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Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories) (Paperback)

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Books : Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories) (Paperback)

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3.6 out of 5 stars
63 total reviews
5 stars
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4 stars
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3 stars
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2 stars
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2
Most helpful positive review
Jane and Melody are sisters in need of husbands in a time when propriety was everything and estates were entailed away. Lovely Melody seems to have an interest in either Mr. Dunkirk or Captain Livingston, the nephew of Lady FitzCameron. Jane hopes to attract the notice of Mr. Dunkirk herself; she may be plain, but she is quite an accomplished lady, not least in the ability to work glamour. Yes, you read right. In this Austenesque fantasy, working magic - known as "glamour" - is an art much like painting or music that could be added to a woman's (or man's) repertoire. When one thinks of it as this type of accomplishment, the idea is not so foreign really, and gives the fantasy a light touch. This is an inventive tale that cleverly nods to Jane Austen while succeeding as a story in its own right.

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Books : Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories) (Paperback)
In Regency England, Jane Ellsworth of Dorchester is a woman ahead of her time. Not only is she highly skilled in the manipulation of glamour - plucking strands from the Ether to create genteel magical illusions - she's also ambitious for her art, and dreams of being recognised as a glamourist of note in her own right, as men are permitted to. First and foremost, however, a lady of quality must marry well, and alas Jane's ambitions do not extend to her romantic prospects. Compared to her beautiful sister Melody, Jane feels invisible to suitors, and is resigned to a life of spinsterhood. But when her beloved family comes under threat, Jane uses her magical skills to put things right, which attracts the attention of professional glamourist Mr Vincent ...and unwittingly wanders in to a love story of her own.

Specifications

Series Title
The Glamourist Histories
Publisher
Little, Brown Book Group
Book Format
Paperback
Number of Pages
272
Author
Kowal, Mary Robinette
ISBN-13
9781472102492
Publication Date
October, 2013
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
0.70 x 5.10 x 7.80 Inches
ISBN-10
1472102495

