Customer Reviews for

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 64 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

One of the best Austen-inspired novels I've read

I will begin by saying that when it comes to Austen-sequels and other such fiction, I am not even the slightest-bit interested. I will read Georgette Heyer sometimes, but as a mean, I am not interested in imitators.

Mary Robinette Kowal is no imitator. Her style and ...
I will begin by saying that when it comes to Austen-sequels and other such fiction, I am not even the slightest-bit interested. I will read Georgette Heyer sometimes, but as a mean, I am not interested in imitators.

Mary Robinette Kowal is no imitator. Her style and voice brought me right back to that feeling I got when I first read Jane Austen's work long ago. It was like discovering another fantasy book by Jane that she'd kept secret from the world.

I fell in love with the characters as surely as I fell in love with Austen's. The story was engaging and quite clever and her gift of description pulled me right into the story, and whenever I was forced to put it down, I would spend the day wondering what was to come. I did not want this book to end! I'm so glad there's another! I'm off to buy it as we speak.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves Austen, but who also enjoys an imaginative tale with magic and mystery.

posted by MirandaMayer on December 25, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

bizarre book...

The book was mildly entertaining...but it's a mistake to try to tout this novel to Jane Austen lovers b/c we're bound to react, "It's nothing like her!"

The main Ellsworth family is an obvious but flat copy of the Bennetts (Pride & Prejudice) and the language never...
The book was mildly entertaining...but it's a mistake to try to tout this novel to Jane Austen lovers b/c we're bound to react, "It's nothing like her!"

The main Ellsworth family is an obvious but flat copy of the Bennetts (Pride & Prejudice) and the language never gets beyond feeling like a light imitation of Austen. The characters are flat and so are the relationships between them.

The idea of glamour is interesting, though, and it did remind me of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

A light read, best to get it used or from a library :)

posted by 2ndlady on April 21, 2012

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  • Posted December 25, 2011

    One of the best Austen-inspired novels I've read

    I will begin by saying that when it comes to Austen-sequels and other such fiction, I am not even the slightest-bit interested. I will read Georgette Heyer sometimes, but as a mean, I am not interested in imitators.

    Mary Robinette Kowal is no imitator. Her style and voice brought me right back to that feeling I got when I first read Jane Austen's work long ago. It was like discovering another fantasy book by Jane that she'd kept secret from the world.

    I fell in love with the characters as surely as I fell in love with Austen's. The story was engaging and quite clever and her gift of description pulled me right into the story, and whenever I was forced to put it down, I would spend the day wondering what was to come. I did not want this book to end! I'm so glad there's another! I'm off to buy it as we speak.

    I recommend this book to anyone who loves Austen, but who also enjoys an imaginative tale with magic and mystery.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    bizarre book...

    The book was mildly entertaining...but it's a mistake to try to tout this novel to Jane Austen lovers b/c we're bound to react, "It's nothing like her!"

    The main Ellsworth family is an obvious but flat copy of the Bennetts (Pride & Prejudice) and the language never gets beyond feeling like a light imitation of Austen. The characters are flat and so are the relationships between them.

    The idea of glamour is interesting, though, and it did remind me of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

    A light read, best to get it used or from a library :)

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    original and entertaining

    In England, plain-looking twenty-eight years old Jane Ellsworth is jealous of her beautiful sister Melody's looks. On the other hand, although she has some talent Melody is envious of Jane's magical glamour ability.

    Vulgar glamour artist Mr. Vincent is commissioned to create living murals in a nearby mansion. Reticent when it comes to males, Jane wants Mr. Vincent to mentor her in glamour usage; she also is attracted to him and wishes he would reciprocate. However, she has a minor hope he will tutor her and no hope he will desire her as men want Melody. On the other hand she is concerned with one of Melody's myriad of admirers who seems nasty with a personal agenda that she fears will harm her sibling.

    This is an interesting ironic look at Regency-like England ( for that matter it could be any society in which the aristocracy eats cake and everyone else battle over their crumbs) through a fantasy lens. The characterization is solid and the sense of being there is strong as the descriptions are vivid. The key to the story line is the ironic use of glamour by the aristocracy not to improve society but for selfish cosmetic use. Although the story line at times slows down with the excesses of the affluent, readers will enjoy what happened to Jane as she seeks her glamour groove.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2010

    Fine First Novel, though not at all like Jane Austen

    If you've read a lot of Austen, this novel is the lightning bug to Austen's lightning. Some of Austen's characters are recognizable, but as traits, not as people. There is some awkward prose (and a lack of Austen's witty style). The story takes a very long time to get going. But about halfway it finds its feet, and though the villain is obvious from the start, it's fun to see how things resolve. If you like Regency romances, you should enjoy this book.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2013

