Shades of Milk and Honey : The Glamourist Histories

  • by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Series: The Glamourist Histories
  • 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written, Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.
Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face.
When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Jane Austen with magic

Jane Austen with magic, but don't let that put you off - this is not Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, it is its own unique story.

In addition to painting and music, a young lady is expected to have mastered the art of glamour, to entertain guests and to decorate their home. In a plot owing a lot to Sense and Sensibility, yet having enough originality to keep it interesting, Kowal has woven a nineteenth century tale of love, talent, and manners. Jane is a plain spinster of 28, talented yet convinced that she is unlikely to ever find a husband, and resigned to this. Her sister Melody is everything she isn't: pretty, untalented, headstrong, and not very bright. Melody attracts trouble like bees to honey, and it is up to Jane to sort out the trouble while staying as proper as possible - and maybe finding her own happiness.

Mary Robinette Kowal does a good job of narrating, if you are concerned (as I usually am) about an author narrating their own work, put your concerns to rest: Kowal narrates professionally as well. I would give five stars for narration, except that she does not have a native English accent, and it sounded a bit forced at times - but it was consistent and easy on the ear, and she did a good job differentiating the characters.
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- Fionna

Enjoyable Light Read

While there are definitely elements of various other classic regencies here (Jane Austen and all that), the idea was to blend them together, along with the magic of glamour, to create a story that is entertaining because you want to see how it plays out. Not how it turns out mind you, that is a pretty foregone conclusion, but how it plays out. What are the various turns of the story to be? How will the characters react to the foreshadowed events? It was like watching a story one is familiar with redone in a truly engrossing way. I found that the story immersed me, and I wanted to see how the author was going to pull the various strands together.

I also found that the magic of glamour, which I think is central to the story, was perfectly suited for the era. For a society so wrapped up in appearances and concerned over image this was a perfectly suited form of magic to emphasize. It also allows a different take on some of the events we know are going to happen as the story plays along. The scene involving the "tableaux vivant" (won't give more details away in a review) for example smoothly integrates glamour into a historical parlor entertainment (dressing up and posing as a sort of living statue). That was a nice bit of setting detail, but the scene itself -- how the characters perform it and so forth -- says quite a lot about the characters involved as well. Overall, I thought "glamour" was a good selection for the author to make that was also quite well executed within the story.

The performance was also very good. I was interested in that it was the author performing the narration, and I think that added to the story (it doesn't always, but it did in this case). I am interested in seeing what other work the author has narrated.
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- Doug

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-03-2010
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio