Gwen Davis’ SILK LADY (1986, Warner Books) isn’t your typical trashy read. A trail of smarts follows this sexually-charged tale. It isn’t obvious at first, but when it gets a hold of you, you either welcome it with open arms or recoil from it like the plague. I chose the latter—at first. No way was I getting into this. I like my trash much simpler. You know, a bit silly but with a heart of gold. Then, forcing myself to read along, I realized that this glittering high-society offering may be just what the doctor ordered after all. Here was something that could be quite an experience if I let myself ride the wave. It ended up being exactly that, and here’s why.
Protagonist Miranda Jay is one unlucky lady. Used, abused (physically and emotionally), she heads off into the right circles where money is key and sex is the price (yes, I made that up all by myself). She hooks up with various successful men, one of whom having close ties with the White House. When a big scandal is just around the corner, many key players end up on the chopping block (the demise kind), including this silk lady whose life story is entirely told in flashbacks. Prolific Gwen Davis is indeed one smart cookie. Her insightful roman-à-clef (think Vicky Dale, murdered mistress of department store owner Alfred Bloomingdale) takes you into all kind of places where colorful characters are as strong as the narrative. She is best at mixing trash with literature. SILK LADY is much more than fluff; it is a satirical piece that dissects life, death and the S&M in all of us. Yes, the novel reeks of sex, but underneath the scent lies a heck of a unique point of view. If you're ready to venture out into different fictional areas, this is the novel to pick.
No doubt about it SILK LADY is a must-read. However, I have yet to venture deeper into Gwen Davis’ world and I sometimes wonder why. Perhaps tackling this type of a novel requires too much concentration on my part, which I’m unready to provide on a regular basis. I read for pleasure and if her backlist is anything like SILK LADY witty dialogue and socially-based commentaries await me. But if I ever do try another one of her titles you’ll be the first to know.
Until next post—Martin