Customer Reviews

5 stars
13
4 stars
24
3 stars
18
2 stars
6
1 star
2
Most helpful positive review
3 customers found this helpful
Jane and Melody are si...
Jane and Melody are sisters in need of husbands in a time when propriety was everything and estates were entailed away. Lovely Melody seems to have an interest in either Mr. Dunkirk or Captain Livingston, the nephew of Lady FitzCameron. Jane hopes to attract the notice of Mr. Dunkirk herself; she may be plain, but she is quite an accomplished lady, not least in the ability to work glamour. Yes, you read right. In this Austenesque fantasy, working magic - known as "glamour" - is an art much like painting or music that could be added to a woman's (or man's) repertoire. When one thinks of it as this type of accomplishment, the idea is not so foreign really, and gives the fantasy a light touch. This is an inventive tale that cleverly nods to Jane Austen while succeeding as a story in its own right.
Most helpful negative review
2 customers found this helpful
Im sorry but this jus...
I'm sorry but this just drove me nuts. I'm kind of at a loss for what other people saw in it. Again and again I found myself channeling Diego Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." Some examples:Both of my girls are too sensible for such nonsense.""Yes. We are sensible girls. ...And so we should have no trouble in using our sensibility to convince you of the importance of new gowns..." No. Sensibility is not the ability to be sensible. It is the ability to be sensiTIVE, and open to emotional and aesthetic experience. Anyone embarking upon an Austen pastiche should KNOW that!! Dammit Janet!!!!!!Buffington expects me to sit in on the next round of rubber Again, no. Rubber is not a kind of game. Rubber means the best of three rounds. You could play a rubber of any card game but you would never say a round of rubber. I don't think that word means what you think it means.a quicksilver of unease flourished through Jane's joints Um. That phrase is just wrong. Its clunky and awkward and makes no sense. If quicksilver is serving as a noun here, well the noun quicksilver means mercury and if she has mercury flourishing in her joints you might want to get her to a doctor. If, as seems more likely, quicksilver is supposed to be an adjective, then what is it describing please? It seems to me there's a word missing from this sentence. Perhaps a quicksilver feeling of unease flourished (honestly, flourished?) or a quicksilver frisson, or a quicksilver tremor or something but as this sentence stands its just goofy, and I'm sorry but when vague random things start flourishing in people's joints I'm just...ugh.Rendered in far greater detail than Mr Vincent had employed in the scenery for his shadow-play, Jane could still sense his hand in the graceful line of the trunks. Please! Get control of your referents! As this sentence stands it says that JANE was rendered in greater detail than the scenery. Well I should hope so, being as how she's a person and not a backdrop.There is page after page after page of this stuff. Gack. Just... gack. Is it too much to ask for Austen pastiche to at least aspire to prose that is not actively painful to read? Austen's prose was lithe, elegant, balanced, lovely. If you are going to imitate her at least make a better effort than this nonsense. As much as the style made me nuts, the content made me more nuts. I mean come on. The two sisters at the center of the story spend most of their time backstabbing and one upping each other in hot pursuit of available men by all means necessary. They lie, cheat and steal, I'm not just spouting a cliché, they actually do all of those things. They eavesdrop, they tell tales on each other. They act like two first graders squabbling over a toy. The novelist keeps telling me these are loving sisters, but that's not what she shows me. What she shows me is pettiness and endless rationalizations for pettiness.The protagonist discovers that the man she's been pursuing for most of the novel has done something horribly immoral murdered , I say again, murdered his sister's husband and it does not appear to give her one moment of pause . But when she gets a better offer she drops him at once. She makes promises to other characters and then breaks them as soon as they become difficult. She always has a reason for failing to live up to her commitments, she's full of self justifications, but I would trust her about as far as I could throw a Buick. Plus some of this stuff is just absurd. At one point the main character passes out and lies outside on the ground overnight. !! She then hops up, apparently exhibiting no ill effects except a slight headache and some messy hair, and goes home where no one questions the fact that she's been MISSING for twelve hours. Then, without changing her clothes or swallowing a cup of tea, she goes racing off (with her father's blessing forsooth!) first, on foot, then in a carriage, and then on horseback in some strange eighteenth century equivalent of a car chase in order to prevent a duel. By the way, duels are conducted according to a set of rules, none of which are even acknowledged in the "duel" portrayed here, let alone followed. Which makes what happens not a duel, but a roadside assault. But again, none of the characters even questions that for a moment.Again and again and again the period details are just wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. The specifics, names, manners, words, games, rules of precedence and behavior, choices, are nails on a blackboard wrong much of the time. But more than that, the people are just wrong. These are not people of the eighteenth century, they don't exhibit the beliefs or the world view of people of the eighteenth century. These are people who would be much more at home on Jerry Springer, pretending, not very convincingly, to be from the eighteenth.I really am at a loss here. Is this supposed to be some sort of Flashman-like comedy? You know, where the joke is in the divide between the morals and manners professed and the morals and manners expressed? If so, throw me a hint, throw me a bone. Because honestly what I'm reading here is a somewhat cheesy romance novel dressed up with some vague historical and magical set dressing which is in no way integral or important to the story. Don't even get me started on the magical set dressing. The whole business of manipulating glamour could be instantly replaced by painting watercolors or playing the piano without changing the story in any way. Which makes the magic nothing more than a decoration, which means this is not actually a fantasy novel. Nor is it a regency novel. It's a contemporary romance in a Halloween costume.
