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Shades of Milk and Honey

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
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5 Star

(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 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

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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 g...
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.

posted by 792982 on September 7, 2010

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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.

    5 out of 6 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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  • 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 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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  • Posted June 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Jane Austin might have been fanciful if...

    In a world of proper ladies and gentlemen magic is subtle and just part of everyday life. But its powers might be misdirected if controlled by people who don't have anybody's best interests at heart.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Intelligent and charming

    If Miss Austen wrote fantasy and left out the boring parts of her novels, it would be this book!

    Read it and all the sequels (the fourth is almost out and the fifth and final one comes out spring 2015).

    Delightful whether you like fantasy, romance, both, or neither.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    A fun read

    Austen in a playful and whimsical voice

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