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The Master of Blacktower

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,032 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Damaris Gordon shuddered at the thought of working for the cruel and bitter Master of Blacktower—but her father's death left her no choice. Suddenly her fate—her life itself—was in the black silk-gloved hands of Gavin Hamilton, a man scarred and tortured by an unspoken past, whose mocking laughter echoes through his ancient Scottish estate. Damaris has heard the whispers t ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by HarperTorch (first published 1966)
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Best Gothic Books Of All Time
141st out of 320 books — 1,762 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,483)
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Jenny
The Master of Black Tower by Barbara Michaels is a Bronte-esc gothic romance. The story is complete with a scarred, wealthy, and supposedly widowed employer, Gavin Hamilton. The heroine in this story, Damaris Gordon is fairy tale beautiful, independent, and intelligent – despite the fact she is nearly flawless, the reader quickly is enchanted. Damaris goes to work as a secretary for Gavin after the death of her father. Soon she becomes entangled in her feelings for Gavin and his dark past. The m ...more
JLC

Wow! What an AB.SO.LUTE.LY beautifully written book!!

This is my 1st encounter with BM's writing. (taking a deep breath & shaking my head) I'm still stuck in a state awe & humility after spending time in the presence of something as magnificent as BM's writing. Can I just say... WoW!... WoW!... WoWsiers!!!!!! I'm almost left speechless - & those that know me know that's saying something since I'm never at a loss for words.

What impressed the most was the prose in this. It was just...
...more
Kasia S.
I have been familiar with Elizabeth Peters and her Egyptian mysteries, but I would have never guess that the woman can write some great stories under a pen name and live a double life of success! Master of Blacktower is cited to be a Gothic thriller but there is so much more to it than heavy, opulent furniture, gowns and language. Set in 1850's this tale is full of old fashioned virtues and the main heroine's way of breaking them.

This is a tale reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast as another revi
...more
Renee
Before reading The Master of Blacktower, I hadn't read anything by Barbara Michaels since The Sea King's Daughter, which I read a very, very long time ago. But this novel had sat on my shelf for about six years unread, so I thought it was high time I get around to it.

It was, on the whole, a good read. Michaels does a good job of emulating the traditional high Gothic romance of the 18th/19th centuries. The reader follows the uniquely named Damaris to northern Scotland, where she lives in a large
...more
Deanna
Once upon a time, an archaeology student decided to try to write a gothic novel, and thus began the long and illustrious career of Barbara Michaels aka Elizabeth Peters. I have read many of this author's books over the last 30 years, and enjoyed every one. She writes good characters, lovely twisty plots, and for pure entertainment without lurid sex or violence, she can't be beat. She does include a little of the supernatural in many of her books -- which I enjoy. This is, I believe, her very fir ...more
Tess
A fast-paced romantic thriller with strong Jane Eyre undertones (okay, they are super overt actually), The Master of Blacktower is an entertaining though not all together satisfying read.

This was my first Barbara Michaels book, and though I had some problems with it I will probably try some of her others as well. My biggest problem was that the heroine, Damaris, is a bit of a sop for most of the book. Yeah, it takes place sometime in the Victorian era (it's not quite clear when exactly) and yeah
...more
Janell
This book seemed to be trying very hard to follow in the footsteps of Jane Eyre but had none of the depth or passion of Bronte's novel. Nor were the characters that likeable. It was moderately OK in its own way for most of the book, but the conclusion was very choppy, very abrupt and very unsatisfying.
Laura
3.5 Stars. Clearly takes a lot of inspiration from Jane Eyre, which was fun since I love that novel, and even took a class in college on books inspired by it. The thing that took this book from 4 stars down to 3.5 was the ending - it was very rushed and abrupt, and I felt like there should have been an epilogue at the very least. From reading this book, I think I like her books as Elizabeth Peters more, but I will continue with the books written as Barbara Michaels.
Kathryn
Love Elizabeth Peters and her Egyptology mysteries, but wanted something light and gothic for today. I got precisely that. Ending was a bit abrupt but overall a simple way to waste a rainy day. Part Bronte's Eyre, part DuMaurier's Rebecca.

Pamela
i have always been a fan of Barbara Michaels. Her books have filled a lazy afternoon many a time. But this...

I can't believe that she wrote this book. It was obsolutely lifeless. I'm not sure how I got through it. I guess I was hoping it would get better. The only excitement came at the very last chapter, but even then I was almost angry. I read the last paragraph of the book, and continued turning pages thinking that certainly that wasn't it. It was even a cliff hanger, it was...nothing.

