Edmund's past hints at Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Megan's role as an outsider and governess, at Jane Eyre.
Unfortunately these scenes are weakened by bland characterization and gender stereotyping. Megan's attraction to Edmund or his interest in her are never fully explained to any satisfaction. If the novel were more clearly a retelling of Jane Eyre or more clearly a bodice ripper, I would let their flimsy relationship slide.
Typically the heroines in Michaels's books are strong, smart and stubborn. Megan is certainly stubborn but she is neither strong nor smart. If Jane is the heroine (and she narrates the second half of the novel), then more time should be spent on her background and her rivalry with her brother. Yes, they have their fights and yes, Edmund does try to get her out of the picture but all this comes so late in the novel that it felt like it was added at the last minute.
My other reviews of her books: