Book Review: Shades of Milk and Honey

Publishing Information: ToR Books (Reprint June 7th 2011)
Page Count: 306
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Romance
Note: First book in the Glamourist Histories

If you took a dash of Jane Austen and a dollop of Tolkein you’d get the Glamourist Histories. Mary Robinette Kowal seamlessly melds the life of Georgian Society, romance, and magic to make a setting that is instantly recognizable and yet ultimately fresh.

This is the first of the series (there are five by the way) and it sets the stage beautifully. It follows the story of Jane Ellsworth, for whom I harbor the deepest of affection (did that sound regency enough?) and I rooted for the entire story.

Jane is a ‘plain Jane’ lady who is quite adept in the art of glamour; the creation of illusions for entertainment and comfort. She is intelligent, a bit shy, and takes it upon herself to be the paragon of feminine virtue…which causes a few problems during the course of the story. I just want to put her in a safe box and place it on a shelf so she never gets hurt.

Technically she’s always on a shelf…what with her being a book character….

Anywho, Jane’s life is complicated by her sister, Melody, who is as charming and lovely as her name implies. She is also prone to emotional outbursts and falling in and out of love with anyone who shows her attention; namely the man with whom Jane has a long time affection. Jane’s life is further complicated by the arrival of a truly talented glamourist, Vincent, who seems utterly intent on snapping at her.

It’s a fantastic book with a great deal of emotional value and depth. It has duels, parties, genteel manners, and art. I look forward to devouring the rest of the series.

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