I hones
...more
Arlyne
My first Barbara Michaels and will try another for a quick read. This was Jane Eyer-lite with a bit of Magic Garden and a touch of Brothers Karamazov.
J.M. Klees
Hee. Still as wonderfully terrible as I remembered from my first reading it as a weather-beaten paperback when I was a teen.
Leslie
Upon the death of her scholar father, Damaris Gordon is left with two choices, marriage to her dull but respectable cousin Randall, and seeking paid employment. Hired as his secretary by Gavin Hamilton, the mysterious, hideously scarred Master of Blacktower, she travels to Scotland to reorganize his library. Of course, danger and romance await. Pretty standard Gothic fare, but enjoyable as Barbara Michaels' books always are. I believe this was one of her first novels, and she does a creditable j ...more
Darla
One of her best!
Ana
Jane Eyre feeling all over it, but it has a good story, acceptable mystery but a not so good ending...what about the rest? I was a bit surprised but it's not the first book from this autor that ends like that. There were some things that bothered me, specially the language they used, it wasn't a typical language for a victorian era, to formal to...modern? I don't know, but as i said, it was a good story that kept me glued to the book for 2 days.
Christine
Read this way back in the 70's. It was one of the first romances I ever read. I loved it then, and re-read it recently for old-times' sake.

It has aged pretty well. Damaris is an absolutely great character. Gavin is the scarred hero...and Michaels really makes the most of the 'beauty and the beast' motif, and her writing skills are self-evident -- there's virtually no sex, but heat just rolls off the pages.



Rebecca Claiborne
It was pretty mild on the mystery side, and the twist was kinda meh. Not believable. But the characters are fun to read; the story overall was pretty entertaining. And the kiss was really well written. I had to read several times because I couldn't get enough of that kiss.
Romance wise, I would say this book is great.
Overall, just good enough to entertain.
Vivisection
My Gram used to read Gothic novels all the time. I always avoided them because let's face it, there wasn't enough smut. Gosh, though, they ARE fun. Foreboding castles, vile children, uncommunicative anti-heroes, sexually loaded yet some how chaste kisses, and mysteriously departed spouses/parents. Who doesn't love a Gothic? No one I want to know!
Lauren
I only gave this 4 stars based on while it was a very exciting read, it was a bit predictable in some of the motives of the characters (but thankfully not all too much) and the ending left me with a 'ok, what happens then' feeling as if the story wasn't truly finished. What happens with Randall or Annabelle? I need more conclusion than this!
Becca
Feb 12, 2012 Becca rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Normally I love Barbara michaels with her gothic horror/romance (even when she sets them in the current times there is a foreboding and scene setting that she really has no equal in), but this one was a bit much even for me. Her characters are usually more dynamic. Skip this and read one of the many,many others she wrote,
Jennifer
Apologies to the other reviewer of this book, but a few shared Gothic fixtures do not a Jane Eyre rip-off make. What they do make - with a dash of that classic Michaels/Peters humor - is a cracking good read. Not deep by any means (nor meant to be!), this remains a perfect gem of the genre.
Jj Le
Barbara Michaels the Master of Blacktower was okay . It started off at good pace and interest but then slowly died down to a miserable teeth pulling end. This book just need a little more thrill and horror at the end to get 5 stars. I must say that this is one of Michaels not so great book.
Karen
I actually found this book today as I was looking through my boxes and boxes of books. I just began it, and am reading it now. I'm sure it will deserve at least 4 stars, as anything by Barbara Michaels is excellent, and I jumped the gun in rating it, thinking I'd already read it before.
Shelly
This is a Gothic romance, and it is SO very Gothic. :) At points I wanted to laugh as I read because it seemed like every Gothic cliche had found it's way into this book. Despite, or perhaps because of, that this was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Bee
This was the perfect book to be snowed in with. Even better, it was the perfect book to have on hand when the power went out, to read by candlelight. A delicious Jane-Eyre-esque gothic mystery set in Scotland -- I devoured it in one and a half sittings.
ara133photography
Great mystery!! I suppose it's a gothic mystery... one where a woman goes to a castle to become a governess for a terrifying man... even if the plot has been done before, this was a really good read! Perfect for a rainy day.
Lesley
One of the reasons I love e-books is that I can buy and own some of my favorite books that haven't been in print for decades. This is one of my favorite reads from teenhood and I enjoy reading it every few years!
Beverly
One of the first books she wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels; a Gothic style thriller. Very good, very suspenseful, but needed a denouement; ended too abruptly.
HerbieGrandma
Ahh, yes. Those gothic romances of my younger days! This is one of the best. I still love to read this book and fall in love with Gavin, The Master, all over again . . .
Meganne
Fun little story in the vein of the Brontes. I enjoyed it but thought it could have been edgier and the characters were too flat. No complexity here.
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Barbara Michaels is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also writes as Elizabeth Peters, as well as under her own name.

She was born in Canton, Illinois and has written over fifty books including some in Egyptology. Dr. Mertz also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Egyptology.
More about Barbara Michaels...
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