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Black Rainbow

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  790 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Megan O'Neill sees it hanging in the sky above the towers of Grayhaven Manor -- a beautiful yet sinister black rainbow, a warning to the estate's new governess to stay away. Yet the warmth and kindness of the Mandeville family banish her fears -- and her hypnotic obsession for her handsome, mysterious new employer blinds her to the darkness within. But desire always has it ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by HarperTorch (first published 1982)
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Ivonne Rovira
Barbara Michaels usually writes wonderful Gothic romances with great plot twists, wonderful characters and witty dialogue. You won't find any of that here. I had to force myself to finish this dreadful book.

The "heroine" is actually the plain-looking and plain-spoken sister Jane. The governess who you think will be the heroine is a pretty idiot who can't see the obvious flaws in the man she works so hard to entrap. Except for Jane and a few workmen, every character in this book is so boorish, se
Jun 30, 2008 Caitie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nooooobody
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Sammis
A black rainbow is a moon rainbow. It is the also the opening scene for 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 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 (
Not Michaels best executed books, plot-wise, but interesting in other ways. The main characters are nuanced enough that one understands, at least in part, their motivations, even if often faulty. And the ending is deliciously gothic.

Not to mention the way the choices of the manor lords in that time and the consequences of those choices has quite a bit of parallel to current issues around the 1%

It's takes the classic gothic tale, Jane Eyre, and sets it on its ear. Here, our heroine, Megan, hired
Black Rainbow is a prequel to Someone in the House. If you read it in publication order, then you will watch the foreordained dance and have additional layers of enjoyment. If not, you still have a rather nice piece of historical fiction. Note that the novel is not romantic suspense or gothic romance as usually Barbara Michaels writes, but is still well written and thought provoking. One character lets us see the time through a more modern glass, but it doesn't feel too out of place. Still the b ...more
Lisa Greer
I liked it because I didn't see where it was going until 2/3s of the way in. It reminded me of Greygallows.
I really can't say I liked this one much. It just. . .seemed to lack. It started out strong, kept me interested until it changed point of view, but then it sort of lost momentum. The story started to drag.

It also lacked the 'suspense' I was hoping for in this style of novel. The romance was. . .pretty absent. Hinted at, but you don't get to follow it.

I also found the main character (Megan) a bit empty-headed. She wasn't *bad*, just. . .seemed kind of shallow. Particularly after the change in P
Meh. On the one hand, I found some of the historic/mystery elements of the book really intriguing and really wanted to see where things would go, but ultimately I was let down by the story. It was kind of all over the place. There were some things that would have been great starting points for some creepy elements, and then they were never explored. The POV switches halfway through from the naive Megan to the dull Jane (who was by no means dull when you were reading as Megan), and the love story ...more
My least favorite Barbara Michaels novel -- I've read it twice and been disappointed both times by how there are so many fascinating elements, yet nothing really seems to come together in this story. It's doubly disappointing in light of how her other books are so good.
Some how I could not get in this book until near the end and I love Barbara Michaels' books. On the gothic side with interesting characters. But something was missing in the character development of Edmund.
Laura Guill
This kinda has me regretting trying to read all of Barbara Michaels' back catalog. The characters were tiresome & predictable, and while there were a few hints towards evil (spirits? a presence? the house? I couldn't even tell), it wasn't enough to explain away the villain's behavior, or the sense of "doom" that hung over Megan.

