Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Glamourist Histories, Book 1
Publication: Tor Books; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)

Description: The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written

Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

My Thoughts: Fans of Jane Austen, and fans of magic and romance are the perfect audience for this comedy of manners. Jane Ellsworth is the older of two sisters and feels herself quite overshadowed by the beauty and charm of her younger sister Melody. However, while Jane is plain of face, she is the more skilled glamourist of the two.

Jane's ability to weave magic into art and home decor have drawn the attentions of two men. Mr. Dunkirk is a near neighbor who is hosting his younger sister Beth. Mr. Vincent is a glamourist who has been hired by their neighbor the Viscountess FitzCameron to create a glamural in her dining room. Jane is fascinated by the art the artist is creating but less fascinated by the man himself. He is abrupt, rude, and almost mute in her presence.

The excitement in the neighborhood has to do with the recent arrival of Lady FitzCameron's nephew Captain Henry Livingston who, while engaged to Lady FitzCameron's daughter, begins to secretly court both Mr. Dunkirk's sister Beth and Jane's sister Melody. Vast amounts of drama ensue as Jane tries to sort out her sister's love life and almost accidentally discovers her own true love.

I loved the setting, world building and characters in this story and was wonderfully pleased to discover that there are four more books in this series. I can't wait to find out what is next for Jane and her love.

Favorite Quote:
"One must not put trust in novelists, Beth; they create worlds to fit their own needs and drive their characters mad in doing it."
I bought this one on April 20, 2012. You can buy your copy here.

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