Most helpful positive review
3 customers found this helpful
Jane and Melody are si...
Jane and Melody are sisters in need of husbands in a time when propriety was everything and estates were entailed away. Lovely Melody seems to have an interest in either Mr. Dunkirk or Captain Livingston, the nephew of Lady FitzCameron. Jane hopes to attract the notice of Mr. Dunkirk herself; she may be plain, but she is quite an accomplished lady, not least in the ability to work glamour. Yes, you read right. In this Austenesque fantasy, working magic - known as "glamour" - is an art much like painting or music that could be added to a woman's (or man's) repertoire. When one thinks of it as this type of accomplishment, the idea is not so foreign really, and gives the fantasy a light touch. This is an inventive tale that cleverly nods to Jane Austen while succeeding as a story in its own right.
Most helpful negative review
2 customers found this helpful
Im sorry but this jus...
I'm sorry but this just drove me nuts. I'm kind of at a loss for what other people saw in it. Again and again I found myself channeling Diego Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." Some examples:Both of my girls are too sensible for such nonsense.""Yes. We are sensible girls. ...And so we should have no trouble in using our sensibility to convince you of the importance of new gowns..." No. Sensibility is not the ability to be sensible. It is the ability to be sensiTIVE, and open to emotional and aesthetic experience. Anyone embarking upon an Austen pastiche should KNOW that!! Dammit Janet!!!!!!Buffington expects me to sit in on the next round of rubber Again, no. Rubber is not a kind of game. Rubber means the best of three rounds. You could play a rubber of any card game but you would never say a round of rubber. I don't think that word means what you think it means.a quicksilver of unease flourished through Jane's joints Um. That phrase is just wrong. Its clunky and awkward and makes no sense. If quicksilver is serving as a noun here, well the noun quicksilver means mercury and if she has mercury flourishing in her joints you might want to get her to a doctor. If, as seems more likely, quicksilver is supposed to be an adjective, then what is it describing please? It seems to me there's a word missing from this sentence. Perhaps a quicksilver feeling of unease flourished (honestly, flourished?) or a quicksilver frisson, or a quicksilver tremor or something but as this sentence stands its just goofy, and I'm sorry but when vague random things start flourishing in people's joints I'm just...ugh.Rendered in far greater detail than Mr Vincent had employed in the scenery for his shadow-play, Jane could still sense his hand in the graceful line of the trunks. Please! Get control of your referents! As this sentence stands it says that JANE was rendered in greater detail than the scenery. Well I should hope so, being as how she's a person and not a backdrop.There is page after page after page of this stuff. Gack. Just... gack. Is it too much to ask for Austen pastiche to at least aspire to prose that is not actively painful to read? Austen's prose was lithe, elegant, balanced, lovely. If you are going to imitate her at least make a better effort than this nonsense. As much as the style made me nuts, the content made me more nuts. I mean come on. The two sisters at the center of the story spend most of their time backstabbing and one upping each other in hot pursuit of available men by all means necessary. They lie, cheat and steal, I'm not just spouting a cliché, they actually do all of those things. They eavesdrop, they tell tales on each other. They act like two first graders squabbling over a toy. The novelist keeps telling me these are loving sisters, but that's not what she shows me. What she shows me is pettiness and endless rationalizations for pettiness.The protagonist discovers that the man she's been pursuing for most of the novel has done something horribly immoral murdered , I say again, murdered his sister's husband and it does not appear to give her one moment of pause . But when she gets a better offer she drops him at once. She makes promises to other characters and then breaks them as soon as they become difficult. She always has a reason for failing to live up to her commitments, she's full of self justifications, but I would trust her about as far as I could throw a Buick. Plus some of this stuff is just absurd. At one point the main character passes out and lies outside on the ground overnight. !! She then hops up, apparently exhibiting no ill effects except a slight headache and some messy hair, and goes home where no one questions the fact that she's been MISSING for twelve hours. Then, without changing her clothes or swallowing a cup of tea, she goes racing off (with her father's blessing forsooth!) first, on foot, then in a carriage, and then on horseback in some strange eighteenth century equivalent of a car chase in order to prevent a duel. By the way, duels are conducted according to a set of rules, none of which are even acknowledged in the "duel" portrayed here, let alone followed. Which makes what happens not a duel, but a roadside assault. But again, none of the characters even questions that for a moment.Again and again and again the period details are just wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. The specifics, names, manners, words, games, rules of precedence and behavior, choices, are nails on a blackboard wrong much of the time. But more than that, the people are just wrong. These are not people of the eighteenth century, they don't exhibit the beliefs or the world view of people of the eighteenth century. These are people who would be much more at home on Jerry Springer, pretending, not very convincingly, to be from the eighteenth.I really am at a loss here. Is this supposed to be some sort of Flashman-like comedy? You know, where the joke is in the divide between the morals and manners professed and the morals and manners expressed? If so, throw me a hint, throw me a bone. Because honestly what I'm reading here is a somewhat cheesy romance novel dressed up with some vague historical and magical set dressing which is in no way integral or important to the story. Don't even get me started on the magical set dressing. The whole business of manipulating glamour could be instantly replaced by painting watercolors or playing the piano without changing the story in any way. Which makes the magic nothing more than a decoration, which means this is not actually a fantasy novel. Nor is it a regency novel. It's a contemporary romance in a Halloween costume.
1-5 of 63 reviews