    Excellent excursion to a Magical Austenverse

    This novel starts with a Jane-Austen-type universe and tweaks it with bursts of magic. It also features a heroine whose sensibility is a bit closer to a 21st C. woman than to the Misses Dashwood. In the wrong hands, the conceit would be cloying, but Ms. Kowal possesses the "right hands". This was a quick, fun read--for me an entertaining read over a Thanksgiving holiay.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013

    Good magical realism read

    I have never read any Austen outside of college so I can't comment on this novel as an homage but chose it because of my love of magical realism. On that front the story most certainly delivers. The glamour (magic) is effortlessly made part of a story that is essentially one about societal intrigue and romance. I enjoyed it immensely, in no small part because I pictured Vincent (one of the male leads in the story) as Richard Armitage :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A fine, light entertainment

    I don't think I'm in the target demographic for this book. But I enjoyed it, anyway. I bought it as a gift for my daughter with the degree in English Lit and read it before she could take it home. Since I don't have much background in historical romance, specifically Jane Austen, it's difficult for me to make comparisons in that realm. I just allowed the story to take me where it wanted. Where it took me was to a genteel world of preaning society, where appearances and reputations are put above personal needs and desires. It's a world where art and culture take precedence over doing real work and the magical art of glamour has been added to the mix. To my naive perceptions and untrained modern eye, the author does a fine job of bringing this world alive, weaving together the fantasy and romantic aspects of the novel in a way that kept me turning pages right through to the end. I wish a few more mysteries had been introduced sooner. It took a while for the tension to build, other than the romantic frustrations of the main character. Some reviewers argue that the impact of this magical art ought to have had a greater impact on society than what is depicted here. But since we are seeing only a small corner of the world, essentially a couple of country estates, I think it is difficult to make that judgement. And while the actual Jane Austen may have intended to make deeper commentary on her society, I don't think that's how this homage was intended at all. It's really just a light entertainment, and (to quote Mr. Vincent from the novel) "Illusions should be entrancing without someone looking behind the scenes to see how they are made."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    Not my "cuppa"

    A reviewer I know likes to ask if a book is someone's "cuppa"--by that she is asking if it is that reader's "cup of tea", something that he or she finds appealing in a general sort of way. This book is not my cuppa. I only occasionally enjoy Austen pastiches, and this book did not appeal to me. As a scholar of nineteenth-century British literature, I was most disappointed by the author's failure to capture the sharpness of Austen's prose. I read Austen for more than just romance--I read her for her words. This author cannot compare, and in writing a pastiche of Austen, she draws attention to that fact.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Amazing book

    I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were engaging and the wit and cleverness of the story makes you feel like you have stepped into an Austen book. Very well done! I look forward to hopefully another regency style book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mary Robinette Kowal is a modern day Jane Austen with this book!

    Mary Robinette Kowal is a modern day Jane Austen with this book! It was absolutely exceptional from start to finish. I was so quick to lose myself within the pages and in the magical world Kowal created.

    While the book definitely has similarities to some of Austen's stories, the author expertly made it her own and suitable for modern audiences. The unique introduction of glamour into this Victorian-like setting made the entire book dreamy and magical.

    I loved the characters in the book, from Jane Ellsworth, our leading lady who despite her plain looks and having an angel face of a sister to compete with, is talented, witty, and alluring enough to catch the eye of the ever so proper gentlemen, Mr. Dunkirk, and the mysterious Mr. Vincent -- to Mrs. Ellsworth and Lady KirkCameron. Each reminded me of some of my favorite Jane Austen characters, but were still as much Kowal's characters as Jane's.

    I would recommend this to any Jane Austen fan, the author does the style justice, but even if you aren't familiar with Austen's writings, this is a great read full of wit, magic, betrayal, and love - and I can't wait for the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2015

    Scorpion

    *barges in* EMILLY BACK TO OUR BOOK NOW OR I'LL LEAVE YOU!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2015

    Emilly

    Huh?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2015

    Larisa

    Hey

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2015

    Rose

    Gtg bbt

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2015

    Jaylen

    Is this the right place?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2015

    Marrisah

    Watchew

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2015

    It was only $1.99, but I should have saved my money.

    What a LAME imitation of Jane Austen. What a LAME read. Don't bother.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2015

    KOWAL.. KOWAL...

    SHADESOFZANEGREY

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2015

    Mix of genre themes seldom work as the passionate fan

    Of the separate genres always complain. The theme of beauty is covered in Robbs mysteries where complete body sculpture allows perfect looks and longivity to those with money the austin rip offs are glutting the romance now adding sub genre to the mix borrow not a keeper

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2015

    Enjoyable light fantasy

    Not ground-breaking by any means, but it's a pleasant diversion and a fast read. A good reminder that fantasy doesn't have to have swords or dragons.

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