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Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette…

Shades of Milk and Honey (edition 2010)

by Mary Robinette Kowal

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8208711,078 (3.5)97
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
Tags:fiction, library, ILL, DLR, borrowbooks, fantasy, regency, illusion, glamour, romance, 2013, january

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Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal


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Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Very Jane Austen, but wirh a convincing layer of magic thrown in. Ended up being quite fun. Strong characterisations, despicable villains and an inspiring heroine. ( )
  Matt_B | Apr 16, 2015 |

A fantasy take on the worlds of Jane Austen and the Brontes, which I have to admit has faded in my memory since I read it several weeks back. I remember finding the period language a bit off-key in places. It's a better idea than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, anyway. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Apr 11, 2015 |
I am, I freely admit, a fan of Heyer’s novels, and while I wouldn’t call myself an Austen fan, I’ve certainly read her books. So when I first saw Kowal’s Regency fantasy, I knew that sooner or later I’d be picking up a copy. In fact, I received this book as a Christmas present. And read it during the journey back to the UK. It’s pretty much as you’d expect – old-maid-ish daughter of comfortably well-off provincial family gets all excited when eligible men turn up at the local nob’s house. The difference here is that people can practice a sort of light-based magic, “glamour”, which allows them to create illusions – and this has become a new… well, not art-form, but certainly a form of “accomplishment”. Jane is the plain older sister of beautiful Melody, whose charms are sure to land her a good match, except Jane is gifted at glamour – so cue a pair of “interesting” gentlemen who are drawn to Jane, Melody’s bitterness because she’s smart enough to realise a pretty face is not enough, the return of a childhood friend who proves to be a bounder, a young girl who Jane takes under her wing… It’s a polished piece, perhaps a little too polished – there was something that didn’t quite ring true about it all, not that it prevented me from enjoying it. Kowal handles the relationships well, and the glamour is nicely done – but the story seemed wrapped up almost as an afterthought with a throwaway happy-ever-after ending. At the moment, I’m not sure if I’ll be bothering with the rest of the series. ( )
  iansales | Feb 22, 2015 |
This was very fun!
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Very difficult to review.

The magic was lovely - 5 stars for the idea!

Within memory, I've always loved a well-written regency book, and recently, I've developed a particular fondness for historical fantasy. This should have been my cup of tea, right?

Some of the other elements though, were less than lovely (and here's where my rating started to drop)

Throughout, I couldn't help grimacing at some of the unwieldy sentences. The author was trying far too hard! (in a manner similar to Georgette Heyer at her most painful)

Also, the publishers included comments about the wonderful tribute etc. to Jane Austen. I have read (and adore!) every one of Janes's books. This was part of my downfall...
The plot of Shades of Milk and Honey is chock-full of stolen plot segments from Jane Eyre, and all 6 of JA's novels. They jump around a fair bit, and make the book less original than I would have liked.

The female characters of the book are in turns Lizzy, Elinor, Jane Fairfax, Catherine, Lydia, Jane Bennet, Emma, Marianne, Jane Eyre, Georgiana, Anne, and more (how does the author fit so many people into so few?). The males swap between Darcy, Knightley, Willoughby, Rochester, Bingley, Edmund, Wickham, Frank Churchill, need I go on!?

Sorry for getting carried away, but you get the picture! Kowal's characters are not 'real people' so to speak, they are copies and cut-outs of other authors' work.

It's just too contrived - the heroine is a plain Jane (literally...) but ever so accomplished. Her sister is astoundingly beautiful and charming, but has no patience to practise at said accomplishments.

Time to stop this review I think...

All in all, it's a quick read (a bit unsubtle in parts). I wouldn't read it again, but I'm quite glad I did - it was a light book with some nice ideas behind it.

So despite my criticism, it's enjoyable. Don't go out of your way to read it, but if you have it, why not? ( )
1 vote Gorthalon | Dec 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (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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