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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glamorous enhancement
This is one of the growing family of books inspired by Jane Austen. The plot is an amalgam of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma”, with a little “Persuasion” thrown in. However the story becomes far more elaborate as it progresses, so that I was kept guessing until the end whether the heroine was going to end up with Mr Darcy or Mr...
Published 5 months ago by Anna Lowenstein

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2.0 out of 5 stars Austen it ain't
The original idea of combining Austen with magic could be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the setup doesn't quite work. As a Regency novel it is just too thin on the richness of an Austen novel and its characters. Kowal's characters do not rise above cliche. As a fantasy novel is is just too thin on the magical background and magic as a concept. And as an engaging story it...
Published 3 months ago by Sisalka


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glamorous enhancement, 4 Feb 2014
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This is one of the growing family of books inspired by Jane Austen. The plot is an amalgam of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma”, with a little “Persuasion” thrown in. However the story becomes far more elaborate as it progresses, so that I was kept guessing until the end whether the heroine was going to end up with Mr Darcy or Mr Knightley (since it was clear from the outset that Captain Wentworth wasn’t in the running).

What saves this book from being just another Jane Austen imitation is the addition of “glamour”. This is an art form based, apparently, on plucking folds out of the ether and then working them to create sensory illusions. In the course of the book we gradually discover more about glamour, which is used not only to produce visual works of art, but also sounds and scents. It is a suitable occupation for young ladies along with drawing and music, and can be used to enhance both. It is clear that the author has developed the concept of glamour in great detail, even giving it a history, as there is a reference to a system of notation which already existed in Ptolemy’s day. However, there is no single explanation of glamour in the course of the novel, but rather hints and suggestions are dropped throughout the book, in the same way that in the fictional world it describes, glamour may add an additional touch to a painting or a piece of music.

The language and social mores are well done on the whole, although I noticed the occasional turn of phrase which, while it did not contain any words which might not have been used by the original Miss Austen, would probably not have appeared in that particular combination. I also doubt whether a lady of that era would have been called Melody or Joy.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money, 31 May 2014
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A. S. L. Lunt (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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If you are a Lisa Kleypas or Kathryn Kennedy fan do not buy this book. I sadly found the story very tedious and slow. I felt there was very little chemistry between the characters and that they were neither likeable or unlikeable just boring. I love Austen but this had no fire or passion between the characters. Very disappointing.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Austen it ain't, 21 April 2014
This review is from: Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories) (Paperback)
The original idea of combining Austen with magic could be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the setup doesn't quite work. As a Regency novel it is just too thin on the richness of an Austen novel and its characters. Kowal's characters do not rise above cliche. As a fantasy novel is is just too thin on the magical background and magic as a concept. And as an engaging story it just hasn't enough happening. Lots of stilted conversations and repetitively repressive conventions do not make an interesting plot. Perhaps this is weak because it is a first in a series (benefit of the doubt made for the second star) but I'm not sure that I will bother to find out.

There are better historical novels to read - with or without magic as decorations. Borrow from the library or a friend if you are that pushed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, 11 Feb 2014
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I love period drama, and this is period with a twist.

I will be reading the next instalment, because how can you leave a story this good when there is a sequel???

Unthinkable!!!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Milk & Honey, 15 Jan 2014
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This book is a genteel 'Regency' style book with a dash of magic - imagine Pride & Prejudice with glamour. Imagine a world where as well as improving her sewing, painting and pianoforte, a young lady had to opportunity to decorate and embellish, with the help of glamours. Unfortunately, due to the times, this is only allowed in home (where it is encouraged) but never, for a lady, can it become anything else.

This is a world where ladies are still set to 'marry well', come out in Society and become spinsters if they are not married within a seemly time. Jane is roughly the age where she can be a chaperone, rather than being chaperoned, and she is quite content with this although she does have her eye set on someone. Unfortunately he seems rather more attracted to her sister, the beautiful Melody. However, as we all know, although the surface may be calm in these books, the passion runs deep. Before she knows it, Jane is at the heart of secrets and trying to do her best by everyone.

I thought this book was very well written, which characters that you can associate with. You are left guessing right until the end as to how this will work out for everyone. Mary Robinette Kowal has done a wonderful job of keeping the story moving along but still giving you time to adjust to the period in which it is set. A lovely light read perfect for any historical fiction fans out there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars an absolute joy, 5 Jan 2014
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I love jane Austen's novels but have found re telling, sequels or additions light reading at best. In introducing the element of glamour,
not slavishly following but being inspired by the originals Ms Kowal has created a most enjoyable book. I look forward to reading more of her work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable, 3 Jan 2014
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A well-thought-out fantasy that uses familiar elements from Jane Austen (and her literary followers) to create a clever story blending a comedy of manners with magic.

I particularly liked the way that the magic is portrayed. Rather than being the more familiar "fireballs and transformations" stuff that appears in so many fantasy novels, this "glamour" creates sensory illusions (sight, sound and smell) that people use to enhance their homes.

Great fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable!, 25 Dec 2013
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I found this a fun book, more in the style of Austen than a modern Regency Romance, but with the added fantastical twist of a gentle kind of magic. A proper comedy of manners, replete with secret loves, misunderstandings, jealous siblings, rogues, heroes (dashing and otherwise) - an all round pleasant romp! The fantasy elements are enough to be interesting and move the plot along without throwing the reader completely out of the period mood. Overall, a lovely gentle historical fantasy with some brilliant characters. I will be buying others in this series!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit daft really., 25 Jan 2014
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This is a standard historical romance, a bit formulaic but quite readable. Except for this thing of 'glamour', an every day magic that the heroine of the book is rather good at. It is used in the way we would do a bit of interior décor. Instead of going to B and Q to buy some wallpaper, they make a 'glamural', a mural which looks real. Apparently men are very impressed if you have the talent of glamour, they like to think you will make their house look really lovely with your marvellous magicky skills. It's an okay book for romantic fiction, just try to think that in this world glamouring is like playing the pianoforte in other historical novels.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to stop, 11 Jan 2014
The language and vocab was so distracting that it was impossible to even think about the characters. Ridiculous overuse of the word "glamour". Sorry I dont often give up with a book but....
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Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories)
Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories) by Mary Robinette Kowal (Paperback - 3 Oct 2013)
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