The mention of Jane Au...

The mention of Jane Austen or Regency England together with fantasy can be either a good thing or a bad thing. I was not that enamored with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, for example. Although there were things about it I liked, I never really identified with the characters enough to truly care about them or was caught up into the story. The Magicians and Mrs. Quent captured more of the quality of Jane Eyre, especially in one-third of the book, and I'm waiting for the sequel to pass judgment. My knowledge of the time period comes primarily from Jane herself, Bronte's Jane Eyre, and Georgette Heyer's well-researched romances of the era. I have not been one to do much reading of Austen wannabes and have sworn off most Heyer imitators as well, preferring to stick with the best. Settling into Shades of Milk and Honey felt like settling into an Austen book. It catches the ambiance, the pacing, the phrasing. The characters and story continually catch one in looking for Marianne and Elinor in the two sisters, for Mrs. Bentley in Mrs. Ellsworth, for Mr. Darcy in Vincent, and for Mr. Knightley in Mr. Dunkirk. And yet this is not just a pastiche or imitation. Just as these same characteristics are what one looks for when moving from one Austen novel to another, yet each is unique in its own way, Kowal is also able to build her own story and characters while still evoking the atmosphere. She acknowledges that she moves further away from the principles of her preceptress in the denouement of the story, but perhaps more in the direction of a Bronte rather than modern times. I enjoyed the story very much, reading it in a single afternoon. I was engaged by the characters, as well as by the addition of the fantasy element of glamour in a way that was not intrusive or jarring but that was central to the story. I recommend it for an entertaining read.

I thoroughly enjoyed t...

I thoroughly enjoyed this Regency-style fantasy novel. I sped through it in just a few hours -- the style, while reminiscent of Jane Austen, is much simpler and faster than those nineteenth century classics -- and I found myself quite caught up in the fates of the main characters. The heroine, Jane Ellsworth, is one of the best Austen-redux characters I've ever read -- she is plain, first of all, but very talented in "the womanly arts", including the use of magical glamour (there is the fantasy twist) and, of course, dashed clever and sensible. I find this combination of traits to be a perfect transformation of the typical (I use that word reluctantly) Austen heroine into a realistic twenty-first century heroine -- retaining the most admirable characteristics, but turning the physical emphasis on its head, so that we -- the generations of the perpetually self-doubting, thanks to our culture -- can relate in a genuine and complete way. Jane Ellsworth struggles with the way people treat her due to her plainness, but she is also blind to the genuine regard that some people feel because she dismisses herself in a similar way; her journey toward true self-awareness is a significant part of this novel's emotional meaning. This is, naturally, a romance. The fantasy here is light -- no wizards or dragons or big special effects scenes -- and, like the novels that inspired it, this book focuses on the minutia of everyday. At least, everyday in a world where magic is sort of like glorified needlepoint. The interplay between the characters is the real delight here and one thrills as the various figures are revealed for who they truly are and as the romantic entanglements get sorted. I won't spoil who ends up where and with whom, of course, but I will say that this novel contains one of the better proposal scenes I've read in a Regency-style novel. I found it charming. Charming, in fact, really sums up the entire package. Some readers will be frustrated by the simpler aspects and the occasionally uneven pacing -- the end comes all at a gallop, but I am reminded that it often happened that way in Austen too, and Kowal is entirely forthcoming about the fact that Austen was the key inspiration for the novel. If one goes into this expecting the level of detail and brilliance that Austen's own work consistently displayed, however, one may be disappointed. No redux can approach that level, but Kowal's originality and fresh elements -- including the limitations of the magic, which make everything more plausible -- make this a wonderful read in and of itself. Approached as a bright, entertaining homage to a favorite writer and light, clever read in its own right, this novel shines.

