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Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories) [Hardcover]

Mary Robinette Kowal

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Book Description

3 May 2013 Glamourist Histories
Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane's family, but quickly turn restless. The year is unseasonably cold. No one wants to be outside and Mr. Ellsworth is concerned by the harvest, since a bad one may imperil Melody's dowry. And Melody has concerns of her own, given the inadequate selection of eligible bachelors. When Jane and Vincent receive a commission from a prominent family in London, they decide to take it, and take Melody with them. They hope the change of scenery will do her good and her marriage prospects-and mood-will be brighter in London. Once there, talk is of nothing but the crop failures caused by the cold and increased unemployment of the cold mongers, which have provoked riots in several cities to the north. With each passing day, it's more difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, none of which really helps Melody's chances for romance. It's not long before Jane and Vincent realize that in addition to getting Melody to the church on time, they must take on one small task: solving a crisis of international proportions.

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More About the Author

Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo nominee for her story "Evil Robot Monkey." Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov's, and several Year's Best anthologies. She is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor 2010), the fantasy novel that Jane Austen might have written.

Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve. She also records fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi.

She is serving her second term as Secretary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Mary lives in Portland, OR with her husband Rob and eleven manual typewriters. Visit www.maryrobinettekowal.com.

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The setting and the intricate techniques of glamour manipulation continue to intrigue, and the thoughtful portrayal of the difficulties of Jane and Vincent's affectionately nontraditional partnership is thoroughly engaging.--Publishers Weekly on Glamour in Glass. Kowal does a startlingly good job of presenting a mindset that is very alien to me.... The language was delightfully in keeping with the time period, while not being needlessly cumbersome and opaque. The story and characterization were lovely, and I enjoyed the world-building, too.Patrick Rothfuss, bestselling author of The Wise Man's Fear, on Glamour in Glass --Various

Book Description

The magical book that might result if Jane Austen's Emma were set against the Luddite uprising. 1816, and glamourists Jane and David return to Regency England. But in a world where magic is real, nothing is quite what it seems. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen-Inspired Fantasy 2 April 2013
By H. P. - Published on Amazon.com
Without a Summer is the sequel to Glamour in Glass and the third volume in Kowal's Jane-Austen-with-magic Glamourist Histories. It could, I think, be enjoyed without reading the two prior volumes, but I would suggest starting with Shades of Milk and Honey. As the title suggests, Without a Summer is set in 1816, or the Year Without a Summer. The weather figures prominently in the plot, along with previously (albeit thinly) introduced glamourists called Coldmongers, the Luddite movement, and that second-most English of pursuits, the denigration of the Irish.

I greatly preferred Shades of Milk and Honey to Glamour in Glass, so I was glad to see Without a Summer is a bit of return to the latter. Jane and Vincent are back in England, Jane's younger sister's search for a husband becomes a plot point again, and Jane's miscarriage and the glamour in glass are largely ignored, if not forgotten. Which is not to say that Jane and Vincent do not continue to bear emotional and physical scars from the events of the last book.

Kowal wisely returns to her forte, witty dialogue and romantic intrigue. The love and tribulations of Jane and Vincent's marriage is given deep attention to great effect. Again, Jane's ambition outpaces her ability for tradecraft. Kowal, on the other hand, is much more comfortable in this milieu. She deftly pulls the strings of a admirably complex plot and, in the process, delivers some phenomenal legal theater.

Disclosure: This review is of an ARC won in a random drawing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Regency intrigue with lush details and a touch of romance 2 April 2013
By M Nicole Knowlton - Published on Amazon.com
Why I read this book:

Mary Robinette Kowal is among my current favorite authors to read. Largely this is due to her series, the Glamourist Histories and getting to know her through her podcasting and social media (and paper letter) presence. I was lucky enough to win an advanced copy of the third book in her series, Without a Summer.

My one sentence summary:

Jane and Vincent return to London to resume their work and find Melody a husband but end up uncovering a plot to change the balance of power within the government.


Once again Kowal level of detail about regency customs and couture are a treat to read. I felt for Jane and Melody having to tromp through the mucky streets of London. The romance between Jane and Vincent deepens as they settle into a routine only to be confronted by their past or their own sort-comings. The flaws in Kowal's main characters make them more real and likable. I'm a sucker for political intrigue. As soon as there were hints of rebellion brewing, I was hooked. Vincent's family is particularly terrifying, but Jane holds her own among that den of vipers. Once again the last 100 pages were real page turners and I didn't want to put the book down once the climax started to evolve.


The pacing at the beginning was closer to the first book in the series rather than the second. By page 100, I was starting to get a little worried. Then Kowal started pulling together the strands she had sprinkled in between the drawing room drama of finding Melody a husband. My only big complaint was the lack of reference to the Jane and Vincent's tragedy at the end of the second book. They resume their behind closed doors relations without concern as to the potential consequences.

Final verdict:

Without a Summer is an enjoyable mix of regency adventure with a dash of romance. High recommend.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That Was Fun 15 April 2013
By Kurt Joseph Pankau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I alpha read on this book, ergo, my name is in the acknowledgments. And I'd be lying if I said that didn't make me a little excited.

The third book in Kowal's Glamourist Histories follows Jane and Vincent to London with Jane's sister Melody. Jane and Vincent are working for a Baron and hoping to find Melody a husband amid, but their plans are complicated by riots and a seemingly endless winter.

I've enjoyed Kowal's other books, and I'd place this one at the same level as Glamour In Glass. Without a Summer is less overtly dramatic, but the story is more personal and feels a bit more plausible because of it. It starts a little slowly, but by chapter two I was engaged and I read the last third in basically one sitting. Kowal layers in some themes of intolerance with a deft hand.

More than that I don't want to say, except that if you enjoy fantasy you should give this series a chance. It's singularly unique in the genre and while I'm hardly in the demo for this sort of book, a well-written anything can be quite good.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As the First Two 5 April 2013
By Meredith J. Mansfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this in three days. I never do that. I like to savor a book, but sometimes one just pulls me onward. This was one of those.

Jane and Vincent's relationship just continues to grow through adversity--and they have some adversity to face in this one. And I'll be interested to see how Melody's character develops now, too. (I didn't much care for her in the first book.)

In fact, my only complaint is that I've finished it already. Now I have to find something else to read and I doubt it will be as good.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and delightful 20 May 2013
By Patricia S. Bowne - Published on Amazon.com
I read this without having read the first two in the series, but it was so well-crafted that I didn't feel lost for a moment. It was thoroughly delightful, full of variety and detail. The characters were realistic, individual, and imperfect in a believable way. The last part of the book, when things became suddenly very serious, was a welcome contrast to the first part, showing what lay under the glamour and frivolity of the regency social scene. It's a long time since I got so much pure enjoyment out of a book.

I'm definitely going to buy the other two novels and spend more time with these characters, in this world.
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