Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

June 2, 2015 3 stars, Book Review 11 ★★★

Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette KowalShades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Glamourist Histories #1
Published by Macmillan Audio, Tor Books on June 7, 2011
Genres: Romance
Pages: 306
Length: 7 hours, 37 minutes
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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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 debut novel from an award-winning talent scratches a literary itch you never knew you had. Like wandering onto a secret picnic attended byPride and Prejudice and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Shades of Milk and Honey is precisely the sort of tale we would expect from Jane Austen…if only she had been a fantasy writer.

SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY proved to me that just because I enjoy recency romance movies doesn’t mean those are the books for me. However, it was enjoyable but I definitely would have preferred watching it over reading it. Some things just work better for each of us in different formats. I never have been much of a person for classics and such. I’m so much more into fantasy. And while this did have a fantasy element it wasn’t enough for my tastes.

I think readers who enjoyed Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice will really enjoy this book. It of course reminded me of those and had a few similarities as far as annoying sisters go. I wanted to absolutely throttle Jane’s sister Melody! And then I wanted to smack Jane for not putting her in her place to begin with. It was mostly about courtship and romance. I will say that tho that the book surprised me. I thought I knew just who and how things would end so I was delighted that I was wrong.

The fantasy element included consists of glamour magic. I didn’t think it lent a very fantasy feel to the book. Instead glamour was like any other talent that women of the time pursued.

Thoughts on the narration

I also decided to go with the audio version of this because I tend to put down regency type books or classics so I thought listening would be easier for me to get through and it definitely was. The book is narrated by the author herself and she does a marvelous job.

If you’re looking for a nice regency romance book with a touch of fantasy then this is well worth giving a read.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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11 Responses to “Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal”

  1. [email protected]

    This book – and its sequels – always reminded me of Georgette Heyer’s novels, that I read and enjoyed many years ago, when I was younger and more… romantically inclined 🙂
    But I guess that’s not the reason I enjoy this series: I believe its appeal comes from the pace and the background. They are probably my “go-to books” for the times when I’m unsure of what I would like to read next. They somehow ground me, help me find my balance again. If I’m making any sense…
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  2. Lynn

    I’ve wanted this series for ages but decided not to pick up because I just have too many series on the go. Actually I think you have a really good point – this would probably adapt to tv really well.
    Lynn 😀
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  3. Samantha @ Fabulous Fabris

    I was disappointed with this one. I actually didn’t like the guy she got with. I felt that the author was trying to make him into a Darcy character, but it didn’t work for me. I loved the first 90% of it until that awful show down at the end 🙁
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  4. Annie

    Interestingly, this book proved the exact same thing to me. I really liked the concept of it but never quite loved the book. I think it would make a very interesting movie or tv show, though. Tv min-series. I don’t know, I haven’t read the successive books in the series.
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  5. kimberly

    I haven’t listened to the audio, but I did love reading the book. I’m glad you liked it! I’m going to read the other ones in the series soon. The new one just came out a month or two ago I think! The covers are so pretty too. 🙂
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