I would say at best, this could have been the secondary ghost story, like in Ammie, Come Home. Maybe that's what Someone In The House is about?
I love Barbara Michaels--even more so when she writes as Elizabeth Peters, but I found Black Rainbow very disappointing. I hate to say the story was mediocre, so I'll just say it wasn't very exciting. A bigger disappointment was in the writing itself. When I read a line to the effect that "Megan's heart popped out of her chest and landed with a plop at his feet" I literally closed the book, vowing not to open it again. I did finish it, however, because it's my policy to finish any book I start. ...more
just read this.. its alright, kind of boring at times, took me three weekends to finish it it lacked the suspense i wanted but I like the end of the story it was pretty unexpected.
Gothic suspenseful romance novels are my weakness. Yes, they're formulaic. There's always a governess, a brooding mansion or manor, and an arrogant master who may or may not have a heart of cold under his hard exterior. This novel followed most of the conventions of the genre, but then, we read the genre for those conventions, amirite? Nothing groundbreaking here, but a solid gothic romance complete with pagan rituals and fertility rites. One of the better ones that I've read.
This is certainly one of the weaker of the Barbara Michaels novels I've read to date. Main characters I couldn't bring myself to like (except for one of them)... Irritating behavior... Characters and episodes that never really led to anything substantial in the plot... Incredible thickheadedness... Yeah, not a favorite.

(I've gone into tons of detailed, semi-ranting commentary on my blog. Can't bring myself to paste it all here. Too embarrassingly long.)

This book started out okay... ish. Megan the orphaned governess falls in love with her handsome employer. That's the first half of the book. Then they get married and the narration switches to Jane, Handsome Employer's younger sister. Jane is a great character, but why switch the narration to her? All the action and plot of the novel is happening with Megan! But we only see it second- or third-hand. This makes for a damn boring story.
Dawn Napier
Decent. A bit derivative, it reminded me a LOT of Jane Eyre. But the story was entirely different, especially toward the end. I did NOT expect it to end the way it did. I also expected the book to have more references to religion and paganism, and I'm disappointed that much of it was skimmed over. Overall, a fun little read.
Dramatica Darmody
A very interesting read, even if it took a few nasty turns here and there, and I love the mentions of ancient customs.
I expected more from this book. I judge books by their covers or their titles too often. I think the rainbow was mentioned only twice, meaning something like an ill wind blows no good. Or in this case a black rainbow... Barbara Michaels is also Elizabeth Peters. Her Amelia Peabody Emerson Series is much better.
Eh, it was okay. Not your average late twentieth-century gothic romance, in the sense that there was no appealing male character to latch onto here. In fact, I spent most of the novel annoyed at most of the main characters. The ending was pretty great, though.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Not great. The author offers a lot of good historical information, but jumps between telling detailed flight and fight stories to historical strategic stories. He jumps from a strict timeline to a jumble of important details to back.
Boring no suspense or thriller. Than again I didn't finnish but I did skim through the pages of the book over and over again trying to find something creepy, nothing really and this doesn't really have anything to do with a black rainbow?
May 09, 2010 Laurie added it
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Laurie by: used book store find
Not a real exciting book, sort of Jane Eyhre with a twist at the end.
I kept expecting Heathcliff to show up and duke it out with Mr. Darcy!
This author has written a ton of books and I think I try out a few more of her's.
I love Gothics with the heroine as Governess trope.
Ths was not that great.
Megan was a ninny
Jane did not get a HEA
Read Holt's Mistress of Mellyn for a better Governess in peril Romantic Gothic
Jenn Estepp
Extremely slow at times and it will never rank as one of my favorites by Michaels, but I did end up liking it well enough - and certainly more so than lots here on goodreads seem to have.
Maria M. Elmvang
I usually like Barbara Michael's books, but this one definitely wasn't one of her best. It seemed rushed and the characters quite 2-dimensional. I read it, but probably won't again.
Amanda Cowher
This was a very boring read. I kept hoping something paranormal would happen, which is usually what Michaels writes about, but it wasn't paranormal at all.
Kathy Jackson
I found this book to be rather boring and longwinded. I could not connect with the characters or care whether they lived or died. Very disappointed.
This was not what I thought it would be, I thought there would be more mystery. It was okay I enjoyed the historical parts.
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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...
Stitches in Time (Georgetown, #3) Ammie, Come Home (Georgetown, #1) The Dancing Floor Smoke and Mirrors Vanish with the Rose

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