Book Review · Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey: Glamourist Histories, Book 1

Shades of Milk and HoneyAuthor: Mary Robinette Kowal
Book Name: Shades of Milk and Honey
Series: Glamourist Histories
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Historical
Rating:  Okay

Blurb:  Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane 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.

Review:  Shades of Milk and Honey definitely has the flavor of a classical literature romance.  It is well written and the slight magical bent to the story is a pretty interesting concept.

That said, I think this just wasn’t my type of book because I found it rather bland outside of those magical touches.  It was incredibly slow for the majority of the book.  About the only part that got intense was the very end.

The characters were all difficult to like.  Melody and the mother were shallow and self absorbed people and reminded me of Cinderella’s step mother and step sister with some of the attitudes they expressed.  Jane was pretty dull outside of her magical talent.  Very few of the other more minor characters came across as anything other than snooty.

The romantic aspect is really kind of non-existent outside of Jane’s head until the very end.  Again, what there was was just not all that interesting.  I get to some extent that her personality and the approach to the romantic side of the story is a product of the time, but I’m not a fan of characters that come across as uninteresting and lacking self esteem.  When the character spends the majority of the book infatuated with one character and then, “Because he noticed me” from another was suddenly in love, just doesn’t sell me on the relationship.  Yes, it is a product of the time and the writing style, but that is one of many reasons why it just wasn’t a good fit for me.

Again, this is a good book, if you like this style and type, but I just really couldn’t get engaged.

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