Sunday, July 02, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Ellsworths of Long Parkmead had the regard of their neighbours in every respect. ~ Opening of Shades of Milk and Honey 



Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor Books, 2010
Fantasy (Historical Romance); 306 pgs
Source: I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure.

Shades of Milk and Honey was an enjoyable light fantasy romance. Influenced by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey bears some similarities to it, but ultimately is very different from the classic novel.

The novel is set in Dorchester, among the society, where everyone has a reputation to maintain and the roles of women and men are quite formal and proper. There is the overbearing mother and rather laid back father, both of whom want to find good husbands for their daughters. Jane is rather plain in appearance while her younger sister, Melody, is a great beauty. Unlike her sister, however, Jane has a strong talent with glamour, the magical ability to weave illusions of sorts. Jane expects she will live her life as a spinster, and most of the focus is on her sister, who is sure to catch a good husband. As it happens, the person Melody has her eyes set on, is the very person Jane favors for herself. Only, she knows the likelihood of that match is next to nil. Why would anyone choose Jane over her sister, after all?

A mysterious artist, a soldier and childhood friend, and the sister of their neighbor, all come to town for separate reasons, but will all play a part in the events that follow. Reputations are at stake, secrets are discovered and hearts are sure to be broken. Jane and her sister’s relationship is put to the test, at the risk of ruining it altogether.

Jane is clearly a reasonable woman, even if insecure about her own talents. She’s really quite gifted in magic and underestimates herself. This only endeared her to me more, however. I admit I was not as taken with her sister Melody, who came across as spoiled and selfish. To be fair, however, as the story progresses, the reader gains insight into Melody's behavior and thought process. Both she and Jane are not the same women at the end of the book that they are at the beginning.

While a quiet novel at first, this one takes an interesting  turn towards the end as the climax builds and comes to a head. It wasn't what I expected, but then it was fitting when all was said and done. It made sense.

Many thanks to the person who recommended I read Shades of Milk and Honey! Even my husband has expressed an interest in giving this one a try.

You can learn more about Mary Robinette Kowal and her books on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.


© 2017, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

26 comments:

  1. This sounds so good! My library doesn't have this book but they have a two of her other books so I may go check those out first!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eustacia - I enjoyed it! I ended up having to buy a used copy because my library didn't have it either.

      Delete
  2. I know a lot of people who would love this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - It's light and fun. Perfect for a summer read. :-)

      Delete
  3. I don't read enough in this genre. I always enjoy it when I do, though. This book sounds interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christy - I enjoyed this one. It was different from the usual fantasy or paranormal romance I gravitate towards, and so made a nice change of pace.

      Delete
  4. Sounds like a perfect example of magical realism, only historical! It sounds good, but I almost never allow time for adult fiction *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna Marie - Yes, it was a nice blend of both. I enjoyed it. :-)

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Lark - I am glad I got the chance to read it!

      Delete
  6. I really need to read the last book of this series! It's been too long. Maybe I'll need a reread of the previous books...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nikki - I do want to read further in the series. I enjoyed this one.

      Delete
  7. This does sound good, I like it when I can't figure out how something will end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so often am able to figure out the ending that it's a nice surprise when I can't.

      Delete
  8. I like it when characters develop over the course of the book. That said, I just read a book last month that had a somewhat similar sounding ending (it came as a surprise, but it did make sense) that wasn't one of my faves because one of the characters had a seemingly abrupt personality change. I'm glad you liked this one and thanks for the review!
    ~Litha Nelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Litha Nelle - I like it when a character grows over the course of a book too. That's too bad about the book you had just finished where the character had an abrupt personality change. That can pull me out of a book just as abruptly.

      Delete
  9. This one has been on my radar but I haven't really paid enough attention to it. I really think I would enjoy it so I'm really glad to see this review! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katherine - I wouldn't have picked this one up had it not been recommended, I don't think. I am glad it was though. It was a fun read. :-)

      Delete
  10. I couldn't get through P&P but I like the sound of this one. Maybe just a bit of fantasy really adds to the appeal for me. Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carole - You might like this one better. Pride and Prejudice takes some getting used to the way it is written.

      Delete
  11. This sounds like a fun read and isn't that a lovely cover? Really makes you think of Jane Austen novels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iliana - I like the cover too. The e-book cover is more modern and YA looking, but the above cover (the older one) is the one I have for my print copy.

      Delete
  12. It does sound like a fun read! A little formal Regency romance and magic--that makes a great mix.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Interesting. I love different takes on Pride & Prejudice (who doesn't?). I'll have to check this one out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacy - It shares some similarities, but is definitely different. I enjoyed it.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.