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Shades of Milk and Honey (edition 2010)

by Mary Robinette Kowal

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
661None14,447 (3.53)77
Member:wyvernfriend
Title:Shades of Milk and Honey
Authors:Mary Robinette Kowal
Info:Tor Books (2010), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Library Loans, Read but unowned, Wishlist, Favorites
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, library, ILL, DLR, borrowbooks, fantasy, regency, illusion, glamour, romance, 2013, january

Work details

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

  1. 130
    Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (trollsdotter, readr)
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    nnicole: Magic during the English Regency.
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  3. 20
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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
This novel was inspired by Jane Austen's work and it shows especially in the character types. To me the echoes of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility were the strongest. Kowal lacks the wit and irony that makes Austen such a pleasure to read, but she does add magic to the mix and manages to create a universe of her own. At romance she fails: there's no real build-up and no clue of the heroine falling in love with the man she ends up with. Then again, she is a spinster and might say yes to a proposal just because she receives one... Anyway, to me her motives and emotions were unclear. The pacing of the story wasn't quite right, either. Things went on very slowly for the first three quarters (which I liked) and then everything happened like a lightning stroke (which I didn't like): dramatic conflicts emerged and were resolved all at once. I liked the beginning but was disappointed in the end. Three stars seems fair. ( )
  julienne_preacher | Apr 18, 2014 |
I do not what recommended this novel to me, but I am very glad that it was. It is a piece to be treasured and savored.

Many novelists purport to 'write like Jane Austen' yet I have not met any in my extensive reading until now that actually capture Austen's voice and shows their skill with words. All others have fallen short. Except for one mistake that the author makes in regards to the titles of nobility in her pseudo England, this fabulous tale is one worth the time to investigate.

We add a layer onto the Regency of Magic. So deftly done by Galen Beckett in his series, with his own unique and glorious prose, here we have the themes and tropes of Austen's novels brought back to life. Kowal has some of her own prose, but you might not see it as she evokes the next tale Jane Austen surely could have penned should she be living in a world of Glamour. The world not only which surrounds he characters of this tale, but also provide the plot points to propel it forward.

Do you see poking through the hedge, the imagery of Pride and Prejudice one instant, and Sense and Sensibility the next? There is Persuasion and and also several other tropes we have seen in other Regency tales. Kowal give a tale worthy of a reread, but wait, this has become a series and now it is time to quickly find the next book to see if she continues on as fine as she started. ( )
  DWWilkin | Mar 31, 2014 |
This was an entertaining light read. I would have read it in a day but I had a date with my husband so it took a day & a half. It is highly derivative of Austen (you'll see shades of Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion & Pride & Prejudice) but it's still a fun amble & I found I rooted for the main character, Jane, in particular. Her sister, Melody, is of course, a vapid pain & I had less sympathy & more overwhelming want of someone to tell her to be quiet or maybe slap her around for a sustained amount of time. She is redeemed much later but in the end, I still didn't like or care much about her.

Some of what takes place is predictable but if you've already accepted the Austen-esque nature of the book, you probably won't find that a deal breaker. I did want Jane to have figured out the duplicity of Capt. Livingston much more quickly. We know what she knows yet she dismisses the obvious conclusion. Actually, she doesn't dismiss it, she overlooks it entirely. She is shown to be so sharp the rest of the time that I found that a little less credible an instance. But the conclusion to that storyline was exciting enough to forgive the lead in. Most of the remaining characters fulfilled their roles well, believably & sometimes hilariously. I very much enjoyed the "glamour" idea & the descriptions of it were very well done. It took a little to sort of get into that part but once I did, it added a nice fantasy layer to the story.

I was rooting for Mr. Dunkirk from the start because I'm a sappy chica & I thought he & Jane would be a great couple. For all of the "glamour" I didn't really get into Mr. Vincent as a character. He seemed useful enough (his treatise on art & his theories on glamour were compelling), but I felt nothing for him, even when he nearly died. He never seemed as surely drawn as mostly everyone else. I accept the pairing at the ending but it quite killed any desire in me to read the next in the series. Especially since there's that little bit of epilogue in the last few chapters that gives an account of the sisters Ellsworth's future. Still, I did quite enjoy this as a weekend read. ( )
  anissaannalise | Jan 1, 2014 |
A treat. Well-written enough to get me past my indifference to the source material (Never cared for Austen or either Bronte sister. Sue me.) and I liked the elements of magic. Like the last book I read, not too sure I'm going to read the next book but in this case, I did enjoy it. ( )
  newskepticx | Dec 18, 2013 |
Oooo I really enjoyed this. This book got me out of a reading slump, for which I'm extremely grateful. If you're a Janeite, it quickly becomes a game of spot the Austen reference - plot, characters, lines scenes, are all heavily inspired by Jane's novels, an association the author is quick to acknowledge. I was really fond of the fantasy touches that have to do with art though I would have liked them to be more developed. The author's introduction to glamourists and the extent of their magic is very abrupt and stays very shallow. I hope this is expanded in the sequels. The romance, while satisfying, was a bit unoriginal for my taste but I did genuinely care for the characters, which is why it didn't bother me much. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
A quick, light read, with characters that the reader will feel right at home with.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Rebecca Gerber (Aug 1, 2010)
 
Readers will be disappointed only when they finish this enchanting story, which is suffused with genteel charm.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Journal, Stacey Hayman (Jun 15, 2010)
 
Kowal's unique take on an overly familiar plot does hold some potential, but the magic, like her sensible protagonist, comes across as a bit too tame.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus Reviews (Jun 15, 2010)
 
The story plods at a wooden pace until the climax, which achieves a sprightly comedy-of-errors froth.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Jun 14, 2010)
 
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To my grandmothers, Mary Elois Jackson and Robinette Harrison who taught me the importance of family and storytelling.
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The Ellsworths of Long Parkmead had the regard of their neighbours in every respect.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description

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. [Amazon product description 8/9/2010]
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In a Jane Austen-inspired alternate universe, two sisters, one beautiful and the other skilled in the glamour arts, test the limits of their gifts on an unscrupulous suitor.

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Mary Robinette Kowal is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Mary Robinette Kowal chatted with LibraryThing members from Sep 13, 2010 to Sep 26, 2010. Read the chat.

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