Review Blog

Feb 29 2016

The Glamourist histories by Mary Robinette Kowal

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Corsair, 2013
Shades of milk and honey. ISBN 9781472102492
Glamour in Glass. ISBN 9781472102522
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Magic. Regency England. Romance. In a fine tribute to Jane Austen in Shades of milk and honey, Mary Robinette Kowal vividly describes an alternate Regency England, where talented people can perform glamour, a form of illusion. Jane Ellsworth is a woman ahead of her time, not only can she perform glamour like men, but she wants to learn more about her art. However she is expected to behave like a genteel woman and marry well, even though she is constantly in the shadow of her beautiful sister. When the glamourist Mr Vincent visits her area, love comes unexpectedly. In the second in the series, Glamour in glass, Jane is in Belgium on her honeymoon with Vincent, when Napoleon escapes from his exile in Elba. Jane finds herself having to use all her powers of glamour to rescue her husband when he is imprisoned, accused of being a spy.
Mary Robinette Kowal has succeeded in creating a very credible world, with all the restrictions binding women that would be found in Regency England, while adding in a world that takes the magic of glamour as a matter of course. Her descriptions of glamour, the work that both Jane and Vincent do to create amazing illusions, are refreshingly unique and quite fascinating.
The character if Jane is well developed, she is sensible and loving, but always overlooked when compared with her beautiful sister Melody, who attracts all the suitable men in the district. Her skills and loyalty however are noticed by Vincent, a suitably taciturn hero.
Glamour in Glass follows and will also delight readers who enjoyed the first in the series. Once again the plight of women in the Regency period is highlighted, when Jane is not entrusted with the secret work that Vincent is doing for the government. However it is her skill and courage that rescues Vincent from imprisonment and helps the English cause.
Readers who enjoy the works of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen will pick this series up with delight and would also enjoy Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. Both novels by Mary Robinette Kowal were nominated for Nebula Awards, Locus Awards and Romantic Times awards and there are more in the series.
Pat Pledger

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