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Shades of Milk and Honey

Shades of Milk and Honey is a historical fiction novel in the vein of Jane Austen, but with a magical twist, by Mary Robinette Kowal.

I absolutely adore Jane Austen, the Regency period, and magic/fantasy so I was super excited about this book. And I have to say: I was really pleased!!

Jane Ellsworth is toeing old maid territory, unmarried at eight and twenty. Her plain face and lack of social charms makes it unlikely for her status to change. Her fluttering heart when the gentlemanly neighbor Mr. Dunkirk calls is to be ignored and stuffed away – an impossibility that only the impractical heart could hope for.

Especially when her younger sister Melody is such a vision of loveliness! Eligible suitors vie for her attentions almost constantly.

At some things Jane is the better, though. Painting, music, and those ladylike pursuits. And most exceptional is her work with glamour. Glamour is essentially magic, and utilizing its skill to bring enhancements to art or coziness to a manor is sought after. But despite magic’s prevalence in society, Dorchester is similar to that of a Jane Austen novel.

And to be honest, I don’t want to say any more! It’s too delightful to read – and I don’t want to spoil one minute of it!!

The gentle, quiet Jane Austen era sensation pulled me in quickly, and the softly magical elements added a uniqueness that made it happily different.

I loved Jane. She’s instantly likable with her intelligence and relatable lack of beauty. The romantic element was right up my alley, subtle and charming. Plus, I was thrilled to not know for certain which gentleman the primary love interest was for quite some time! That’s most definitely rare in anything with a romance plot.

Shades of Milk and Honey was fun – and a reminder of why I love Jane Austen and that period in general! I adore the genteel manners, the conversations, and the slower pace of life. I’m enchanted by the speech, the delicately woven plot. I felt as though I was being drawn into a Masterpiece Theatre production with a magical twist!

Influences of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma sometimes undercut Shades of Milk and Honey, but I found myself loving it even so. Not to mention that was the wildly climatic close came to a heightened, surprising end; Shades of Milk and Honey really came into its own, with its own vibe, and originality.

I’m thrilled to pieces that there are TWO sequels to look forward to! Get thee to Glamour in Glass ASAP!!


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