Jane and Melody are si...

Jane and Melody are sisters in need of husbands in a time when propriety was everything and estates were entailed away. Lovely Melody seems to have an interest in either Mr. Dunkirk or Captain Livingston, the nephew of Lady FitzCameron. Jane hopes to attract the notice of Mr. Dunkirk herself; she may be plain, but she is quite an accomplished lady, not least in the ability to work glamour. Yes, you read right. In this Austenesque fantasy, working magic - known as "glamour" - is an art much like painting or music that could be added to a woman's (or man's) repertoire. When one thinks of it as this type of accomplishment, the idea is not so foreign really, and gives the fantasy a light touch. This is an inventive tale that cleverly nods to Jane Austen while succeeding as a story in its own right.

Pros: quick pace, seam...

Pros: quick pace, seamlessly adds magic to historically accurate pre-Victorian setting Cons: entirely character driven, ending felt rushed Two British Regency era sisters, one beautiful the other accomplished, vie for the attentions of men. Despite her mastery of the womanly arts of painting, piano and glamour, 'plain' Jane Ellsworth despairs of finding a husband and is jealous of her younger sister's good looks and easy manner. The novel's a quick read, with short chapters and lots of dialogue. Though not in first person, we see the world through Jane's eyes, as she tries to deaden her feelings for Mr. Dunkirk for fear that he's interested in her sister. Meanwhile she learns more about magic by examining the techniques of a visiting glamourist, much to his annoyance. Like the Jane Austen novels it was based on, Shades of Milk and Honey is entirely character driven and has no plot beyond whether Jane will end up married and to whom. Those who enjoy Victorian literature will appreciate the attention to detail Kowal puts into her work. The addition of magic - the only non-historical attribute - adds an interesting element to the story and is seamlessly integrated into the Victorian culture. Jane could be a Mary Sue character were it not for her rivalry with her sister. Always proper, Jane suppresses her emotions to the point that her art is lifeless, despite her talent. While the climax was dramatic, the ending felt a bit rushed. Everything was too neatly tied up in too few pages. If you enjoy Regency literature, this is a great read, whether you're into fantasy or not.

Picture Jane Austen li...

Picture Jane Austen lite with the addition of magic called glamour because it's an art whose purpose is to create beautiful illusions and you'll have a good idea of what this lovely, airy novel is like. Set in an alternative Regency England it borrows Austen's charming cads, lovesick girls, silly marriage obsessed mothers, stern but honorable suitors, and devoted sisters with opposite temperaments, but it has none of Austen's sharp wit or social commentary. Instead it's simply charming and engaging, so it's perfect for when you want to be enchanted but not challenged. I enjoyed it enough that I'm eager to read its sequel, which takes two of the characters to mainland Europe for their honeymoon just as Napoleon escapes from Elba and the continent is thrown into turmoil.

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Electrode, Comp-505166034, DC-prod-az-southcentralus-5, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3-ebf-2, SHA-8c8e8dc1c07e462c80c1b82096c2da2858100078, CID-834e2350-8d2-16efca967831a3, Generated: Fri, 13 Dec 2019 00:29:51 GMT