cover image Silk and Stone

Silk and Stone

Deborah Smith. Bantam, $6.5 (528pp) ISBN 978-0-553-29689-1

Samantha (Sam) Ryder and Jake Raincrow recognize when they meet as small children that their love will constantly have to fight to survive. Jake's mother, Sarah Raincrow, and Sam's aunt, wealthy and evil Alexandra Vanderveer Lomax, have been archenemies since Alex entrapped Sarah's brother into marrying her and giving her the family's most valued possession, the Pandora ruby. Sam and Jake grow into talented adults: she uses her hands to weave beautiful tapestries; he uses his sixth sense--the gift of his Cherokee heritage--to read minds, hunt for gems and find people lost in the North Carolina hills. The two finally marry. But Alex uses bribes, lies and murder to control Sam and to ruin her relationship with Jake. In attempting to do so, she causes the deaths of many in their families and forces Jake into a 10-year jail sentence. It is not until Jake is free, Alex is dead and the ruby is abandoned that Sam and Jake are able to trust one another and love again. While the pace steadies after an uneven start and intrigue abounds, Deborah Smith's ( Blue Willow ) characters, notably Alex, are at once hollow and overdrawn. (Mar.)