Shades of Milk and Honey – A Book Review

SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY is a historical fantasy novel by Mary Robinette Kowal. Here’s a blurb from the publisher:

Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men. 

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right–and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.”

This was a fun read for me. The setting, pacing, and tone were reminiscent of Jane Austen’s works (I guess some people are calling this book a pastiche, and I would call that an apt description—I just had to look up the definition, lol!)

While it dragged in some parts (the dreaded second act/middle), it held my interest. The blurb is a bit misleading, as the pushing “her skills to their limit” part doesn’t come until nearly the very end (the blurb made me think there was going to be more action, but perhaps that was my fault for making assumptions.) My sister read this book as well and was disappointed with who she ends up with, calling the character fickle (well, those are my words of the description she gave.) I would have to disagree. The change of heart is well woven in and subtle, but not, in my opinion, out of the blue.

Would I recommend this book to epic and high fantasy readers? No. Would I recommend it to Jane Austen fans who also enjoy fantasy? YES!

And, lucky me, this is the first in a series. The second book arrives next week in the mail—horray!

Keep your nose in a book,

P.S. There are still pre-order incentives for HOLES IN THE VEIL. More information here.

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